The Governors executive order directs the Commissioner of the MDA to take immediate action to implement the recommendations in the Department’s special registration review. The review includes a recommendation that pesticide applicators will need to provide “formal verification of need prior to use of neonicotinoid pesticides, where appropriate”.
Requiring verification of need by a qualified individual prior to use is a significant step to ensuring that neonicotinoid pesticides are used appropriately.
Neonicotinoids are important products which are needed to control pests and prevent the development of insect resistance. They also may be safer and more beneficial to use than some of the products that would be used in their place.
However they can have a negative impact on pollinators. Our goal is to work with the ag community to make sure neonicotinoids are used in a manner that minimizes the risk to pollinators while ensuring the products are available when needed.
We will do this by developing more detailed need based guidance on when to use these products in the climate and field conditions we see in Minnesota. We will then work to widely educate and promote those recommendations. Finally we would ensure a qualified and informed person is involved in deciding when to use them. These might include many different groups who provide commercial or consulting pest management services and farmers with suitable experience or training.
This is all good stewardship. We know that these practices are currently widely adopted by the Minnesota agricultural community and we want to recognize that stewardship. We want to build on that stewardship ethic by providing additional need based guidance specific to the conditions in Minnesota.
There is a need to fill existing information gaps by developing more detailed Minnesota specific criteria for products that have some related use requirements on the label, by addressing products and uses that don’t currently have related use requirements on the label, and ensuring product users are well informed on the most current science based recommendations. We also need to encourage Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and plans which are appropriate when neonicotinoids may be used. This recommendation is a major action step and directs a long-term commitment to ensuring these actions will happen.
With better information on when these products should be used and a more formal and deliberate process for deciding when to use them, the end result will be fewer unnecessary pesticide applications and increased attention on following practices that protect pollinators.
No, the verification of need prior to use will be made by an individual who is qualified to make this decision. The MDA will not be directly involved or approve these decisions.
What these qualifications will be and the process that will be followed to verify the need for an application have not been determined yet. This is a recommendation from the MDA but the details will take time to develop and may vary for different products and uses.
No, the MDA does not have the authority to regulate treated seeds and we do not have specific state guidance on when they should be used. We want to ensure that any state endorsed recommendations or guidance for use of seed treatments are supported by appropriate research. This will not happen quickly. The first step is to have the authority and funding to develop a treated seed program.