FieldWatch Gets Started In Iowa

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In agriculture, sometimes neighbors have different ways of farming. A conventional farmer may have a field near a specialty crop, organic, or a beekeeper. Those areas could be a bit more sensitive to some of the pesticides sprayed on tougher hybrids or GMO varieties.

So Perdue University started up a registry that let growers keep track of each other they could map out sensitive fields so farmers and applicators could take special precautions.

Once it grew too big, FieldWatch was started and the last 7 years has grown to 12 U.S. states and now it's in Iowa.

Growers who have specialty or organic crops or beekeepers will soon be able to register their farms on FieldWatch with contact information. Then while big production agriculture is doing work with application, they can be aware of small farms or fields.

Reid Sprenkel, president of FieldWatch says, "[The] end result that it has is to facilitate communication. Communication between growers and applicators and beekeepers. Who all are doing and have their own jobs out there in the agriculture community. But often times are using chemicals, spraying chemicals that at times may affect the other."

Sprenkel says most of 2016 will be spent mapping. This is helped in part because for ten years Iowa has had a sensitive crop registry.

FieldWatch is a nonprofit and works off of donations. At the Wallace Building in Des Moines, they were presented $25,000 from the Agribusiness Association of Iowa for a license fee and signage.

Sprenkel says Iowa had a variety of stakeholders work to get it here, "It really enabled Iowa to adopt FieldWatch because the Agribusiness Association of Iowa stepped up, got their members to help contribute, even got some donors who had already contributed to FieldWatch to contribute more because they knew how important it was here in Iowa."