Illinois Deptartment of Agriculture encourages growers to register with Driftwatch to avoid pesticides

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) said Tuesday it encourages specialty and organic growers and apiaries throughout the state to register their crops on an internet-based geographic system to avoid having them sprayed with pesticides.

By registering their crops online at Driftwatch, growers and beekeepers can make their information available to pesticide applicators, who can consult the program to avoid spraying sensitive crops and bees. Applicators also can register to receive email alerts when new fields are listed in their area.

The Driftwatch program was launched in 2010 as a coordinated effort between the Environmental Protection Agency and several other Midwestern states in an effort to promote better communications between pesticide users and sensitive crop growers and apiaries. The program is free to its users.

IDOA Director Philip Nelson encouraged applicators to be good neighbors and utilize the program to protect specialty crops, which cover more than 106,000 acres of Illinois farmland.

“At the same time, growers must enter the location of their fields accurately in order for the system to work successfully,” Nelson said.

According to the most recent U.S. Census of Agriculture, sales of all specialty crops in Illinois, including nursery and greenhouse crops, totaled approximately $470 million. These sales are in jeopardy unless growers register with Driftwatch and applicators consult the site, www.driftwatch.org.

Organizations in this story

Illinois Department of Agriculture 801 E Sangamon Ave Springfield, IL 62702

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20460

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