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...

February 16, 2018

New England GROWS Discontinues After 25 Years

After 25 years, New England GROWS — both the annual event and the organization behind the event — are discontinuing operations.

Read More
Weigela Czechmark (Spring Meadow Nursery)

February 14, 2018

Spring Meadow Nursery Furthers Its Mission of Giving Back to the Industry

The Spring Meadow-Proven Winners Endowment Fund through the Horticultural Research Institute has now topped $800,000, with more scholarships coming in 2018.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

February 13, 2018

Don’t Let Your New Year’s Resolutions Fade Away in 2018

Stuff got real in 2017, and it caused many of us to stop and reflect on the current state of the world, and how we can impact change — or at least improve our own situations. Life is too short, and we work too hard, to not use the annual renewal as an opportunity to take stock of our own personal lives, businesses, and careers, and make the necessary adjustments that will allow us to work smarter and live better. Even if you have already given up on your resolutions, perhaps you can think of January as a trial month and make February the month when you really get to work on your goals. And while I know it’s a difficult month to start on some of these changes, since you’re already immersed in the busy spring season, I promise that if you take some time to evaluate your reality […]

Read More
Latest Stories

February 16, 2018

New England GROWS Discontinues After 25 Years

After 25 years, New England GROWS — both the annual event and the organization behind the event — are discontinuing operations.

Read More
Weigela Czechmark (Spring Meadow Nursery)

February 14, 2018

Spring Meadow Nursery Furthers Its Mission of Giving Ba…

The Spring Meadow-Proven Winners Endowment Fund through the Horticultural Research Institute has now topped $800,000, with more scholarships coming in 2018.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

February 13, 2018

Don’t Let Your New Year’s Resolutions Fade …

Stuff got real in 2017, and it caused many of us to stop and reflect on the current state of the world, and how we can impact change — or at least improve our own situations. Life is too short, and we work too hard, to not use the annual renewal as an opportunity to take stock of our own personal lives, businesses, and careers, and make the necessary adjustments that will allow us to work smarter and live better. Even if you have already given up on your resolutions, perhaps you can think of January as a trial month and make February the month when you really get to work on your goals. And while I know it’s a difficult month to start on some of these changes, since you’re already immersed in the busy spring season, I promise that if you take some time to evaluate your reality […]

Read More

February 12, 2018

Calling All Designers: Enter the International Plantsca…

Applications are being accepted through April 13 for AmericanHort’s International Plantscape Awards, which recognize achievements in interior plantscape design, installation, creativity, renovation, and innovation.

Read More
Dr. P. Allen Hammer, Dummen Orange

February 10, 2018

Applications for Dümmen Orange’s Dr. P. Allen Hammer Sc…

Named for Dr. P. Allen Hammer in acknowledgment of the contributions he has made to the floriculture industry, the scholarship is intended to extend Dr. Hammer’s legacy by supporting the next generation of floriculture students.

Read More
Hand-Crafted Stone Mushrooms (Stone-Age Creations)

February 9, 2018

Garden Retailers at TPIE Highlight Their Favorite Produ…

A team of garden retailers once again participated in the 2018 Tropical Plants Industry Expo Cool Product Awards.

Read More
Amazon-Online-Plant-Store

February 7, 2018

The Latest on Amazon’s Online Plant Store

There is debate throughout the industry over how Amazon’s presence will affect growers who are looking to sell plants online.

Read More
Congressional-Action-Days-2018

February 6, 2018

Congressional Action Days to Feature Pep Talk From Lead…

Rep. Jimmy Panetta, (D, CA), one of the floral industry’s biggest advocates in Congress, will deliver a pep talk to the Society of American Florists’ (SAF) Congressional Action Days participants before they meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Read More

February 6, 2018

Registration for 2018 IGC Show Now Open

The event takes place Aug. 14-16 in Chicago and features keynote presentations from horticultural economist Charlie Hall and Daymond John from the TV series “Shark Tank.”

Read More
Dendrobium-Orchid-Costa-Farms

February 4, 2018

USDA to Allow Orchid Imports from Taiwan Into U.S.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has amended its regulations to allow the importation of orchid plants of the genus Dendrobium spp. in growing media from Taiwan into the U.S.

Read More
North Creek Nurseries Head Grower and Owner

February 3, 2018

Be Sure to Take the NICH Industry Survey on Horticultur…

The National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture is asking industry members for their input in a brief survey designed to measure the types of information used to run horticultural businesses.

Read More
Nature-Hills-Nursery-Plant-Shipping-feature

February 2, 2018

How You Can Tackle Online Plant Sales

Selling your products online can open up a new revenue stream, but there are several factors you need to consider along the way.

Read More

January 31, 2018

Online Education Empowers Employees to Succeed

See how UF/IFAS online certificate courses helped employees at Costa Farms get ahead with their jobs.

Read More
Ter-Laak-Orchids-Netherlands

January 30, 2018

Netherlands Orchid Grower Named International Grower of…

Ter Laak Orchids took home the International Association of Horticultural Producers’ top prize at its ceremony at IPM Essen, while Van Belle Nursery in Canada was also a big winner.

Read More
TPIE-2018

January 30, 2018

Color, Décor, and Wellness Were On Display at TPIE

The 2018 Tropical Plant International Expo celebrated its 45th year bringing buyers and sellers of interior plants and related products together in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Read More
Stuztman-Greenhouse

January 30, 2018

Stutzman Greenhouse Co-Founder Dies at 96

Ervin Stutzman started the Kansas-based family business with his wife, Emma, in 1956.

Read More
Money-feature

January 25, 2018

Why It’s Critical to Understand Your Real Costs o…

It’s time to stop guessing and start calculating when it comes to finding out what your real cost of production is, and pricing products accordingly.\

Read More
Tax-Money

January 23, 2018

Learn How the New Tax Law Will Affect Your Greenhouse B…

AmericanHort will co-host a free “Comprehending the New Tax Law: webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 31, with K-Coe Isom, a national tax consulting leader.

Read More