Pixabay
Pixabay

New York has become the first US state to introduce legislation restricting the use of neonicotinoids – also known as neonics – in seeds, Bio News wrote.

Used by many seed companies – including those making biotech seeds – neonicotinoids are used to ensure healthy crops with higher yields, according to the 15 January report.

Signed in late December and set to take effect in 2029, the legislation was more of a bureaucratic hurdle than a complete ban on treating seeds with neonicotinoids, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)’s senior director of State Government Affairs, Agriculture & Environment Gene Harrington was quoted as saying.

However, BIO and other organisations representing seed producers had been watching New York closely, as other states were considering similar regulations, Bio News wrote.

“This is a first-of-its-kind law that would try to restrict the use of neonic-treated seed, though under the revisions that the governor put forward before signing the law, it’s not going to be nearly as restrictive as the bill that the legislature initially passed,” Harrington said.

The law would make it illegal to use neonicotinoid pesticide treated seeds for corn, soyabeans or wheat as of 2029 without a waiver, the report said.

To continue using neonic-treated seeds after the 2029 planting season, farmers would need to present an evaluation showing their fields were under threat from pests. They would also be required to take integrated pest management training.

At the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was considering introducing regulation of neonic-treated seeds, the report said.

However, this is likely to take the form of more detailed instructions for use, which would be printed on the label of seed packets, according to Harrington. Farmers would then be bound by law to follow these instructions.