BeSure! to Be Mindful This Growing Season

BeSure! When Planting and Beyond

Young Corn PlantsEach growing season, it’s important for farmers and applicators to use best management practices when using neonicotinoid crop protection products on farms and urban landscapes. Now in its second year, the industry-wide stewardship campaign BeSure! is reminding them to do just that by providing helpful tips and resources to avoid potential risks to pollinators and other wildlife.

Launched in March and running through July, the second annual BeSure! campaign is expanding beyond treated seed uses for major commodity crops in the Midwest to also include neonicotinoid foliar sprays, soil drenches and granule uses on fruits, nuts, vegetables, turf, trees and ornamental plants. The 2020 campaign also is extending outreach to include the citrus industry in California and Florida. Multiple industry groups, including the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), the National Safety Pesticide Education Center (NPSEC), the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and CropLife America, are supporting and endorsing this year’s campaign.

The BeSure! campaign encourages growers and applicators to visit the Growing Matters website, which houses free resources to raise awareness and encourage the use of product stewardship practices, because all products can be safely applied without harming pollinators or other wildlife when used according to the label, regardless of the method of application.

“As a soybean and corn grower, I use and fully understand the value that neonic seed treatments provide to the farmer. They are a pinpoint tool that, when properly used, can provide safe and effective control of crop pests,” said Wayne Fredericks, a northern Iowa farmer who supports BeSure!. “The campaign provides a great roadmap for farmers to follow when using these products and will lead to better protection of our bees and wildlife through practical stewardship practices outlined both in this campaign and on product labels.”

5 Top Tips for Growers and Applicators

For Growers:

  • Follow directions on the label for appropriate storage, use and disposal practices.
  • When planting treated seed, use advanced seed flow lubricants that minimize dust.
  • When planting treated seed, eliminate flowering plants and weeds in and around the field prior to planting. For foliar applications, ensure that sprays are directed away from any flowering plants, follow established buffer zones and calibrate equipment to minimize spray drift.
  • Before making an application, be aware of any honey bees and hives near the field and communicate with neighboring beekeepers.
  • Remove and properly dispose of all treated seed. Keep all treated seed out of commodity grain channels.

For Applicators:

  • Comply with all regulations when using registered pesticide products and ensure proper employee training prior to application
  • Apply best management practices when using treated seed, soil drenches or foliar sprays to minimize dust or spray drift. Establish written protocols using best practices to ensure high-quality seed treatment, foliar or field application.
  • Adopt stewardship documentation for the full life cycle of seed treatment products.
  • Properly discard any unused product, rinse water or seed treatment by following the label disposal instructions to minimize any potential environmental impact.
  • Ensure that all required and pertinent neonicotinoid treatment information, consistent with the product label, is conveyed to customers.

BeSure! to Spread the Word

BeSure! utilizes traditional and social media to promote best practices, but nothing resonates more than being reminded by a friend or colleague. You can help by sharing the above tips or ASTA’s Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship with farmers and applicators in your network. Additional resources on responsible use are available for applicators in guides such as Insect Pollinators and Pesticide Product Stewardship.

An Industry-Wide Effort

Bayer, along with the other members of Growing Matters, has partnered with the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC) to strengthen awareness of stewardship practices among growers and applicators. The combined team developed BeSure! to provide essential reminders for product stewardship.

Bayer has educated growers and actively worked to improve bee health for more than 30 years. Bayer, Syngenta, Valent USA, BASF and Mitsui Chemicals Agro founded Growing Matters as a joint commitment to excellent stewardship. ASTA represents more than 700 companies involved in seed production, plant breeding and related industries in North America. NPSEC serves and supports extension pesticide safety education programs in all states and U.S. territories. BeSure! to find out more about these efforts and how you can help at GrowingMatters.org/BeSure.