Updated: Nov 5, 2020
By Sarah Everhart
The article is not a substitute for legal advice. See here for the site’s reposting policy.
Anyone who applies pesticides, grows specialty/organic crops and/or has an apiary needs to understand and refer to the new series of online tools in use in Maryland since early 2019, collectively referred to as FieldWatch. Fieldwatch has replaced the Maryland sensitive crop registry. Given the questions and concerns we hear from growers regarding pesticide drift damage all growers would benefit from registering with Fieldwatch. For more information on pesticide drift liability check out this legal fact sheet: Current Legal Rules Benefit Spray Applicators When It Comes to Pesticide Drift.
Fieldwatch, Inc. is actually a non-profit company created by Purdue University in collaboration with interested agricultural stakeholder groups. Fieldwatch was created to help farmers and applicators identify, map and communicate where high-value specialty crops are grown as part of ongoing stewardship activities. Fieldwatch.com is comprised of multiple registry sites :
Driftwatch- contains a map (see picture above) for specialty crop growers to indicate the location of specialty crops and is meant to inform pesticide applicators of the locations of sensitive areas before they spray;
BeeCheck- contains a map which enables beekeepers to identify the location of apiaries; and
FieldCheck- is a registry for pesticide applicators so they can access a detailed map showing the sites where specialty crops are grown and receive emails telling them when a specialty crop field or apiary site has been newly approved in the area.
FieldWatch also offers two mobile apps to give applicators access to specialty crop information and beehive locations from their mobile devices. Both apps are available free for Android and iOS devices.
The advantage of FieldWatch is that the mapping tools allow users to update their information in real-time, providing applicators the most up-to-date information prior to spraying. Although new to Maryland, FieldWatch is in use in twenty-one states and one Canadian province.
All Maryland pesticide applicators, specialty/organic crop growers, and beekeepers are encouraged to sign up for Fieldwatch at FieldWatch.com and choose the type of account they would like to create. Beekeepers should register for BeeCheck, specialty crop growers should register for DriftWatch, and applicators should register for FieldCheck. For more information about FieldWatch, read this helpful resource or call the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Regulation Section at 410-841-5710.