Today’s Topic: NC marks 1st anniversary of using FieldWatch programs to protect bees and crops

By on April 11, 2017

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

A year ago this month, North Carolina became the 14th state to partner with FieldWatch, an online mapping service designed to help prevent crop damage and bee deaths from accidental or unintended pesticide drift.

The BeeCheck and DriftWatch programs allow beekeepers, specialty crop growers and pesticide users to use a website to plot or view hive locations and areas where pesticide-sensitive crops are planted.

Producers of high-value specialty crops, such as tomatoes, tobacco, fruit trees, grapes and vegetables, can map their sites and provide contact information about their operation on DriftWatch. Beekeepers can use BeeCheck to map their hives online and can choose what hive information to display on the map.

More than 1,300 N.C. apiaries have registered in BeeCheck, more than any other state except Illinois. And the number of registered specialty crop acres has grown since the first of the year.

Commissioner Troxler says he expects to see this number continue to increase as more people learn about the program. NCDA&CS staff members, with the help of N.C. State and N.C. Farm Bureau, have been attending conferences, meetings and other events to spread the word. In addition to the apiaries, in the first year nearly 1,000 producers and 66 pesticide users have registered.

The goal for year two is to increase the number of registered pesticide applicators and registered specialty-crop acres.

To access DriftWatch and BeeCheck, visit www.ncagr.gov/pollinators. The website offers detailed instructions on how to sign up and use the mapping tools.

Click on the link below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss FieldWatch.

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