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New York Ag News Headlines
Farm bureau opposes neonicotinoid ban
New York Ag Connection - 11/30/2023

New York Farm Bureau is making a final push for Gov. Kathy Hochul to veto a bill that would ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticide-treated corn, wheat, and soybean seeds. The organization is concerned about the impact of the ban on farmers and the availability of seeds.

Neonicotinoid pesticides are one of the most common pesticides used on farms and have been found to harm honeybees. However, Jeff Williams, director of public policy at the New York Farm Bureau, argues that using seeds treated with pesticide is better than spraying it on a field, which would be the alternative if the bill is passed.

According to Williams, the active ingredient of the pesticide is only an ounce per acre when using seed treatments. If farmers were spraying pesticides on the field, it would be gallons per acre.

Karin Reeves, a co-owner of Reeves Farm in Baldwinsville, said that if the bill passes, it could impact the purchasing availability of sweet corn seeds. She explained that most commercially available sweet corn is treated with seed treatments, and it could get difficult for farmers to get untreated seeds.

Williams also said that the seeds could become more expensive as well because they are modified for certain climates and soil types. He stated that limiting the availability of seeds in New York state would be detrimental to farmers as seed producers would not create unique seeds just for the state.

The New York Farm Bureau is urging Gov. Hochul to veto the bill and allow the science-based pesticide review process through the DEC to continue. The organization believes that restricting pesticide use one by one each year is not an effective approach.

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