The second annual “BeSure!” campaign supported by National Corn Growers Association is underway and runs through July. The effort focuses on helping pollinators by promoting best management practices and habitat creation all year long.
BeSure centers on promoting proper use of neonicotinoid products to protect honeybees and other pollinators critical to the food supply and ecosystem. This year, the campaign is seeking to reach not only growers and applicators, but also golf course, turf, and ornamental landscape managers.
In its first year, BeSure! focused its messaging on major crops in the Midwest that utilize neonicotinoid-treated seed, such as corn and soybeans. This year, the campaign is expanding to include neonicotinoid foliar sprays, soil drenches, and granule uses on fruits, nuts, vegetables, turf, trees, and ornamental plants that bees visit.
(It’s also extending outreach to include the citrus industry in California and Florida where neonicotinoids have been very effective in stopping invasive pests, such the Asian citrus psyllid that spreads the Huanglongbing (HLB) disease that is decimating Florida’s citrus industry and has cost the state more than 8,000 jobs and $4.5 billion in the last five years.)
“Neonicotinoids are widely used in agriculture and in a variety of landscape and nursery settings,” said Tom Smith, executive director of the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC). “Regardless of the specific use and method of application, product label directions should always be followed, and responsible stewardship practices used to protect pollinators, such as avoiding conditions where product drift may occur and avoiding making applications when pollinators [such as bees] are actively foraging.”
GrowingMatters.org/BeSure, an interactive website with up-to-date stewardship tips and information, explains how other neonic applications can be used responsibly, including the comprehensive Insect Pollinators and Pesticide Product Stewardship Guide.
Numerous industry organizations have partnered with Growing Matters, a coalition of companies that are spearheading the BeSure! initiative. The campaign has been endorsed by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), the National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association, the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC), CropLife America and the Agricultural Retailers Association, among others.
NCGA is taking a series of actions to do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic fallout it is creating for corn farmers and our customers. Short term, this means instituting policies to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders and the broader communities we serve. Long term, we’re focused on creating solutions to help corn farmers and our customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.
CommonGround is a group of farmers connecting with consumers through conversations about science and research and personal stories about food and misinformation surrounding farming. Supported by the NCGA and state corn organizations.
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.