From Grain Farmers of Ontario website
GUELPH, ON – Grain Farmers of Ontario is confounded by today’s announcement by the government to reduce neonicotinoid use by 80% by 2017. The announcement flies in the face of numerous efforts and investments made by grain farmers across the province over the past two years to mitigate risks to bee health.
“This new regulation is unfounded, impractical, and unrealistic and the government does not know how to implement it,” says Henry Van Ankum, Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “With this announcement, agriculture and rural Ontario has been put on notice – the popular vote trumps science and practicality.”
Grain Farmers of Ontario has invested in ongoing multi-year research projects to mitigate risks to bee health associated with neonicotinoids. In 2014, all 28,000 grain farmers across the province followed new best management practices and utilized a new fluency agent to minimize possible seed treatment exposure to bees. This year, 70% less bee deaths were reported.
“A reduction at this level puts our farmers at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the country and the rest of the North America,” says Barry Senft, CEO of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “It will mean smaller margins for grain farmers and could signal the transition away from family farms to large multinational farming operations that can sustain lower margins.”
Grain Farmers of Ontario has expressed its concerns over these regulations at all levels of government in recent meetings. A restriction at the 80% level is comparable to a total ban on the product, which the Conference Board of Canada estimates will cost Ontario farmers more than $630 million annually in lost revenue.
“At a time when the government is calling for more jobs, this is a step in the wrong direction,” says Van Ankum. “Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency continues to license this product for the country and Ontario is now being forced to operate in isolation at an enormous competitive disadvantage – the livelihoods of countless farmers are in jeopardy.”