DriftWatch® Specialty Crop Site and BeeCheck® Apiary Registry are new on-line sensitive site registry programs for South Dakota available through FieldWatch®. This national registry is a voluntary communication tool that enables crop producers, beekeepers, and pesticide applicators to work together to protect specialty crops and apiaries through use of mapping programs.
This site is free to users and is available at: https://sd.driftwatch.org.
“The South Dakota Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA) strongly encourages those who produce fruits and vegetables, honey, organic crops and other crops sensitive to pesticide drift to get registered, said “Tom Bodensteiner, SDSPA President.
South Dakota Department of Agriculture was awarded Specialty Crop Block grant funds to roll out this new registry to help avoid crop damage from pesticide spray drift. Participants register their crops and acreage and can indicate pollinator habitat area if that applies. This program replaces the old South Dakota Sensitive Site Registry.
This more robust system is user-friendly, allows users to see information that may cross state lines, and allows the user to enter information specific to the operation. The information will pull up on compatible applicator software. Although compliance it not required, the additional notes section does create an opportunity for producers to list their preferences for applicators to consider. FieldWatch® will require yearly updating so that applicators will have up-to-date data.
“The tool allows you to mark your acres with a drawing tool as well as make comments. For example, I commented to stay 500 feet back from my boundaries and to avoid flying over my house, barns, poultry houses, or processing plant. I also requested a 48-hour notification before spraying of any kind because I carry out on-farm semi open-air food processing”, said Angela Jackson Pulse, organic grower.
Field signs can be used for additional communication and awareness. Official FieldWatch® signs are available for purchase on the website by registered producers and beekeepers with approved sites.
In addition to user-submitted sensitive crops, the map interface provides other data layers that give further insight into sensitive and protected areas, as well as help identify county/township/section jurisdictions. DriftWatch® is not intended to be a registry for homeowners or for sites less than half an acre in size. It is not a substitute for any state regulatory requirements.
DriftWatch® was designed by staff from Purdue University ten years ago to help applicators, growers of specialty crops and beekeepers communicate about the locations of crops and hives to improve stewardship. Since 2012 it has operated as a stand-alone entity, FieldWatch, Inc®, a non-profit company created by Purdue in collaboration with interested agricultural stakeholder groups.