Attention: NYSTA Members & Allied Associations

Over the course of the last few weeks the NYS Assembly and NYS Senate have passed the Birds and the Bees Act.  

This bill, https://legislation.nysenate.gov/pdf/bills/2023/S1856A, bans the use of imidacloprid on turfgrass and outdoor ornamental plants in NYS effective January 1st, 2027. NYSTA worked in conjunction with the New York Green Industry Council and GCSAA to do everything we could to prevent this from happening, but it seemed inevitable as almost all proponents and legislators  surrounding this bill were unwilling to meet or engage in any conversation in the last few weeks. And since the State Senate and State Assembly appointed new Environmental Conservation chairs, neither has been willing to meet with turf and ornamental reps in our industry, DEC's "Restricted Use" label of imidacloprid for the entire state in 2023 was not good enough. There is no compromise or middle ground. There is no acknowledgement of BMPs or the positive environmental impacts of turfgrass in NYS. The opposition quotes science but a recent article after the bill passed both the senate and the house makes outlandish claims stating generalizations and observations, not concrete science. I have attached the article here: NRDC Release 2023 June 9

This is what we are up against- environmental special interest groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council with deep pockets and aggressive agendas. Legislators who are in favor of pushing these agendas by any means necessary. Attacks being made against the farm industry and our industry that are just lies. A Cornell Report published in 2020 regarding neonics served as the guiding document for this legislation. Yet, when it came to turfgrass, there was no science behind the claims, only assumptions. Further, the narrative the opposition continues to push is that there is little to no economic impact and safer alternative. How is the application of a product 3.5 times more expensive not economically impactful? Grub control on my golf course alone using imidacloprid cost $4500. The cost to now use the alternative is $16,000. How is this added cost absorbed? How is this not economically impactful? Legislators do not care, I get it. The perception is our industry is a luxury not a necessity. We need to take action because bills like this and future bills in the work are going to continue to cripple our industry, making sports on turf fields increasingly expensive to play and the properties too expensive to maintain. This in turn will drive up budgets, affect staffing and ultimately your livelihood.  

 There is only one alternative to imidacloprid. In Long Island, outside of a golf course exemption NYSTA was able to work to get with DEC in 2019, there are no preventative alternatives. If the opposition claims science, where are the scientists talking about the risk of resistance or the problematic effects of curative control products? The opposition only uses science when it is to their benefit. There is no middle ground. BMPs are completely ignored, it can be deflating at times to see all the work done by NYSTA and the New York Golf Foundation completely ignored. But it does not mean that we back down! We are working to find better means to get our industry's voices heard. When I listen in on legislative meetings the turf and ornamental industry is not even recognized. We are the low hanging fruit, undervalued, underappreciated and given no acknowledgement as to the importance of turf and ornamental in NYS. It is upsetting but unfortunately the perception is that what we do for a living is a luxury for our customers, not a necessity. 

What can we do now? We need as many people as possible to send statements of opposition to the governor's office. GCSAA has created a grass roots veto campaign. Click on the following link:


It takes less than two minutes to upload a message that has already been generated. Messages should be sent as soon as possible, although there is no deadline at this point. The governor must act within 10 days of the bill being sent to her, but it has not yet been sent to her. Governor Cuomo issued a veto in December of 2019 for a bill banning chlorpyrifos that passed during the legislative session in the spring. Sometimes these things can take much of the rest of the year, but there is no guarantee and no reason to wait. NRDC is hitting the governor’s office with messages now, so we need to as well.

Please take action!

Thank you,

Tom Kaplun

NYSTA Government Relations Co-Chair  

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