The Agribusiness Association of Iowa (AAI) Foundation presented $25,000 in financial support to assist Iowa in the implementation of FieldWatch, a voluntary online sensitive (specialty) crop and apiary registry program.
AAI Foundation chairman Tracy Gathman presented a check to Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey during a mid-day event in the Wallace Building in Des Moines on April 6. The funds will cover an initial one-time license fee of $24,500 and the remaining $500 will be used to purchase signage. Ongoing annual maintenance fees to participate in the program will be covered by Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
FieldWatch includes two registries, DriftWatch and BeeCheck. The two registries help identify areas with sensitive crops and active apiaries, respectively. This improves communication and cooperation among the various agricultural producers to help mitigate potential issues. President and CEO of FieldWatch Reid Sprenkel greatly appreciates the AAI Foundation. “You certainly have stepped up to bring the funding necessary to enable Iowa to adopt this tool and join FieldWatch as a member and that’s a great deal and legwork on your part for over a year or two years now and can’t thank you enough for bringing that to fruition,” said Reid.
Iowa has had a sensitive site register for almost a decade that has been ran by IDALS, but Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says this is a step up and will be a benefit to Iowa. “This will make it easier for folks to register their sites. It will make it easier for those making application of crop protections products to be able to figure out where those sites are. It is going to be very important to maintaining the opportunity to use products, where we need to use products, and be able to protect other sensitive crops and certainly our pollinators as well,” said Northey.
The site will be operational later this summer it will replace the Sensitive Crop Directory currently operated by the Department.
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The AAI Foundation promotes research projects, member education, stewardship and scholarships that benefit AAI members and their families. The charitable goals of the Foundation reflect the interests of the agribusiness industry and benefit AAI members by promoting research projects, member education, stewardship and higher education scholarships. More information can be found by visiting http://foundation.agribiz.org.
FieldWatch, Inc., is a non-profit company that operates driftwatch™ and beecheck™ – voluntary online sensitive (specialty) crop and apiary registry programs. Originally created by Purdue University’s Agriculture and Biological Engineering Department in 2008, Purdue collaborated with other agricultural stakeholders to create FieldWatch, Inc., in December of 2012. The programs have been adopted by 13 state departments of agriculture and a Canadian province. The driftwatch™ program is used by producers of sensitive crops and also for any apiary sites they may have. The beecheck™ program is used by apiarists (beekeepers only), but entries from both programs are available as combined databases to pesticide applicators and other end users. More information can be found by visiting http://www.fieldwatch.com/home.html