Seed World

Growing Matters Kicks Off Annual BeSure! Stewardship Campaign


It’s that time again to “BeSure!”

The agriculture industry collaboration led by Growing Matters today launched its fourth annual BeSure! stewardship awareness campaign to promote best management practices when using neonicotinoid products on farms and urban landscapes.

The BeSure! campaign uses a wide range of media channels including print, radio, digital and social media to remind farmers, crop protection applicators, urban landscape applicators, agricultural supply retailers and others to ensure label directions and responsible stewardship measures are followed for neonicotinoid products, minimizing any potential impact on pollinators and other wildlife.

Over the last three years, the BeSure! campaign is estimated to have reached millions of people providing them with access to a wide range of informational resources to help them use seed treatments responsibly and avoid exposure to pollinators and wildlife.

“As we enter the fourth year of the BeSure! campaign, we know we have been able to reach a wide range of key stakeholders, from farmers to landscapers, to encourage them to follow easy to understand actions when using neonicotinoid products, such as applying them at times that pollinators are not active,” said Tom Smith, executive director, National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC), one of the Growing Matters coalition partners.

In addition to NPSEC, the campaign has been endorsed by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, the Agricultural Retailers Association and the American Soybean Association, among others.

“Farmers rely on many options to produce a safe, reliable crop, and neonicotinoid seed treatments are one of those options that help us grow a better soybean,” said American Soybean Association president and Arkansas soybean farmer Brad Doyle. “ASA is proud to support the BeSure! campaign each year, because we want all farmers to have awareness of proper usage guidelines and be a part of our industry conscience in managing pests while protecting pollinators and other wildlife we truly value.”

In addition to focusing on major crops like corn and soybean, the BeSure! campaign also includes fruits, nuts, vegetables, turf, trees and ornamental plants that are protected with neonicotinoid products.  This year, the campaign is continuing its reach across the U.S. expanding to Texas and Arizona.

Neonicotinoids are especially valuable to the citrus industry in Florida and California. The deadly citrus disease Huanglongbing impacts both the quality and quantity of the nectar within the orange blossom. Neonics are believed to help stem the disease and, as a result, help honeybees produce more, higher quality orange blossom honey.

“Citrus growers rely on neonicotinoid products to manage invasive pests such as the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), which is the sole vector of the destructive citrus greening disease” said Mike Aerts, vice president of Science and Regulatory Affairs, Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association. “The BeSure! campaign reminds our growers that we have to be as diligent into protecting pollinators and other wildlife as we are in protecting our crops from serious disease.”

Farmers, applicators and others can go to the website for up-to-date stewardship tips and information. The BeSure! site also includes ASTA’s Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship, which includes videos and brochures to show how treated seeds can be used in a way that avoids exposure to pollinators and other wildlife. The site contains a host of links to explain how neonicotinoids applications can be used responsibly, including the comprehensive Insect Pollinators and Pesticide Product Stewardship Guide. Two downloadable fact sheets with five quick tips to guide best management practices during planting season — one for growers and one for applicators — are also available.

Over the coming weeks, the campaign will share relevant updates and best management tips via social media content (search using hashtag #BeSure), radio programming, outreach via industry trade groups, and a variety of digital content. For more information, please visit: