The Grain Farmers of Ontario has announced it will not participate in the Ontario government’s public consultation meetings being held in London, Toronto, and Kingston, beginning next week. The meetings are part of what the Ontario government is calling the consultation process on what final regulations regarding access to and use of neonicotinoid seed treatments will look like for 2016.
GFO says it will, however, participate in one consultation forum around the proposed regulation to reduce neonicotinoid seed treatment use by 80%, being held this month specifically for the agricultural industry. At this venue, GFO says, the grower group will explain the “numerous concerns around the proposed restriction and within the consultation document,” put forward by the province.
The grower group has also released a statement advising farmer members to refrain from participation at the above-named meetings. Grain Farmers of Ontario says it does not feel that a public forum provides an opportunity for professional and reasonable discussion on this complex issue.
“As farmers and primary stakeholders in this regulation, it is not appropriate for the government to receive our input in public forums – our input is far too important to be diluted at urban venues by non-stakeholders,” says a GFO release. “We have been advised by the government that the goal of the consultation process is not to achieve the greatest number of attendees, but rather to hear informed and insightful responses. Grain Farmers of Ontario will provide a fulsome, professional response at the consultation forum for the agricultural industry.’
The group adds that information for farmers, including key messages and a pre-written letter to the Ontario government, are available at www.gfo.ca, and that “there are several opportunities for farmer members to get involved in the consultation process, without attending public forums, and we encourage your participation and support in these activities.” Farmers are asked to contact their local Grain Farmers of Ontario district director for more information.