2015 State Of The Industry: 2015 Brings More Debate On Pollinator Health, Pesticides And The Plants We Sell

Joe Bischoff
Joe Bischoff

Last year was busy on the regulatory front for the horticulture industry. There were many comments, meetings and negotiations on topics such as the EPA’s Worker Protection Standards (WPS) and its proposed new definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), USDA-APHIS’s modifications to the Greenhouse Certification Program (GCP), Round 2 of its Not Authorized Pending Pest Risk Analysis (NAPPRA) rules and its overhaul of the Plants for Planting Importation Regulations (Q-37) — all of which we expect to see final rules announced for sometime in 2015.

However, no regulatory-related issue has required more attention in 2014 than the pollinator health topic. That’s because while our legal access to pesticide tools rests with the regulatory agencies, this topic, especially as it relates to neonicotinoid insecticides, has expanded into the arena of public perception and the potential for regulation through retail.

Possible EPA-Proposed Label Changes On The Horizon

In the early months of 2015, expect several announcements from the EPA and the White House Pollinator Initiative, which is made up of more than 10 federal agencies and co-chaired by the EPA and USDA. We anticipate the EPA will propose significant label changes to foliar application insecticides (neonicotinoids and others) that would limit when and where many outdoor crops can be treated. These label changes will reflect the EPA’s interest in reducing the risk of acute toxicity to adult bees. The proposal will have a comment period, and we will encourage all to respond and share insights.

Our industry is not at risk of losing its access to the treatments but there will likely be some complications on the “when” and “where” front. We are working closely with EPA and the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO) to confirm that they recognize the very real pest and regulatory challenges we face and are working to find areas of common ground. We will keep you posted on this issue.

Conservation Reserve Program Lands Part Of The Pollinator Habitat Solution

The Administration has so far hinted at an interest in engaging with public gardens and public schools on developing pollinator gardens and education about the importance of native and managed pollinators. The USDA has kept most of its attention on research, but we do expect some follow-up from the USDA Forage Summit that was held in October. During those meetings, the case was clearly made for including suitable honeybee forage plants in seed mixes for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which is administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The seed mixes would be inexpensive, provide huge expanses of clean forage lands to pollinators and the approach has been described as a game-changer by some beekeepers. However, NRCS has been hesitant to execute on the idea because some of the plants are non-native. The CRP lands are undoubtedly part of the solution here and considerable attention will be placed on this particular topic come 2015.

Pollinator-Related Research Focused On Potential Exposure Of Bees To Neonicotinoids

A little closer to home, AmericanHort’s research affiliate, the Horticultural Research Institute, intends to announce its funding plan for pollinator-related research during the MANTS show, which will be held in Baltimore, the second full week of January. We expect this research to be focused on answering questions regarding the potential for exposure of bees to neonicotinoids on garden and landscape plants, alternative practices development (where systemic pesticide use is required), bee attractiveness to the flowering plants regularly sold in our industry and surveys to better understand the health concerns of native pollinators in urban and suburban landscapes.

Staying with the research theme, we will be keeping a close eye on announcements from USDA-APHIS on its funding decisions for the Farm Bill section 10007. AmericanHort teamed up with the American Beekeeping Federation, the American Honey Producers Association, the American Seed Trade Association and Pollinator Partnership to be part of a project that would identify the best bee forage plant material that is readily available in the plant and seed industries. If funded, it would be the first time these groups got together to find forage and habitat solutions, in a very tangible way. We’re hoping for news sometime in late February.

Horticulture Will Better Define Its Role In Pollinator Health

Finally, the taskforce guiding the Horticulture Industry Pollinator Stewardship Initiative will be announcing its recommended practices and partnership suggestions early in the New Year. The taskforce has made considerable progress in recent months and some final details are expected to be worked out during a mid-December face-to-face meeting taking place at the AmericanHort offices in Washington D.C.

The horticulture industry won’t be without hurdles on this issue in 2015. However, through the taskforce and related efforts, we’ve built bridges with organizations that we had rarely engaged with before. We’re confident that through these collaborations, supporting of additional research and by applying what we’ve learned, our industry will be better positioned to directly respond to some of the doubts being fostered by activist organizations and better define our industry’s role in being part of the pollinator health solution.

More 2015 State Of The Industry articles:
Major Changes In Washington Reveal Need For Reform
American Floral Endowment: Laser-Focused On The Floriculture Industry’s Needs
Current Green Industry Trends
Growers And Suppliers Are Optimistic For A Strong Year In 2015
2015 State Of The Industry: Numbers At A Glance

 

 

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Management...
Mucci-Farms

April 24, 2018

Mucci Farms Completes First Phase of its New Ohio Tomato Greenhouse

The new facility, the company’s first expansion outside of Canada, encompasses 24 acres, with harvest set to begin in May.

Read More
Seed-Your-Future-Initiative-Release-3.3.16-1

April 24, 2018

Bloom Campaign by Seed Your Future Will Address “Plant Blindness” Among U.S. Youth

BLOOM! connects young people to the power of plants to build a pipeline of future talent for the industry behind them: horticulture.

Read More
Griffin-Massachusetts-Cannabis-Workshop

April 23, 2018

Griffin Hosting Cannabis Growers Workshop in May

The half-day program in Colorado will focus on several aspects of crop fertility and nutrition delivery strategies.

Read More
Latest Stories
Mucci-Farms

April 24, 2018

Mucci Farms Completes First Phase of its New Ohio Tomat…

The new facility, the company’s first expansion outside of Canada, encompasses 24 acres, with harvest set to begin in May.

Read More
Seed-Your-Future-Initiative-Release-3.3.16-1

April 24, 2018

Bloom Campaign by Seed Your Future Will Address “Plant …

BLOOM! connects young people to the power of plants to build a pipeline of future talent for the industry behind them: horticulture.

Read More
Griffin-Massachusetts-Cannabis-Workshop

April 23, 2018

Griffin Hosting Cannabis Growers Workshop in May

The half-day program in Colorado will focus on several aspects of crop fertility and nutrition delivery strategies.

Read More
AFE-Flower-Marketing-Videos

April 20, 2018

Your Weekly Chance to Market the Positive Vibes That Fl…

Each week between now and the end of the year, American Floral Endowment will post a new video promoting flowers.

Read More
Dual Income No Kids (DINK) Young Couple

April 10, 2018

Make Plans to Attend the NICH Annual Conference in Atla…

Everyone in every aspect of consumer horticulture is invited to attend and help create a unified, strategic plan around industry-wide priorities.

Read More
2016 Massachusetts Horticultural Society Field Trials

March 31, 2018

Save the Date for the 2018 Northeast Greenhouse Confere…

This year’s conference takes place Nov. 7-8, 2018, and offers growers a great opportunity to learn, share, and connect with other industry professionals.

Read More
NatureFresh-Farms-Leamington-Expansion

March 27, 2018

NatureFresh Further Expands Greenhouse Tomato Productio…

Construction of a new, 32-acre greenhouse facility will commence in the summer of 2018, with production scheduled to begin in 2019.

Read More
Dickman-Farms-Carve-and-Brew-Event

March 26, 2018

How Dickman Farms Used a New Event to Expand Its Custom…

Last fall, Dickman Farms hosted “Carve & Brew,” a new event in which young adults were able to carve a pumpkin, taste craft brews from two local microbreweries, and relax with friends and neighbors.

Read More
Bell Nursery Panorama Photo

March 23, 2018

Bell Nursery’s Gary Mangum Provides Insight on De…

In light of the March 14 announcement that Bell Nursery Holdings LLC had been acquired by Central Garden & Pet, Greenhouse Grower caught up with Bell Nursery CEO Gary Mangum to get the backstory on the deal. Here is our full interview with Mangum.

Read More
Mason-Day-GrowIt-Feature

March 22, 2018

Why Your Efforts to Sell Plants Fall Short and What You…

It’s time to look at outside industries for ideas and inspiration on what we can do to operate more efficiently in today’s economy.

Read More
Seed-Your-Future-Dinner

March 20, 2018

Seed Your Future Dinner Celebrates Focus on New, Young …

During a Seed Your Future Leadership Meeting Fundraiser dinner at Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania's Ag Secretary thanked the Seed Your Future initiative for its efforts to create awareness of horticulture and careers in horticulture.

Read More
Banker-Plants-at-Thiels

March 19, 2018

Bug Your Customer About Biocontrols

Getting customers educated about your biocontrol use and using it to build your brand is all about telling your story in way that attracts attention.

Read More
John Sorenson

March 15, 2018

Vestaron CEO John Sorenson Dies at Age 68

Sorenson, a long-time crop protection specialist in the horticulture industry, was a key figure in Vestaron’s launch of new and innovative biological products.

Read More
Roger-Kehoe-Eason

March 12, 2018

Eason Horticultural Resources Adds to its National Sale…

Roger Kehoe joins the company as a Sales and Production Management Expert. He was most recently the Director of Young Plant Production at the Color Division of Costa Farms.

Read More

March 11, 2018

National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture Releases …

A new series of four #PlantsDoThat Inside infographics focuses on the multitude of ways indoor plants affect where we live, where we work, where we heal, and where we learn. The first two infographics are now available.

Read More
Penn State University campus

March 9, 2018

Check Out the Top 40 Ag Colleges in the World

The most recent World University Ranking by Subject report includes a breakdown of the top agricultural colleges. Find out if your alma mater made the list!

Read More
GCA-Summer-Tour-McAuliffes

March 9, 2018

GCA Announces Complete Seattle Garden Center Summer Tou…

The Garden Centers of America Summer Tour in Seattle will feature visits to some of the most unique plant retailers in the Pacific Northwest.

Read More

March 8, 2018

Southern Nursery Association to Award $18,000 in Schola…

The deadline for application is May 27, and 12 scholarships are expected to be awarded.

Read More