Continued Strong Adoption of Integrated Refuge Products Provide Compliance Convenience.

The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to announce that the enhanced Compliance Assurance Program (CAP), which includes on-farm refuge assessments, an online survey, and IRM education and awareness, is seeing strong success and an increase in both the overall number of growers planting their corn refuge and integrated refuge products. 

The CAP is designed to improve compliance with Insect Resistance Management (IRM) requirements. The Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC), a consortium of Bt corn registrants, submits an annual CAP report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describing industry-coordinated compliance assurance efforts for Bt traits.

Adoption of integrated refuge products result in automatic compliance in the Corn Belt

Highlights of the survey indicate a strong adoption of integrated refuge products, which include Bt and refuge seed interspersed in a single bag or container.

“We are pleased to see that the number of growers planting integrated refuge products on their entire farming operation has more than tripled this year and the percent of those who planted exclusively integrated product increased from 18 percent in 2013 to 47 percent in 2014. Also, an additional 27 percent are planting at least one integrated product,” said Mark Kimm, ABSTC IRM subcommittee co-chair.

ABSTC projects that the adoption of integrated products will continue to increase, contributing to the overall increase in compliance, which helps preserve Bt corn technology durability.

Survey shows that most growers are in compliance

In 2014, the majority of growers surveyed planted the required refuge size on their farms and planted it within the required distance for all of their Bt corn fields. Furthermore, the survey indicated that the percentage of growers not planting any refuge acres continues to be low.

The ABSTC continues to promote educational programs and strategies to preserve the efficacy of Bt technology. In addition, the ABSTC partners with NCGA to ensure that NCGA’s membership and networks are fully informed of refuge requirements and the CAP.  A collaboration supporting the use of best management practices for corn rootworm (CRW) was initiated.  The campaign includes advertisements and editorials in local publications on practices to utilize to help protect your fields from CRW.

“This type of collaboration is vital to the industry’s efforts to showcase the benefits of best management practices – such as crop rotation and trait selection,” said John Linder, chairman of the National Corn Growers Association Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. “The industry is committed to the success of the grower. The introduction of integrated refuge products and educational programs provide our grower’s options that help manage challenging on-farm situations, as well as durability and stewardship of the industry’s trait technologies.”