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USA - New York finds middle ground on neonicotinoid seed treatment restrictionsqrcode

Dec. 28, 2023

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Dec. 28, 2023

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed a law restricting neonicotinoid use while addressing farmer concerns.

The Birds and Bees Protection Act bans certain neonicotinoid seed treatments for corn, wheat and soybeans, and blocks neonic pesticide use on outdoor ornamental plants and turf.

But New York will allow time for research on alternatives, and the use of neonics will be based on scientific evaluations, with waivers to help farms transition to the new rules, Hochul’s office said Dec. 22.

Hochul signed the law with chapter amendments, meaning she made a deal with the Legislature to amend the law in the next legislative session.

The arrangement appeases lawmakers by avoiding a veto while getting policies the governor wants.

New York Farm Bureau, which opposed an outright ban on neonicotinoid insecticides, said Hochul listened to all sides and came up with a balanced approach.

Farm Bureau President David Fisher said he was glad that the plan will keep the Department of Environmental Conservation, rather than lawmakers, in charge of neonic regulation.

In January, the agency reclassified key neonic products as restricted-use pesticides, meaning they can only be used by licensed applicators.

Hochul’s signing also drew praise from environmental groups and bill sponsor Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, a Manhattan Democrat.

Neonicotinoids are among the most commonly used insecticides, with the seed treatments more or less standard for conventional corn.

The chemicals — including clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam — are systemic, meaning they move throughout the plant.

Environmental groups have criticized neonics as dangerous to pollinators, humans and the environment.

Some ag researchers have argued that the ubiquitous use of neonic seed treatments violates integrated pest management principles because the affected pests appear only sporadically.

Farm Bureau says neonics were designed to reduce pesticide use and be safer than earlier insecticide chemistries.

″We continuously look for ways to improve our best management practices based on sound science, and the revised legislation signed today will allow us to do just that,″ Fisher said.


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