ST. LOUIS, Feb. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- FieldWatch, Inc®, a non-profit company that enhances communication and stewardship among diverse agriculture stakeholders, announced the addition of industrial hemp to the list of sensitive crops included in its registry.
This step will enable licensed hemp growers to protect their plots from accidental pesticide exposure, which can damage this sensitive crop. Hemp growers in 16 states where FieldWatch operates and have legalized industrial hemp production can map their sites in DriftWatch®, FieldWatch's online specialty crop registry. This information helps pesticide applicators exercise caution when spraying in the vicinity of hemp plots.
"The decision to add hemp to our sensitive crop registry comes in response to many requests we've received from departments of agriculture in states that use FieldWatch's mapping program and have legalized the production of hemp following the 2018 farm bill," said Stephanie Regagnon, CEO, FieldWatch. "As an organization whose mission is to bring together diverse agriculture stakeholders, we are now making it possible for hemp growers to benefit from FieldWatch's technology tools and are being good partners to our member states."
Industrial hemp production has taken off since the passage of the 2018 farm bill, which legalized the cultivation of hemp as an agricultural commodity. By the end of 2019, there were 16,624 cultivation licenses issued and approximately 453,000 acres licensed for hemp cultivation issued by Departments of Agriculture in 34 states, according to a report by Whitney Economics. Out of the 22 states that are members of FieldWatch, 17 have requested the addition of industrial hemp to the DriftWatch Specialty Crop Registry.
"As industrial hemp production expands, it's important that the hemp value chain becomes strongly integrated in the overall agriculture value chain. We believe that this can be achieved through transparent communication and see FieldWatch as a partner in this process," said Russel Laird, vice president, public affairs, National Industrial Hemp Council. "Being part of DriftWatch gives industrial hemp growers the opportunity to establish trust-based relationships with pesticide applicators and protect their plots from accidental pesticide drift."
The National Industrial Hemp Council provides high quality networking and resources for its members, from the farm to consumer. Their leadership is composed of leading international, federal, state, private industry, and government professionals throughout the sector. Their goals are to further market development, assist members in entering the industry, and educate the consumer on industrial hemp and its applications.
For over 12 years, FieldWatch's online registry, which is compatible with many technology platforms used in agriculture, has facilitated communication between commercial pesticide applicators, growers of sensitive crops and conventional crops, and beekeepers. Its registries consist of DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site, BeeCeck® Apiary Registry and CropCheck® Row Crop Registry, a former pilot program made permanent for the 2020 growing season that enables voluntary communication between applicators and growers of corn, soybeans, rice and cotton.
In 2020, FieldWatch completed the integration of its BeeCheck® Apiary Registry in California after California officially joined the FieldWatch platform in 2019. FieldWatch joined forces with the California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) and the California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association (CACASA), as well as many other statewide agriculture stakeholders, to launch a statewide pollinator protection program called "BeeWhere, powered by FieldWatch," which aims to bring beekeepers and pesticide applicators together to safeguard hive locations across California using innovative mapping tools. This program is especially beneficial for beekeepers who travel to the state every spring for almond tree pollination, allowing them to comply with existing California state regulations with a simple, free process to register and move their hives, and offering beekeepers a line of communication with pesticide applicators.
FieldWatch is a non-profit company whose mission is to develop and provide easy-to-use, reliable, accurate and secure online mapping tools intended to enhance communications that promote awareness and stewardship activities between crop producers, beekeepers and pesticide applicators.
For more information about FieldWatch or its online registries, DriftWatch, BeeCheck and CropCheck, go to http://www.FieldWatch.com.