Ontario Federation of Agriculture Clarifies Its Position on Neonic Regulations


The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has come under fire this week for its apparent support of the Ontario government’s near-ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments for corn and soybean.

Don McCabeDon McCabe, president of OFA, says that while the regulations are not perfect, the lobby organization is the only one “still at the table” with government, and will continue to work closely with Wynne’s Liberals through the implementation phase of what many in agriculture have called “unworkable” regulations.

What’s caused plenty of anger within the Ontario farming community is a quote, included in the Ontario government’s release, that appears to show OFA as supportive of the new regs:

“Farmers care about the health of pollinators. That’s why the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has worked closely with the Government of Ontario to have these new regulatory requirements work for the province’s farmers. The OFA supports the need for a complete pollinator policy. The OFA will continue to work with the government toward the successful implementation of this regulation, keeping the concerns of farmers top of mind as part of a pollinator strategy.” Don McCabe, president, Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

This more-supportive statement is a departure from OFA’s comments submitted to the regulatory consultation process, but McCabe points out that the quote stresses the need for a broader focus on a pollinator health policy — not just restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids.

Real Agriculture editor, Lyndsey Smith, spoke with McCabe to ask what OFA has been doing behind the scenes, if the group supports the new neonic regulations, and what OFA’s role looks like going forward.

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