Corn and soybean growers in Ontario know that neonicotinoid-containing seed treatments are under close scrutiny by the public and by the provincial government. When provincial department mandate letters were sent out in September, Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne called for a “meaningful reduction” in neonic use by 2015.
As the clock runs down to the end of November, farmers have to pull the trigger on 2015 corn hybrid choices and seed treatment offerings — will there be regulatory changes regarding neonic access prior to planting in next spring?
According to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the goal for 2015 is to “identify tangible ways to reduce use” of neonics, including increasing “public awareness and best management practices.”
The plan for 2016, however, as outlined in the Mandate Letter, is to have a system in place that requires a reduction in the use of seeds treated with neonicotinoids for the 2016 planting season, OMAFRA says.
The department says there will be opportunities for public input and consultation regarding this requirement; specific details of the consultation process are not yet available.
Jeff Leal, minister of OMAFRA, says the government is “committed to developing a system that requires the targeted use of seeds treated with neonicotinoids.” This system will be in place for July 1st, 2015, giving farmers enough time to transition for the 2016 planting season, Leal says.
“There is no question the issue of bee health and neonicotinoid pesticides is important for all who are involved in, and who depend upon, agriculture in Ontario. Our government remains committed to finding a balanced approach that addresses the important role of our pollinators and our agri-food industry, and protects the health of our environment,” says Leal.
Leal adds, “I look forward to continue working collaboratively with our partners as we move towards a balanced, practical position that protects our environment, supports bee health and helps Ontario’s vital agri-food industry continue to grow.”
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