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Farmers' Pushback Grows to Squash New York Pesticide Ban Bill
New York Ag Connection - 05/30/2023

Dozens of agricultural organizations and state business leaders are pushing back against a legislative effort to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in New York.

The chemical pest control, more commonly referred to "neonics," is often used to coat treated corn, wheat and soy seeds and is used in insecticides and to maintain decorative vegetation. The measure, dubbed the Birds and Bees Protection Act, would ban the use of seeds treated with the pesticide starting Jan. 1, 2026.

Farmers and pollinators from across the state, including the New York Farm Bureau, sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul, legislative leaders and bill sponsors this week to discourage lawmakers from passing the bill after it advanced through the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.

"New York's dairy farmers, corn and soybean growers, vegetable producers, golf course superintendents, professional landscapers and certified crop advisors would be put at a severe disadvantage if this legislation were to pass," according to the letter.

A version of the measure passed in the Assembly in late April. An amended version in the Senate could make its way through the Senate in the last two weeks of session.

Lawmakers in support of the bill argue neonics must be made illegal because they have contributed to a decline in the state's bee colonies and have ties to neurological issues and dangers for children and pregnant women.

If the bill becomes law, the state Department of Environmental Conservation would have the authority to regulate seeds treated with neonicotinoids. They're among some of the most popular pesticides in the world.

But agricultural leaders say seeds treated with neonics allow farmers to plant more crops, which helps to reduce its carbon footprint.


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