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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2 thoughts on “Ontario Federation of Agriculture Clarifies Its Position on Neonic Regulations

  1. Adaptation from Martin Niemöller:

    First they came for the lawn pesticides, and I did not speak out—
    Because I didn’t use them.

    And then they restricted the use of herbicides, and I did not speak out–
    Because I could always get a licence.

    Then they came with the wind turbines, and I did not speak out—
    Because I did not sign a lease.

    Then they came for the neonics, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was too busy.

    And then they taxed me for my greenhouse gas emissions–
    Even though it was to produce their food.

    Then they came for my fertilizer—and there was no future left for my farm.

  2. Exactly, Lynne.
    The farm organizations are in bed with the government because the membership tolerates it. Nobody gets angry, nobody protests in a meaningful way, everybody just lays down in the long grass and hopes they won’t get picked off.

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