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Farm leaders across New York oppose pesticide ban

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  • Staff Report 

Several agricultural organizations and business leaders across New York are objecting to a legislative move aimed at prohibiting the use of neonicotinoid pesticides (commonly known as “neonics”).

These chemicals are frequently applied on treated corn, wheat, and soy seeds, used in insecticides, and for maintaining decorative plants. The proposed bill, known as the Birds and Bees Protection Act, seeks to ban the use of seeds treated with these pesticides from January 1, 2026.

The New York Farm Bureau and various farmers and pollinators have expressed their disapproval in a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders, stating that the legislation’s passage would place New York’s dairy farmers, vegetable producers, and other agricultural professionals at a severe disadvantage.

The Assembly passed a version of the bill in late April, and an amended version could be considered in the Senate in the final two weeks of the session. Supporters of the legislation argue that a ban is necessary due to neonics’ contribution to the decline of bee colonies in the state and potential neurological risks for children and pregnant women.

If enacted, the law would grant the state Department of Environmental Conservation authority to regulate seeds treated with neonicotinoids, which are among the world’s most widely used pesticides. However, agricultural leaders argue that neonic-treated seeds enable increased crop production, thereby helping to reduce farming’s carbon footprint.