Jeff Leal, Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, will meet with the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) on March 26th, 2015. The minister’s office says this is to meet with new GFO chair Mark Brock. This meeting follows shortly after the release of the producer group’s Pollinator Health Blueprint. The GFO’s blueprint is provided as an alternative to the government’s own proposed regulations, the producer group says, regulations that aim to regulate and reduce neonicotinoid seed treatments used on corn and soybeans in Ontario.
Public consultation on the provincial government’s “Pollinator Health Action Plan” closed in late January, and received almost 52,000 written submissions, says OMAFRA. The government now will create the regulations that will come into effect as of July 1, 2015.
However, there will be another opportunity for consultation, once the proposed regulation is made public in the coming weeks, says Leal.
“I encourage all in the agricultural community to continue providing feedback as we move forward. As Minister, I will continue to advocate for policy that improves the health of Ontario’s pollinators, while supporting the growth of the agri-food sector,” Leal says in an emailed statement.
Grain Farmers of Ontario is pleased that the minister will meet with grain farmer representatives to review and discuss the Ontario Pollinator Health Blueprint, says GFO.
GFO’s Pollinator Health Blueprint was developed by the Pollinator Task Force — comprised of beekeepers, farmers, and others in the value chain and focuses on five key areas of pollinator health:
- Habitat and nutrition;
- Pesticide exposure;
- Diseases and parasites;
- Communication between beekeepers and farmers, and;
- Verification and collection protocols for insects.