Poll: Is Boycotting the Neonic Consultation Meetings the Right Move?

microphoneThe Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) have publicly asked its members not to attend next week’s government-hosted public consultation meetings. The meetings are slated for Tuesday in London, Ont., and Thursday in Toronto, to discuss the impending increased regulations required for access to neonicotinoid seed treatments.

Barry Senft, CEO of GFO, says his organization feels there’s little to be gained for farmers at these public meetings. These meetings are open to everyone, regardless of their participation in farming or beekeeping, he says, and GFO doesn’t believe these meetings are likely to involve respectful dialogue between the province and farmers.

Senft says these meetings appear to only serve as a megaphone for those who are in favour of this “tax on modern day farming,” and that three public meetings, open to all, are not likely to change the government’s path forward.

GFO has its own face-to-face meeting with the Ontario government slated for December 18th, and believes a “focused meeting will be best way to have a constructive conversation” about impending neonic regulation. Senft adds that Ontario farmers have met every goal set out by the government to show adoption and use of best management practices, and are “concerned and disappointed” that the government is still pushing forward with this “80% reduction in acres by 2017” goal.

 

Lyndsey Smith

Lyndsey Smith is a field editor for RealAgriculture. A self-proclaimed agnerd, Lyndsey is passionate about all things farming but is especially thrilled by agronomy and livestock production.

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6 Comments

Viren D'souza

With the way our society, mainstream media and consumer perceptions function today, we cannot just sit back and “hope” that our voices will be heard.
It’s been shown, through this entire issue, that seemingly the loudest voice gets heard, and that is where agriculture needs to stand today.

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Charlene

My experience is although we probably will not change the way this one goes it is essential that we show our faces, show we care and show we don’t have horns or handle bar mustaches we twirl while cackling evilly. Or at least that we can file the horns and shave the mustache after Nov. 30th (wink, wink). If we are present it is much harder to be demonized than if we boycott. Remember the general public will not know we are boycotting all they will see is we aren’t there.

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John

The poll results clearly show that GFO has dropped the ball once again. With their high check-offs and bloated salaries (Senft makes over $300,000. a year, the chair over $40,000.) surely they could do better than act like a spoiled kid that didn’t get what it wanted. Now after kissing this Government’s butt ever since they came to power they are protesting! Grow up GFO!

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kevin

John if Mr. Senft is paid $300,000 a year it explains his enthusiiasim for GFO . Neonics ,like pesticides needs to be targeted were they are needed most and the seed companies should step up and explain there uses and needs and if every area or crop really needs it. All society should attend these meetings ,GFO members included and say your piece and hopefully the ones holding the hearings will be able to come to reasonable conclusions

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Philip Shaw

I support GFO boycotting these meetings for the specific reasons they give. IMO, it’s a bit of a weak effort by government to legitimize their policy shift, not wasting our resources to attend seems enlightened to me. Neonics is an issue in Ontario agriculture, but far from the most important.

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Susan

For the last two years, GFO staff, executive and board members have dedicated hundreds of hours consulting on this issue with various stakeholders and politicians at all levels of government across the province. They have been more than accommodating with these meetings, taking time from their own farms during planting and harvest seasons to represent the needs of grain farmers across this province.
My conclusion? The gov’t wasn’t listening or just doesn’t care!

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