As producers begin another planting, let’s remember that farmers and horticulturists are required to manage a wide variety of factors to protect their crops and landscapes from a broad range of threats, including severe weather, pests, and soil, plant and crop health. While we can’t control the weather, we can carefully utilize insecticides, like neonicotinoids (or “neonics”), to maximize yields, while minimizing the toxic impact on pollinators—critical contributors to maintaining biodiversity, healthy ecosystems and food security.

Globally, about 75% of flowering plants and approximately 35% of food crops depend on pollinators to reproduce. In fact, without pollinators—birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammals that travel from plant to plant carrying pollen on their bodies—the agricultural industry would be in dire straits. Our communities rely on pollinated crops and plants for nutrition—about one out of every three bites of food is from pollinated vegetation. Farmers also rely on pollinated crops and plants for their livelihoods.

From a business of farming perspective, helping pollinators survive and thrive can boost harvest size and quality, support healthy vegetation and minimize soil erosion—ultimately increasing grower revenue in the near and long term. More than 100 U.S.-grown crops, including melons, almonds and berries, depend on honeybees and other pollinators to cross-pollinate for survival. Economically, pollinators add more than $18 billion in annual revenue to crop production.

While pollinators are of significant benefit for farmers, there’s no denying that crops need protection from an array of pests, as well. Neonics are a critical part of most integrated pest management (IPM) programs. They’re effective, selective and, when used according to the label, safe for both people and the environment. However, improper, or ill-timed use can be harmful for pollinators. Implementing an effective IPM program while minimizing risk to pollinators is possible by employing best management practices when handling seeds treated with neonics. This is where BeSure! comes in.

BeSure!, an industry collaboration led by the Growing Matters Coalition, is dedicated to protecting pollinators by providing easy-to-reference educational resources for farmers, crop protection applicators, urban landscape applicators, agricultural supply retailers and others. Endorsed by the National Pesticide Safety Education Center, American Seed Trade Association, CropLife America, the Agricultural Retailers Association and more, we created BeSure! as a joint effort to share valuable, consistent information across the agriculture industry.

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Guides, fact sheets, infographics, videos and more are available via social media, industry trade groups, radio programming and other platforms. Since BeSure!’s launch in 2019, Growing Matters reports that the campaign’s messaging and resources have reached more than 200 million people.

Farmers play a key role in sustaining healthy ecosystems, providing bountiful nutritious foods and much, much more. They are the original conservationists—whose practical stewardship practices make a difference every day. For more information, please visit

Val Dolcini is the head of Business Sustainability and Government Affairs in North America for Syngenta.

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