IN an effort to promote stewardship of water quality on and around farms, the European Crop Protection Assn. (ECPA) launched a new campaign to promote implementation of buffer strips between cropped areas and open bodies of water.
In a May 22 announcement, ECPA said participating companies will affix stickers to pesticide packaging encouraging farmers to use buffer strips between treatment areas and water bodies.
"This scheme is the latest addition to the sustainable agriculture initiatives of ECPA members and contributes to the overall aim of protecting water from potential negative impacts of pesticide use," Stuart Rutherford, ECPA director of environmental affairs, said.
Last month, the association published two comprehensive crop protection user guides for the prevention of water pollution from runoff and drift.
The program is slated to commence as a pilot in Spain and Poland next year and will be implemented across Europe by 2015.
Companies have agreed to place the stickers on their packaging that direct farmers and pesticide applicators to a webpage providing an explanation of the recommended conservation measures.
Along with the stickers, ECPA is also delivering a new training program for crop protection sales and marketing professionals focusing on water and biodiversity.
ECPA director general Friedhelm Schmider said the sales and marketing process is an ideal opportunity for the industry to advise farmers and retailers of the importance of conservation best management practices such as buffer strips.
"The stickers and training reflect the commitment of the crop protection industry to protect and enhance water and biodiversity in Europe," Schmider said. "While implementing these projects is, at times, challenging, I am very pleased that our industry has found a way to work together in this genuinely Europe-wide exercise to help protect the environment and help ensure the sustainable use of crop protection products."
Several ECPA member companies have already pledged to back the sticker scheme, including Bayer Crop Science, BASF, Dow Agrosciences, DuPont, Makhteshim Agan, Monsanto and Syngenta.
Sticker production and product packaging will get underway during the latter half of 2013, with the aim that all products marketed in Spain and Poland in 2014 receive a sticker.
Following the 2014 launch, ECPA said it will evaluate the program's success in the two-country pilot and will move toward continent-wide implementation by the end of 2015.