(Posted Fri. Aug 31st, 2012)
Aug 31: This week, Iowa farmer and NCGA Production & Stewardship Action Team member Jay Lynch participated in a briefing for EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs regarding the benefits of seed treatments. Neonicotinoids, a seed treatment used on the vast majority of corn in the U.S., have come under increased activist pressure in recent months due to concerns that the products are contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder in honey bees.
“Seed treatments are critically important to growers because they protect the seed from disease and pests after planting and through the germination period,” Lynch said during his briefing. “Unpredictable weather patterns mean that the seed could remain in the ground for an extended period of time. Without these neonicotinoid products, yields would be reduced and entire fields may need to be replanted. Farmers work diligently to minimize dust from planters and often establish relationships with nearby beekeepers to minimize exposure to pollinators.”
The American Seed Trade Association and CropLife America are developing a Seed Treatment Stewardship Guide to help growers adopt practices that lessen dust and other potential exposure to bees. Recent studies have shown that mites and disease are likely the largest cause of bee deaths, not seed treatments or other pesticides applications.
EPA is currently accepting public comments through September regarding an environmentalist petition to cancel or restrict certain treatments in the US. NCGA plans to submit additional information to the agency.