The following is the text of a recent letter from Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) chair Mark Brock to Ontario Premiere Kathleen Wynne:
As you are aware, your government is moving forward with regulations that are intended to reduce the use of neonicotinoid treated seeds, specifically used by corn and soybean farmers in Ontario.
Grain Farmers of Ontario has repeatedly made clear the position of Ontario’s corn and soybean farmers on this issue and has met great resistance within government to addressing our concerns.
We were shocked to see that your Minister of Environment and Climate Change believed that marginalizing the commodity group that represents impacted growers, and instead consulting with a general farm organization that represents both sides of the issue, was a suitable workaround to addressing our concerns.
As Chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario, the province’s largest commodity organization, representing 28,000 corn, soybean, and wheat farmers, I must remind you that we are the voice on issues related to our commodities.
We are not aware of any efforts by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) to meaningfully or credibly consult with Grain Farmers of Ontario organizationally, or with individual Ontario grain farmers, prior to speaking on our behalf.
Based on the Ministry’s handling of the file and the use of the OFA as an endorser of this deeply flawed policy, we are left to believe the decision to work with the OFA, instead of the rightful voice of grain farmers in Ontario, was a deliberate attempt to claim support from agriculture that does not really exist.
In the future, we insist that the province works with impacted commodity groups as primary stakeholders for agriculture pertaining to their commodity interests, instead of general farm organizations, which in this case represent both sides of this issue.
Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario