GUELPH, ON (July 7, 2014) – Grain Farmers of Ontario is extremely disappointed to have read yesterday’s media statement that Ontario’s newly appointed Minister of Agriculture intends to make this province the first in Canada to restrict the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.
The Ontario grain industry has committed extensive resources over the past two years to mitigate the risk to bees. Many of these initiatives have been launched and put into practice this growing season and the results of ongoing research projects and in-field practices will be paramount in determining any future regulatory decisions. It is counterintuitive to implement a regulatory change without the completion of this research and trials.
“The effort and leadership grain farmers have demonstrated on this issue has been second to none, and to have this discounted with such a rash move and announcement through media, is frankly insulting,” says Henry Van Ankum, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “Farmers across the countryside have modified their equipment, are participating in field trials, are using the new mandatory fluency agent which has proven successful, and have forged good, open communications with many beekeepers — we have a lot to share with Minister Leal and have not yet had the opportunity.”
The move Minister Leal is proposing is a move against Canada’s science based regulatory system. Ironically, on July 3rd, Minister Leal sent a letter to Grain Farmers of Ontario for publication in the Ontario Grain Farmer magazine stating “we must continue to ensure decisions are balanced and based in science”. Naturally, the organization is confused by these contradictory messages, only days apart.
Further, farmers across the province are shocked by the manner this announcement was made. Grain farmers have demonstrated their cooperation with government on this issue since 2012 and have had a positive working relationship with those involved in the bee health file. Grain Farmers of Ontario is extremely disappointed that Minister Leal did not take the time to consult the organization as there will be negative financial impact to Ontario’s corn and soybean farmers and the grain industry as a whole.
Grain Farmers of Ontario has always had a good working relationship with the Minister of Agriculture and we hope that this continues in the future. This is not a good start — our organization believes in an open and collaborative approach and we encourage this government to work cooperatively with us as we move forward.
Grain Farmers of Ontario
Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, 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.