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The BeSure! Mission with Growing Matters

In this week's North American Ag Spotlight Chrissy Wozniak talks to Jeffrey Smith & Caydee Savinelli of Growing Matters. Growing Matters is a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to scientific discourse on the stewardship, benefits and alternatives of neonicotinoid insecticides in North America. Today we talk about the importance of neonics, what the industry could look like without them, and farming best practices when it comes to crop protection.

Jeffrey Smith currently serves as Manager of Industry and Government Relations for Valent U.S.A. LLC where his primary responsibility is to develop partnerships with allied commodity and trade associations to advance policies supporting grower access to new crop and yield enhancement tools. Jeff also works with Federal and state regulatory agencies and legislatures on industry wide pesticide issues. Prior to his current role, he was a Field Market Development Specialist responsible for developing crop protection products row crop and specialty markets throughout the Midwestern, Southwestern and Southeastern United States. Jeff also has experience in the retail sector of the industry, starting his career with Gold Kist, Inc. Combined, Jeff has over 30 years of experience within the crop protection industry. Recognizing the importance of grower led coalitions to protect access to pesticides, Jeff has coordinated with allied stakeholders and industry peers to create and manage several consortiums dedicated to defending classes of chemistry under scrutiny by environmental activists. In addition, Jeff works through CropLife America on pesticide issues including the Endangered Species Act in addition to Federal and state legislation. Jeff earned his B.S. and M.S. Degrees from Clemson University in Agronomy with Emphasis in Weed Science.

Caydee Savinelli is the Syngenta U.S. Stewardship Team and Pollinator Lead. In this role, she leads a team with goals of advocating, educating, and collaborating for stewardship of Syngenta products to provide farmers and golf and landscape professionals a variety of tools to control important pests. The team provides a catalyst for change through Sustainable and Responsible Business and Good Growth Plan initiatives. Some of the main areas of the stewardship team’s focus are environmental issues, endangered species, pesticide safety education and pollinator and biodiversity conservation initiatives. Caydee has focused on pest management, product development and crop protection throughout her 38-year career and has worked in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. Caydee holds a Ph.D. in Entomology with a minor in Crop Science from North Carolina State University, a M.S. in Entomology from The Pennsylvania State University and a B.A. in Biology from Gettysburg College. Caydee’s interest in agriculture and entomology started in childhood during the time spent at her grandfather’s orange grove in Florida.

Agriculture and horticulture are key to nourishing families and communities. Feeding a growing population, enhancing the beauty of our surroundings and a sustained commitment to environmental protection are fundamental needs that matter. Crop protection products, both natural and synthetic, are important tools that protect plants from tough and invasive pests that can devastate crops and urban landscapes. Growing Matters is funded by a consortium of companies committed to open and healthy scientific discourse on stewardship, benefits and alternatives to neonicotinoid insecticides in North America. Consortium members include Bayer, Syngenta, Valent U.S.A., BASF, and Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Inc. The BeSure! campaign is also supported by Gowan Company and PBI Gordon Corporation. Go to for information, reports, videos and infographics on the benefits of neonicotinoid insecticides.

Deciding how to manage weeds, insects and diseases that routinely attack crops and landscapes is just one of many decisions farmers and applicators must make each season. When choosing crop protection tools, both effectiveness and potential impact on the environment must be considered. Protecting bees and other wildlife is a major part of good stewardship practices and is why Growing Matters launched BeSure!, an initiative to support growers and applicators in accomplishing this important goal.

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This episode is sponsored by AMS Galaxy - BRINGING PRECISION DAIRY EQUIPMENT TO THE AMERICAN FARMER. Spend more time doing what you love. Use technology to your advantage.


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