Use of Manipulator on the 2016 Ontario Wheat Crop

Joint statement from Grain Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Agri Business Association

GUELPH, ON (February 19, 2016) – Over the past several weeks, Grain Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Agri Business Association (OABA) have been involved in a broad industry discussion regarding the serious implications of using Manipulator™ (chlormequat chloride) as a growth regulator on the 2016 Ontario wheat crop. With particular emphasis on the fact that Manipulator™ has not yet received approval for use in the United States, OABA and Grain Farmers of Ontario have liaised with Ontario flour millers, wheat exporters, and Engage Agro (the Canadian distributor for Manipulator™) to discuss the implications of using this product on the 2016 Ontario wheat crop.

It is essential that all industry supply chain participants (including growers, ag-retailers, country grain elevators, terminal grain elevators, feed mills, flour mills, etc.) are fully aware of the following facts.

  • Manipulator™ is a plant growth regulator for use in wheat.
  • Manipulator™ is approved for use in Canada and the European Union on cereals, but approval has NOT yet been obtained for use of the product in the United States.
  • Without product approval, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently has a zero tolerance for any residues of the product (active ingredient).
  • Many Ontario country and terminal grain elevators have already established policies confirming that they will not be accepting wheat that has been treated with Manipulator™. OABA encourages all OABA ag-retail, grain elevator, and feed manufacturing members to communicate the seriousness of this situation with wheat growing customers.
  • Ontario flour millers (P&H Milling Group, ADM Milling, and Ardent Mills) have formally issued letters to suppliers that they will not accept wheat that has been treated with Manipulator™ (chlormequat chloride).
  • Grain Farmers of Ontario encourages Ontario farmers NOT to use Manipulator™ on the 2016 Ontario wheat crop due to the inherent market risk.

OABA and Grain Farmers of Ontario recommend that ag-retailers and grain elevators communicate with wheat growers the serious consequences associated with the application of Manipulator™ on the 2016 wheat crop, and that all members of the wheat supply chain ensure that Manipulator™ is NOT used on the 2016 Ontario wheat crop.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Letter to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

January 15, 2016

Dear Dr. Dianne Saxe, Environmental Commissioner,

I am writing you on behalf of the 28,000 grain and oilseed farmers that Grain Farmers of Ontario represents. We would like to request a meeting in the next couple of weeks to provide you with an overview of our industry and information about the commitment to the environment and stewardship practiced by our farmer-members.

We would also like to specifically address the comments we have seen in the media this week from your office. We firmly believe in education and collaboration. It is easy to have misconceptions – the best way to ensure that we understand your priorities for the environment and our business, as well as for you to understand our sector, is to sit down and share ideas and information.

Ontario grain and oilseed farmers grow barley, corn, oats, soybeans, and wheat and the end products made from our crops are used to feed people, provide environmentally sustainable alternatives to products traditionally produced from fossil fuels, and feed animals. The grain farming sector is a major contributor to the Ontario economy and the environment in many very positive ways. Grain farmers are stewards of both their productive and non-productive farmland. There are many wetlands and other environmentally beneficial spaces created by farmers and there are a number of ways that both farmland and farmers contribute to a sustainable Ontario environment.

I have been travelling across the province over the past week and farmers from all regions are alarmed by comments they have read in the media about coloured diesel, coming from your office. Agriculture consumes only three percent of all diesel used in Ontario. The amount of diesel used by grain farmers has steadily declined over the years as the result of improved efficiencies in farming practices (reducing machinery passes on fields) and improved fuel efficiencies in farm vehicles and machinery. The road tax exemption for coloured diesel has been in place for farmers across North America for many years, because farm machinery is not intended for use on roads. It is also important to note that Ontario grain farmers are price takers, as grain is traded on a global market – we compete directly with US farmers in the Great Lakes Basin who have significantly lower production costs.

The road tax exemption is important for Ontario grain farmers, as well as many other sectors of agriculture across the province. I look forward to discussing this, and more, with you in the near future.

Debra Conlon from our office will be in touch to schedule a meeting.

Sincerely,

Mark Brock
Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.