Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ontario aims to cut neonicitinoid use by 80 per cent

Ontario’s agriculture and environment ministers announced a goal of reducing neonicitinoid use by 80 per cent by 2016.

They hope to achieve that goal by reducing the number of corn and soybean acres planted with neonicitinoid seed treatments.

Farmers find neonicitinoids effective in controlling worms and bugs that attack their crops.

When they were introduced with federal government approval, they were considered far safer than the pesticides farmers had been using.

They have, however, become the target of people worried about bee mortality rates.

Experts researching the reasons for bee death rates say there are many factors, but agree that neonicitinoids do play a role.

Ontario’s goal includes reducing bee mortality rates to 15 per cent by 2020. There is no mention of the other factors, such as the nutritional health of bee colonies, in the government’s news release which contains pictures of Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal and Environment Minister Glen Murray.

Neither one knows a whole lot about farming or beekeeping, but both know a lot about politics.

The news release says the government will consult with farm organizations and other stakeholders until July 1, 2015, which means nothing will happen for the upcoming planting season.

Corn and soybean growers have said they need clarity about regulations as soon as possible because they are ordering seeds now, hoping to get some of the most popular varieties before supplies run out.