By Tom Collins
LAMBTON The new president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) says the provinces announcement to reduce neonicotinoid use by 80 per cent by 2017 is the groups top priority.
“This is an example of premature regulatory decision making,” says Lambton-area cash crop farmer Don McCabe, who was elected OFA president on Nov. 24, just one day before the provincial announcement. “There are many theories and there is evidence to suggest pollinator health is impacted by a combination of several factors. However, while intending to carefully evaluate and address all of these impacts on bee health, the Ontario government has singled out one of the potential factors and proposes to establish regulations on it.
“OFA will take a hard look at the issue around regulatory impact on our farms,” he says. “And we have to ensure that any regulatory impact that comes to our farms is based on good science and that it is needed regulation. And if it is not, then theres no need for it. Because at the end of the day, we have to remain competitive in a global environment.”
McCabe, a former vice-president of the OFA, is a no-till corn, soybean, and wheat farmer and an advocate for environmental farm stewardship, with a doctorate-level education in soil genesis and classification from the University of Guelph and a University of Western Ontario chemistry degree.
McCabe beat out three candidates for president: Eastern Ontarios Debra Pretty-Straathof, Collingwoods Keith Currie, and incumbent Mark Wales.
The two vice-presidents are Currie and Thunder Bay-area dairy farmer Peggy Brekveld.