By Tom Collins
GUELPH The Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) is so annoyed with the province of Ontario that it has boycotted the provincial meetings on neonicotinoids and set up its own task force and its own meetings. The GFO will announce in February its alternatives to the provinces decision to reduce neonics in Ontario by 80 per cent by 2017.
The GFO is receiving feedback at annual district meetings across Ontario and has been holding invitation-only meetings of its pollinator task force that include GFO members, commercial beekeepers and industry members, such as seed trade representatives. Ag Minister Jeff Leal was not invited.
Ag Minister Leal has been encouraging farmers to go to the provincial meetings but GFO chairman Henry Van Ankum is not impressed.
“We saw little value in attending the consultation sessions and trying to suggest tweaks to a proposal that is so wrong at its core,” Van Ankum says. “It just doesnt seem workable in any way to us. Its absolutely critical that we continue to try and find a different approach in this area.”
Van Ankum says he hopes common sense prevails.
“Im always hopeful the government we elected in this province would take the time to consider the needs and the interests of such a good industry in the province as the grain sector is. Im hopeful a little more common sense would prevail within the government and they would see the shortfalls of the path theyre on with their proposed legislation and consider listening to the industry. It seems to me the best solutions are most often brought forward from an industry and not dictated down by the government in power.”
About 100 of Canadas more than 8,000 beekeepers launched a $450-million lawsuit against the makers of the neonic-treated seeds, which includes almost all corn and soybean seeds used in Ontario.