From a Release
Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) fully recognize that a sustainable agriculture sector hinges on a healthy and robust pollinator population. However, to move the agricultural sector forward in a supportive way, choices that further restrict use of neonicotinoid treated seed must be made in ways that build on the good will that Ontario farmers have demonstrated in applying best practices, and assure a productive and profitable sector going forward.
OSCIA solidly supports best practices developed in response to science. Research findings from the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), combined with actions of crop specialists with OMAFRA, have certainly informed producers, and spurred OSCIA to partner with University of Guelph in 2014 to launch a three-year investigation involving up to 100 side-by-side trials across the province to test at each farm the same corn hybrid with and without insecticide seed treatment. The project will be expanded in 2015 with more plots and the addition of soybean varieties. These trials, combined with the valuable educational resources generated through OMAFRA to help assess fields for early season insect risk factors, provide substantial opportunity for producers to learn, understand and apply superior Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Further advancements are evident with the introduction of new fluency agents and the availability of deflectors that could be retrofitted on pneumatic planters. Meaningful progress has been made.
We are actively supporting research into the risks associated with neonicotinoid treated seed by aligning with work being carried out by the University, OMAFRA and the Pollinator Partnership (based in the U.S.A.). The right actions can only be determined once the findings from these and other current investigations are reported.
We are disappointed with the recent direction taken by the Province of Ontario that does not put stewardship first, but instead takes aim to exercise severe and complex regulation, seemingly with disregard for the permitted use supported federally by PMRA. Ontario producers deserve greater consideration. Having producers willingly onside with government policy through the adoption of proven best practices based on sound science is the route OSCIA advocates.