by BETTER FARMING STAFF
The Ontario Superior Court has denied Grain Farmers of Ontario’s request for a stay of a law that requires farmers to greatly restrict the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments next spring.
In a written statement released late afternoon Friday, Mark Brock, Grain Farmers of Ontario’s chairman, expressed disappointment at the judge’s ruling which had been reserved following a hearing on an application made in court on Sept. 28. Brock, who farms near Staffa in Perth County, says the 28,000 member organization “has not conceded on this matter,” and is considering further legal options. Farmers are in a difficult situation as they order seed this fall for planting in the spring, Brock says. Arrangements must be made now with seed dealers to either treat or not treat the ordered seed which is delivered shortly before planting in the spring.
The widespread use of neonicotinoid seed treatments in recent years has been blamed for high losses in hives in overwintering bees. Beekeepers have called for a ban on use of the seed treatments. The regulations that Grain Farmers is fighting came into effect on July 1. Better Farming was unable to reach the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change was not able to respond Friday.
UPDATE: Oct. 24, 2015
"We are pleased the court has ruled in favour of the government's actions to improve pollinator health," writes Kate Jordan, spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, in an email. "The new requirements support the government of Ontario’s target to reduce the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed by 80 per cent by 2017.
"These rules will be phased in to give farmers and seed vendors time to adapt. Government funded training is also available to farmers through to September 2016." BF