Ontario won’t widen comment window on neonics: GFO

The public comment period on Ontario’s planned regulations for neonicotinoid seed treatments will close Thursday as scheduled, despite requests from the province’s grain grower group for an extension.

The province has “refused” to extend the public comment period on the use of the insecticide group in seed treatments, Grain Farmers of Ontario said in a release Monday.

“The decision to not grant an extension makes it very clear that farmers in Ontario are not being considered,” GFO CEO Barry Senft said in the release.

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With planting season underway, GFO last week asked the province to extend the comment period until June 30, Agricorp’s final seeding deadline for insurable crops in Ontario.

The group, in its release Monday, accused Environment Minister Glen Murray of “allowing special interest groups to determine the fate and livelihood of Ontario’s $9 billion grain industry, while farmers are working hard to ensure crops are planted at the right time to feed and fuel Ontario.”

“The rush to implement these dubious regulations is completely driven by wedge-politics and cannot be seriously expected to protect pollinators to the extent the government is claiming,” GFO chairman Mark Brock said in the same release.

The proposed rules, beyond the 2016 planting season, would require a corn or soy grower to pass pest management training and request a field pest assessment proving a field infestation before he or she may order neonic-treated corn or soybean seed.

The province has said its plan is meant to “contribute to reducing a major stressor on pollinators” such as bees “and other vulnerable species.”

The environment ministry plans to move forward with its regulations before July 1, which GFO said would be a “record fast decision” for the ministry compared to similar decisions. — AGCanada.com Network

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