The Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) could consider leaving the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) because of the latter’s stance during the neonic battle.
At its semi-annual meeting Sept. 22, the GFO tabled a resolution to withdraw its membership in Ontario’s largest farm lobby group. The resolution was not voted on but could be debated at the group’s next meeting in March 2016.
GFO chair Mark Brock said the resolution came from a delegate group, not from the GFO board. He said farmers perceive the OFA as helping the provincial government make the neonic regulations workable, when many farmers find the regulations unworkable.
“It’s fair to say there’s been differing opinions on how to go forward with this neonic regulation in terms of working with government, or in our case, challenging the government in court,” he said.
Provincial regulations came into effect July 1 requiring farmers to get pest assessments before being allowed to use neonic-treated corn and soybean seed on more than 50 per cent of their fields next year. Farmers will need a pest assessment on all fields that use neonics starting in 2017. The province wants to reduce the insecticide-treated seeds used on most corn and soybean fields, arguing that neonics kill honeybees. The GFO argues that the province is giving in to emotionalism and is short on science, as it is cherry-picking studies while ignoring at least six other bee stressors.