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By the U of A System Division of AgricultureMarch 15, 2019
(547 words)(Download this story in MS Word format here.)
LITTLE ROCK – As spring rolls toward Arkansas and growers begin to approach their
planting dates, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is encouraging
growers throughout the state to make use a new program designed to help them identify
herbicide-sensitive crops, and adjust their spraying accordingly.
CropCheckTM, a new program offered in partnership with FieldWatch®, is designed to help farmers
prevent damage to their neighbors. The partnership between FieldWatch — a not-for-profit
company that hosts registries that map locations of pesticide-sensitive crops and
bee hives — and the Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service will also
enable Arkansas producers to have access to two other FieldWatch products, DriftwatchTM for peanuts and specialty crops, and BeeCheckTM for bee hives.
The program, which is free and voluntary, may prove especially valuable in 2019, in
light of recent Arkansas Plant Board decisions regarding the permissible use of herbicides
with known volatility issues.
“Farmers in 21 states and one Canadian province are working with FieldWatch in an
effort to increase communication, collaboration and awareness to prevent problems
with off-target spraying,” said Vic Ford, interim associate director for agriculture
and natural resources-extension for the Division of Agriculture. “The work FieldWatch
was doing came to our attention during the very difficult year Arkansas had in 2017
with some pesticides not staying where applied.”
With CropCheck, row crop producers may to submit crop site information. Pesticide
applicators can access the site to help determine the scope and location of specialty
crops and beehives in their areas. Registered applicators can sign up to receive email
notifications when new crop fields or beehives are added to their designated state,
county or areas.
DriftWatch will allow commercial producers of specialty crops such as tomatoes, fruit
trees, grapes and organic crops o register and map their sites online with an easy-to-use
mapping tool and provide contact information about their operation.
BeeCheck has a few additional features for beekeepers and apiaries to communicate
their location and site details to applicators.
On March 5, FieldWatch announced several technological advances for 2019, including
the ability for users add a layer of data annotation to the site, adding specific
notes that may be beyond the scope of the software in typical use, such as the locations
of private gardens. This information will be visible only to the user who enters the
data, and whomever the user decides to share it with.
To date, Arkansas has 164 producers who have registered more than 800 sites, totaling
more than 63,000 acres. Arkansas, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia all joined
FieldWatch in 2018.
Free and voluntary
There’s no cost to enroll or use the new registry and enrollment is voluntary. Both
commercial and hobby beekeepers can use the system, however only managers and owners
of crop fields that are used for commercial production and are of at least a half-acre
in size will have fields approved by the state data steward. The stewardship platforms
provided by FieldWatch are not intended for homeowners or those with small gardens.
Pesticide applicators will have different options for viewing locations on the new
system but all users in Arkansas, applicators, producers, and beekeepers, will need to go to https://ar.driftwatch.org/ and create an account to get started.
For more information CropCheck or FieldWatch, contact your county extension office
FieldWatch, Inc®, a non-profit company that helps applicators, growers of specialty
crops and beekeepers communicate about the locations of crops and hives to improve
stewardship, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with five new member states
and enhanced technology.
FieldWatch was created to develop and expand the operation of DriftWatch™, a voluntary
online specialty crop registry program originally created by Purdue University in
2008. Today, FieldWatch offers an online national registry and tools that facilitate
communication between commercial applicators and growers of sensitive crops and beekeepers.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal
access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to
participate or need materials in another format, please contact your (insert appropriate
office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
# # #
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A System Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) firstname.lastname@example.org