Frequently Asked Questions: General

click here for print friendly version

FieldWatch, Inc. is a non-profit company created to develop and expand the operation of the DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site and BeeCheck Apiary registries. To support the rapid growth of DriftWatch outside of Indiana, Purdue University collaborated with other agricultural stakeholder groups in the creation of a non-profit corporation called FieldWatch in December 2012. The new company has fully assumed the development and operational responsibilities of DriftWatch and BeeCheck as the stewardship tools expand nationwide.
DriftWatch is a voluntary online specialty crop site registry and mapping program created by Purdue’s Agriculture Department and currently managed and operated by the non-profit company FieldWatch. The stewardship tool allows for improved communication and collaboration between producers of specialty crops and pesticide applicators using a technology platform where producers can map their sites and provide contact information to pesticide applicators through an online mapping system.  As a primary stakeholder, the respective state departments of agriculture provide a key leadership role in implementing, administering and financially supporting this unique and effective stewardship collaboration tool.
BeeCheck is a voluntary online beehive/apiary registry and mapping program that is managed and operated by the non-profit company FieldWatch. The stewardship tool allows for improved communication and collaboration between beekeepers and pesticide applicators using a technology platform where beekeepers to map their sites and provide contact information to applicators through an online mapping system. As a primary stakeholder, the respective state departments of agriculture provide a key leadership role in implementing, administering and financially supporting this unique and effective stewardship collaboration tool.
FieldWatch is a company. DriftWatch and BeeCheck are the online mapping registries the company operates.
Commercial producers of high-value specialty crops, such as tomatoes, fruit trees, grapes and vegetables, register and map their sites online with an easy-to-use mapping tool and provide contact information about their operation. Likewise, in BeeCheck, beekeepers (commercial and hobbyist) register and map their hives the same way. Pesticide applicators access the site to help determine the scope and location of specialty crops and beehives in their trade areas. Registered applicators can sign up to receive email notifications when new specialty crop fields or beehives are added to their designated state, county or areas. DriftWatch and BeeCheck provide the platform to facilitate increased awareness, communication and interaction between all parties as one part of ongoing stewardship activities.
DriftWatch is free and voluntary to use.  The locations are viewable by the public, but not just anyone can register specialty crop sites or fields. The tool is for use by specialty crop producers, beekeepers and pesticide applicators (Note: Users with only beehives should use BeeCheck however if producers of specialty crops also have beehives they can put the hives into DriftWatch as a crop). Only managers and owners of specialty crop fields that are used for commercial production and are of at least a half-acre will have fields approved by the state data steward. DriftWatch is not intended for homeowners.
Each FieldWatch state has a primary data steward and in all states to date, that person is employed with the state’s department of agriculture. These data stewards provide a key leadership role in implementing and administering the FieldWatch tool. When you register with FieldWatch, your state data steward will receive your request. He or she will either approve or deny this request based on the criteria for becoming a user. If problems arise while using the registry, your state data steward can offer assistance or direct you to someone who can answer your question.
BeeCheck is free and the site locations are viewable by the public.  In most states, beekeepers are allowed to mark their hives “private” so that only pesticide applicators who are registered with FieldWatch can view their sites (not the public).  BeeCheck users can be commercial beekeepers or hobbyists.
We are a non-profit company that relies on donations and sponsors to support the ongoing operations and continued innovation of our stewardship tools.  As a user of the system, it is absolutely FREE for producers and beekeepers to input and manage the data related to their operation and it is also absolutely FREE for our end-users, the applicators, to access the data.  However, we encourage our users to become voluntary, dues-paying members if they would like to support the continued innovation and operation of FieldWatch.  The voluntary membership is a means to generate revenue from companies, organizations and individuals that want to get involved and demonstrate their support of our stewardship tool.  Please see our FieldWatch Membership Guide for information on member benefits and how you can get involved!
YES. Both registries are free to use and free for applicators to access.  FieldWatch has implemented a voluntary membership structure as a means of raising funds to support the operation and continued innovation of our tools.  If you wish to join as a FieldWatch member, there is a fee structure associated with membership, however, the registries are free to use regardless of whether users choose to join FieldWatch as members or not.
FieldWatch is currently operating in fourteen states and one Canadian province: Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Wisconsin and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.  Please see our “FieldWatch Registries” page for a full map.
Thank you for your interest in becoming a member of FieldWatch!  Please click on our current Membership Guide for more information on how you can get involved!
We are currently in the process of trying to expand our footprint and have active conversations in several states.  However, we can use your help in spreading the word about the importance of voluntary stewardship tools like FieldWatch with key stakeholders in your state.  These conversations go a long way in creating momentum for a state to become involved and join the registry.  It may be beneficial for individuals and grower/applicator groups to contact their state department of agriculture indicating the desire and need for such a program in their state. Please see our “Resources” page for more information to assist in your outreach and please do not hesitate to reach out to FieldWatch – we welcome the opportunity to speak to stakeholders as well!  Contact: Info@FieldWatch.com or (877) 443 – 4353.

FAQs for DriftWatch & BeeCheck Users

If you don’t have a computer or are unsure of how to operate the FieldWatch website, please contact your state’s data steward who will be able to offer assistance in creating an account and mapping your fields. You can find the contact information for your state’s data steward on our “Contact Us” page.
To become a FieldWatch user, it is convenient to have an active and current email address. It’s easier and more efficient to contact users via email. We understand that some users may not have an active email account. In these cases, communications can be made through the user’s phone number or address. Please contact your state data steward for more information.  You can locate their contact information on the “Contact Us” page.
There are state-specific data stewards identified on the FieldWatch website. If you have trouble with mapping your fields, you may contact your state’s data steward and they can help you. You can also send an email to info@fieldwatch.com.
No. In order to map a specialty crop site (and get it approved) in DriftWatch, you must be producing the crop for commercial use. The site is not intended for homeowners who have small gardens. In order to become a producer and map your sensitive areas, you must have a commercial site that is at least a half-acre. For BeeCheck, in most states, you can use the site if you are a commercial or hobby beekeeper.
Each state is different on how they address hobby beekeepers. Generally speaking, most states will approve apiaries that do not produce for commercial purposes. If you are a hobby beekeeper and are concerned with getting your sites approved, contact your state’s data steward by clicking on our “Contact Us” page.
We ask that beekeepers map the specific location of each of their apiaries. Apiary locations are identified with a half-acre circle. If beekeepers wish to include the foraging area, they must limit that area to their own property (they can click on “add a crop” while in BeeCheck).  Areas that expand further than the hive’s location and/or the beekeeper’s property may not be approved. If a beekeeper has multiple hives, they may designate the number of hives during registration.  If beehives are in close proximity to each other, it is ok to map them together and indicate the number of hives in the notes section.
If you don’t have a computer or are unsure of how to operate the FieldWatch website, please contact your state’s data steward who will be able to offer assistance in creating an account and mapping your fields. You can find the contact information for your state’s data steward on our “Contact Us” page.
To become a FieldWatch user, it is convenient to have an active and current email address. It’s easier and more efficient to contact users via email. We understand that some users may not have an active email account. In these cases, communications can be made through the user’s phone number or address. Please contact your state data steward for more information.  You can locate their contact information on the “Contact Us” page.
There are state-specific data stewards identified on the FieldWatch website. If you have trouble with mapping your fields, you may contact your state’s data steward and they can help you. You can also send an email to info@fieldwatch.com.
No. In order to map a specialty crop site (and get it approved) in DriftWatch, you must be producing the crop for commercial use. The site is not intended for homeowners who have small gardens. In order to become a producer and map your sensitive areas, you must have a commercial site that is at least a half-acre. For BeeCheck, in most states, you can use the site if you are a commercial or hobby beekeeper.
Each state is different on how they address hobby beekeepers. Generally speaking, most states will approve apiaries that do not produce for commercial purposes. If you are a hobby beekeeper and are concerned with getting your sites approved, contact your state’s data steward by clicking on our “Contact Us” page.
We ask that beekeepers map the specific location of each of their apiaries. Apiary locations are identified with a half-acre circle. If beekeepers wish to include the foraging area, they must limit that area to their own property (they can click on “add a crop” while in BeeCheck).  Areas that expand further than the hive’s location and/or the beekeeper’s property may not be approved. If a beekeeper has multiple hives, they may designate the number of hives during registration.  If beehives are in close proximity to each other, it is ok to map them together and indicate the number of hives in the notes section.

FAQs: Applicator Specific Questions

No. FieldWatch is voluntary and publicly available.  Applicators just need to access the map from the home page and zoom into the area in which they are interested to see the registered crop and apiary sites that have been submitted and approved.  However, there are benefits to registering and it’s simple and FREE!  See the following question.
Registered applicators can identify the state, counties or area within a state in which they want to receive automated email notifications for each new specialty crop or apiary site that is approved in their area.  The identified are is known as your “alert area”.  In addition, in most states, beekeepers have the ability to mark their hives as “private” which means only registered applicators (registered in FieldWatch) can view those sites. If you are only accessing the “public” site and are not registered, you may not see all beehives in most states.
No. “Pesticide product labels set the standard of care,” according to legal opinion sought by FieldWatch. FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act) mandates that applicators must use the products in accordance with the instructions on their labels. FieldWatch is another tool/data point for applicators to use to make informed decisions in the course of their work.
No. According to the legal opinion provided to FieldWatch, “So long as an applicator follows label directions for measures related to avoiding drift, as well as any statutes or regulations related to avoiding drift, an applicators failure to use DriftWatch* should not be stand-alone basis to establish a claim for negligence or gross negligence.” As an informational tool, FieldWatch may help an applicator make a more informed decision, and therefore, avoid a drift incident, reduce claims and overall liability. However, the liability related to any single incident remains the same.

*DriftWatch is now called FieldWatch.

No. Based on prevailing case law, legal opinion provided to FieldWatch suggests there is not a “higher standard of care beyond a duty of care framed by a pesticide’s label instructions and statutes/regulations related to drift avoidance.”
No. It is the responsibility of the applicator to avoid drift; and the liability associated with any incidence is the same whether or not FieldWatch is used. However, “an applicator may effectively argue its use of DriftWatch* prior to application is evidence, as part of broader evidentiary showing of due care… that the applicator met the standard of care,” and was not negligent by having used information at his/her disposal to make a proper application.

*DriftWatch is now called FieldWatch.