The National Corn Growers Association, together with the American Seed Trade Association, CropLife America, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association and Agricultural Retailers Association, released the “Seed Treatment Stewardship Guide.” This publication provides farmers and seed companies with critical information and up-to-date guidelines for managing treated seeds effectively to minimize the risk of exposure to pollinators and other non-target organisms.

“As public interest in pollinator health continues to increase, the guide will be an invaluable resource for our members,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “We encourage all corn growers to refer to it before, during and after the corn planting season.”

To access the guide online, click here.  

“Today’s seed treatments allow America’s farmers to grow an abundant, healthy crop while reducing potential risks to the environment,” said NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team Chair Dean Taylor. “NCGA views pollinator protection as a high priority, and we will continue to work closely with USDA and EPA to ensure minimal environmental impact while protecting corn yields.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency published a report earlier this year indicating that there are multiple causes of colony collapse disorder and declining bee populations including parasites, disease, poor nutrition and lack of genetic diversity. The report noted that neonicotinoid seed treatments have been linked to some instances of bee deaths but that “the decline in honey bee health is a complex problem caused by a combination of stressors.” 

The Seed Treatment Stewardship Guide contains recommendations for such processes as: planting of treated seeds; safe use of seed treatment products; safe handling and transport of seeds; selection of treatment products; treated seed labeling; and the storage of treated seeds. It also includes a seed treatment glossary and an exhaustive list of resources.

Notably, the guide is intended solely as an educational tool and as general guidance to assist product users in voluntarily developing and implementing stewardship practices related to the use of seed treatments and treated seed. It is meant to serve as a reference document only.