The American Seed Trade Association President & CEO Andrew W. LaVigne released a statement in response to the Center for Food Safety’s recent negative report on the value of neonicotinoid insecticides as seed treatments.

The Center for Food Safety claims a “scientific literature review” revealed that neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments “offer little benefit, do not increase crop yields and cause widespread environmental and economic damage.” Therefore, the center contends the benefits of the seed treatments do not outweigh the costs, which the center does not mainly measure in dollars but impact on the environment.

LaVigne countered with his statement. “The use of seed treatment technologies by farmers, including neonicotinoid insecticide treatments, is an effective tool to provide the necessary protection of seeds for a strong, healthy start. Using seed treatments delivers a very precise application that shields seeds from the insects and diseases that exist in the soil during those early developmental stages. This protection ensures that the plant has a greater opportunity to grow a strong root system which is the foundation of a healthy, productive plant.

“In addition, seed treatments reduce the environmental impact of the production process by decreasing the number of spray applications of agrichemical products and lessen exposures to non-target species, including humans and the environment. 

“There are several factors that farmers consider as they strive for a healthy sustainable field, many of which are out of a farmer’s control. However, using certain agrichemical products, such as neonicotinoids as a seed treatment, can guard against insect or disease damage during a plant’s most vulnerable developmental stages and help maximize the performance potential of each seed.” 

The Center for Food Safety ignores mainstream land grant university research as well as private company research in announcing its analysis shows “crop yield benefit is largely illusory.”

The center has made it a goal to expand the European Commission ban on neonicotinoid insecticide use to the U.S. and the rest of the world, although the European Commission has no definitive proof of the active ingredients being harmful to the environment, nor being the cause of declining bee populations. The ban is for two years while studies are completed instead of having the studies completed before a determination of potential harm. The original registration studies of safety are being ignored.