Members for the common good, a suite of tools, and MRLs — LIVE! with Pierre Petelle


Between biotech and technology issues, monitoring regulatory work being done, and managing activist pressure, a lot of things happen in the background of the crop protection industry. CropLife Canada does much of that important work behind the scenes that isn’t necessarily thought about every day on the farm.

Joining us for today’s RealAg LIVE is Pierre Petelle, CEO of CropLife Canada. Watch below and learn about the importance of MRLs, fact checking, trait approvals and so much more!

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  • CropLife Canada is a trade association that represents the plant science industry — crop protection products, companies with traits, and more
  • There are issues that are common to all of CropLife Canada’s members
  • Lots of disconnect between the buyers of products and the growers — CropLife Canada works to dispel myths that arise, grounded in sound science
  • Members are fierce competitors. Lots of intellectual property and millions of dollars in research, yet members come together for the common good.
  • Canada isn’t the biggest market for crop protection products (about 4 per cent marketshare for pesticides), but it’s still a good market and an important one
  • Biotech and gene editing has progressed, Canada’s regulatory environment hasn’t quite kept up.
  • EPA and PMRA work together for joint reviews on active ingredients. Timing might be off, but applications come in at the same time. Canada-U.S. approach has been a global model, says Petelle.
  • For biotech, the work-sharing between the two countries isn’t quite the same
  • Nobel Peace Prize for CRISPR technique, gene editing isn’t approved everywhere in the world.
  • “Product, not process.” It’s the trait change that matters, not how you got there. But public perception makes the process matter more and more.
  • Neonicotinoids, PMRA update? Pollinator, aquatic insect, more parts of the ecosystem to be examined.
  • Hats off to Canola Council and Ducks Unlimited for providing aquatic insect data to the PMRA
  • Products get reviewed and CropLife Canada is optimistic about the ways PMRA will be changing the review process
  • Dicamba, very controversial in the U.S., not the same levels of drift in Canada. Over-the-top registration is under special review by the PMRA. Here, it’s registered until it’s not.
  • A suite of tools are needed in agriculture: old tech, new tech, bio-pesticides, synthetics
  • Pressure felt from activists is different in Canada, Eco Justice, funded by David Suzuki Foundation, uses the courts now (instead of suing, as in the U.S.)
  • One day you’re legally spraying something, overnight you’re non-compliant
  • Maximum residue limits (or non-existent ones), a.k.a MRLs, the challenge is the unpredictability of markets
  • Who negotiates the MRL? Responsibility lies with trait or tech owner
  • Project that recently wrapped up, spoke directly to the end consumer about agriculture using products, results were positive
  • PERCY, the name Monsanto is “like a dog whistle” that gets a visceral reaction in the activist community
  • COVID-19 affect on CropLife Canada members? Supply chain got figured out in the spring. Regulators and government in general had a couple months to get used to working from home. For the most part, back on track.

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