Secretary Naig Reminds Producers, Pesticide Applicators Communication is Key to Reducing Off-Target Applications

DES MOINES, Iowa (April 13, 2020) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig encourages members of the agriculture community to work together to keep field workers, apiaries and specialty crops safe during the 2020 growing season. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship partners with the non-profit company FieldWatch® to provide free communications tools that facilitate conversations and collaboration between producers, beekeepers, seed companies and pesticide applicators. The centralized communications platform is intended to protect beehives, sensitive crops and now seed field workers from accidental pesticide exposures.

New in 2020, FieldWatch is piloting a program in Iowa that allows seed companies to register the locations of their field crews daily. Users mark registered fields as “planned” or “occupied” to alert pesticide applicators when there may be crews in the area.

“Iowa has always been a leader in agricultural innovation, and the FieldWatch SeedFieldCheck registry is just another example of that legacy,” said Secretary Naig. “I commend the Iowa Seed Association and Iowa Agricultural Aviators Association for recognizing a need and working with FieldWatch to develop a solution to protect field crews. Working together, we can all have a safe growing season.”

FieldWatch offers three additional registries to facilitate collaboration and cooperation between various ag groups. Apiarists can use BeeCheck® to protect their hives, organic and specialty crop producers can map their fields with DriftWatch®, and pesticide applicators can monitor workers, apiaries and sensitive crops in their areas with FieldCheck®. This level of transparency benefits all stakeholders and empowers producers and applicators to do business in a responsible, sustainable way.

Applicators, growers and beekeepers can sign up for free at fieldwatch.com. Applicators will need to register with FieldWatch to see SeedFieldCheck site locations in 2020. Once users create an account, they can update their contact and site information anytime. Smartphone apps make it easy for users to update their locations from the fields.

Agriculture communities in 22 states use FieldWatch. Iowa has more registered pesticide applicators than any other state. 

  • Almost 2,400 apiaries and 15,000 beehives are registered in Iowa with BeeCheck.

  • Almost 2,900 producers, 1,300 fields and more than 74,000 acres of specialty crops are registered in Iowa with DriftWatch.

  • More than 1,300 pesticide applicators in Iowa are using FieldCheck, up from 1,075 applicators in 2019.

Questions about the FieldWatch registries can be directed to Paul Ovrom, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship State Horticulturist, at paul.ovrom@iowaagriculture.gov or 515-242-6239. More information can also be found by visiting the Department’s Iowa Sensitive Crops Registry website.

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About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 12 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land for the next generation. Learn more at iowaagriculture.gov.

Contact:
Keely Coppess
Communications Director
(515) 326-1616           
Keely.Coppess@IowaAgriculture.gov