GUELPH, ON (May 4, 2015) – The Government of Ontario has refused to extend the public comment period on the proposed seed treatment regulations aimed at banning neonicotinoids.
The public comment period closes on May 7, 2015, which is the most important day for corn planting in Ontario, as stated on the Ministry of Agriculture's website, as well as key planting time for soybeans.
“The decision to not grant an extension makes it very clear that farmers in Ontario are not being considered,” says Barry Senft, CEO of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “The government appears happy to shut out rural voices and only listen to the urban voters who elected them, when making policy decisions for rural Ontario.”
Minister Glen Murray is allowing special interest groups to determine the fate and livelihood of Ontario's $9 billion grain industry, while farmers are working hard to ensure crops are planted at the right time to feed and fuel Ontario.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change provided 60 days in December 2014 for a consultation period relating to the proposed neonicotinoid ban, and despite 'record breaking' interest in the topic, has cut the consultation time frame down 25% and scheduled consultations for exactly the wrong time of the year for the key stakeholders – farmers.
“The rush to implement these dubious regulations is completely driven by wedge-politics and cannot be seriously expected to protect pollinators to the extent the government is claiming,” says Mark Brock, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “We are frustrated because we want to work with them on solving the challenges facing pollinators, but instead they seem totally focused on attacking our industry on behalf of agenda-driven anti-agriculture groups.”
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.