Treated Seed a Hot Topic in State Legislatures

  • On May 18, 2022
  • neonic, neonicotinoid, neonics, new york, Seed Treatment, state affairs, state bills, Treated Seed, vermont

While treated seed continues to be a dominant issue in state legislatures, many of the bills filed didn’t get very far in the process. Most states are close to adjournment for the year, and at this point New York and Vermont are the only states with treated seed related bills still in play. However, ASTA continues to monitor the state legislatures in case things change.

With the recent passage of H.626, Vermont became the first state to restrict the use of neonicotinoid treated seed, with the focus on impacts to the bee population in the state. ASTA has joined with CropLife America and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization on a letter asking the Governor to veto the bill. The letter underscores the importance of neonicotinoid treated seeds as a safe and vital tool allowing farmers to protect seeds at their most vulnerable stage and decrease the amount of foliar application sprays and above ground exposure. Ironically, during the past legislative session, a bill was passed that established the Agricultural Innovation Board to look at the state’s regulations and how they collectively impact agricultural entities. During their February 2022 meeting, the board commented that “to date we haven’t been able to establish a link between treated seeds and pollinator impact.” This tracks with recent data showing that despite the widespread use of seed treatments containing neonicotinoids since the 1980s, honeybee colonies are in fact increasing, while collapse disorder is improving.

The New York Senate and Assembly have each passed bills to ban neonics and neonic-treated seeds, although both have nuances that keep them from being classified as companion bills. A7429a and S699c, each called the Birds and Bees Protection Act, differ in the process that would determine a variance to the exemption to the ban, if no acceptable alternative exists. Neither bill contains a provision to require seed treated with a neonicotinoid to be classified as a pesticide.

It’s interesting to note that 36 bills were introduced in the states this year that would affect the use of neonicotinoids, but the Vermont and New York bills are the only ones that have shown progress.