KRC to Host Pollinators, Pesticides and Drift Workshop in Wichita
The Kansas Rural Center (KRC) will host a “Pesticides, Pollinators and Drift: What You Need to Know” workshop on Monday, May 20, 2019, in Wichita. The workshop will focus on the impacts of pesticides and herbicides on pollinators, beekeepers, farmers and local foods’ initiatives. Farmers, gardeners, beekeepers, conservationists, pollinator proponents and local foods’ advocates will gain a broad view of the role of pesticides in our farm and food system. The workshop will be held in the Sunflower Room at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center, 7001 W 21st Street N., Wichita, Kansas, on Monday, May 20, from 9 am – 4 pm. Lunch from Green Acres Market will be served. Registration is $10 and is required by Friday, May 17, in order to ensure an accurate count for lunch.
In the morning, the workshop will cover how pesticides impact pollinators and the role that agriculture plays in pollinator decline, but also how a number of farming strategies that are gaining traction in Kansas reduce or eliminate pesticide use and can help the farmers’ bottom line. Claire LeCanne, M.S., University of Minnesota Extension, will talk about a study she did with entomologist Dr. Jonathan Lundgren looking at the benefits of using non-treated seeds in corn, and how cover crops attract and sustain beneficial insects including pollinators.
Steve Swaffar, Executive Director, No-Till on the Plains, will talk about projects they have going on that benefit pollinators and will provide examples of Kansas farmers who are using regenerative ag principles which provide a whole host of benefits from soil health and carbon sequestration to increasing biodiversity and protecting pollinators.
Andy Burr, USDA-NRCS State Biologist, will cover conservation programs that include cost-share for pollinator habitat, and KRC staff will give an update on current legislative initiatives in Kansas that deal with pesticides.
Angela Anderson, Twin Lakes WRAPS Coordinator, will discuss her work with the Kansas Wildlife Federation on protecting pollinators from neonic pesticides.
In the afternoon, the impacts of herbicide drift on pollinators and specialty crop farmers will be explored. Brad Dilts, Serenity Farms specialty crop farmer, will discuss his experience with drift which resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in crop loss. Steps for reporting drift will be covered, along with an update on Kansas’ current noxious week law, which could increase pesticide use, and potential pesticide laws that could help curb drift and protect farmers.
Randall Rathbun, an attorney who has represented farmers and ranchers in drift cases for over 35 years, will talk about liability issues and resources for farmers impacted by drift.
Pesticide use in agriculture is a primary cause of pollinator decline, and while agriculture has played significant role in pollinator decline, it can also play a huge role in reversing the trend. Farmers in Kansas, and across the US, are turning to farming methods that use fewer or no pesticides and provide habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects.
Herbicide drift threatens not only pollinators but also specialty crop growers, organic farmers and, most recently, soybean farmers. Drift was cited in a 2014 report published by the Kansas Rural Center as a significant barrier to scaling up specialty crop production in Kansas. One incident of drift can cause an organic farmer to lose certification for three years, minimum, and researchers are finding that some herbicides, while not targeting pollinators or insects, are causing harm to them through loss of the flowering plants they rely on to survive.
Come learn more about the impacts of pesticides and herbicides on pollinators and people, and what can be done, and is being done, to help remedy the problem. Registration is $10 to cover lunch and materials, and is required by Friday, May 17, in order to ensure enough food for lunch. To register, please visit http://events.constantcontact.com/register, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.