Policy Update

New York Enacts Nation’s First Neonicotinoid Treated Seed Ban

January 3, 2024



NCEL Point of Contact

Justin Gulino
Conservation Associate


On December 22, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Birds and the Bees Protection Act (S 1856-A & A 7640). The law is the first in the country to prohibit the use of neonicotinoid-treated seeds for corn, soybean, and wheat agricultural production. New York joins 11 other states in restricting residential use of neonicotinoids on ornamental plants and turfs. 

  • Why it matters: Neonicotinoids are one of the most environmentally harmful yet most commonly used pesticides since DDT. They contaminate soil for years, leech into waterways, and are a main driver of pollinator & invertebrate decline.

Key Components of the Bill 

The states’ neonicotinoid use is expected to decrease by 80-90% with the prohibition of residential use and of wheat, corn, and soybean tread seeds. The law comes after a state-commissioned cost-benefit analysis of neonicotinoid-treated seeds which found that economic costs often exceed treated seeds’ economic benefits. 

The law also incorporates concern for agricultural producers and seeks to mitigate adverse impacts by:

  • Giving producers time to adapt their processes before the ban takes effect.
  • Permitting neonicotinoid-treated seeds to be purchased and used if there is an insufficient amount of commercially available seeds to supply the agricultural market or if untreated seeds cause undue financial hardship.
  • Requiring the commissioner of agriculture & markets to publish a written directive if a one-year exemption for treated seeds will be granted by October 1 of each year.
  • Allowing the use of treated seeds if there is a valid environmental emergency where no other less harmful methods can address the emergency.

Bill Sponsors

The bill was sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Assemblymember Deborah Glick.

Other Resources