Wynne wants quick review of neonicotinoid seed treatments

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According to the government of Ontario, a bee health working group is being formed to make recommendations on how to mitigate the potential risk of certain neonicotinoid insecticides to honey bees. THIS IS A DECEPTION ! This government has already arbitrarily imposed malicious prohibition against the use of pest control products in the urban landscape. PROHIBITION DESTROYED THE PROFESSIONAL LAWN CARE INDUSTRY. http://wp.me/P1jq40-43B With this bee health working group, Ontario is merely looking for so-called experts who agree with them as they seek arbitrary and ineffectual prohibition against neonicotinoid insecticides. This working group will serve as a prelude to prohibition since it will be infested with anti-pesticide activists from organizations such as Sierra Club of Canada. The group will comprise bee-keepers, farmers, people in agri-business and scientists as well as staff from federal and provincial agencies. According to John Bennett of Sierra Club of Canada ... « this working group is the first real recognition of the [ false allegations of the ] impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees ». Bennett merely seeks to invalidate the work of Health Canada. In fact, Health Canada has the essential expertise on pest control products, and not sierra club, and not John Bennett. Sierra club operates as a mere fund-raising, profit-seeking, and lobbying organization, and it is not a science, research, or health organization.

Post modified by editor

I am not sure where you were going when your post was edited but I am sure that the manipulation of fact perpetrated on agriculture and rural Ont for perceived political expediency to accomplish the self serving interests of the Sierra club, Trillium group Environmental Defense (including their illegitimate half sister "friends of the greenbelt" and others have not been above reproach or question when asked for accountability of public funds.

The unhealthy alliance between government, MNR, conservation, and now their newest affair with green energy is often without long-term economic scrutiny or scientific analysis and usually void of common scene.

The evidence of the cosmetic spray ban is manifesting itself as an un-kept urban waist land. With 23 species listed on the noxious weed list it is only a matter of time before someone will notice, urban municipalities are in violation of the provincial weed act.

BF does not always print what should be said or questioned. Keep posting. We may not always agree but without debate and a new view we will always insanely follow unquestioned leadership.

Perhaps you should find a local large beekeeper and go with him to his bee yards when he opens hives where there are crops treated with neonics surrounding them. You can see for yourself what the beekeeper is encountering.
The evidence is incontrovertible, when hives which have come out of the winter in perfect shape, been treated properly for mites, then had these corps planted in front of then start acting strangely. first they don't behave normally, that indicates a nervous system problem. Then over time and particularly when there has been a heavy rain (so they gather water from the field soil rather than fly a distance to a pond, though even the pond could be contaminated by runoff) they seem to stop gathering nectar entirely, and the hive starts using what little is stored in previously stored to survive.
The field bees have been exposed to something that has disrupted their programmed gathering behaviour. The hive continues to need to be fed, however so they eat what is IN the hive, since the bees in the hive who haven't been in the field still follow their instincts and raise more bees to gather , and have to feed the larvae.
They will starve out pretty quickly when the field bees do not forage.
On top of that as the minute bits of neonics that do get in build up the queen starts to behave oddly, either producing too many young or not enough. She doesn't control the hive normally and that contributes to the problem.
None of it is simple. The overriding evidence is proximity to neonics.
Only a complete ban can even begin to show if the problem will go away, because it takes so long for it to break down in the environment.
Beekeepers, and farmers who pay attention to the big picture have to be aware of the problem.

While the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) claims to want to work with beekeepers, sending cards to GFO members sugesting they ask lawmakers to not impose a ban on these products, would clearly seem to not just invalidate that claim, but also poke a sharp stick in the eye of beekeepers - and it seems to have done just that, because of the response by Dan Davidson, President of the Ontario Beekeepers Association, to the effect that instead of sending out postcards, GFO would, instead, be better served by educating its members
People should also be leery of the claim by GFO that this issue should be guided by "science" because that's exactly the claim GFO used to support ethanol, while completely avoiding economics.
And, to not belabour the point, this division is no different, and no less visceral, than the division which already exists between grain and livestock farmers over ethanol, and between supply managed farmers and everyone else, over tariffs.
Peaceful co-existence, while always an elusive goal, seems to have no place any more in Ontario agriculture, and isn't likely to do so soon, if ever, as long as people defend their legislated advantages, seemingly without either mercy, or quarter.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

GFO's actions were a direct response to OBA's actions. While OBA agreed to work together, they followed that agreement by sending out a petition to all of their members. Do you blame GFO for taking action? I don't. Good for them!
GFO is working with OMAF, doing intensive research on bee deaths as we speak. While bee deaths are disturbing, knee-jerk reactions are not the answer. We should know this by now. It's comments like Stephen Thompson's that drive us further apart. If you're concerned about Ontario agriculture's ability to work together and 'peaceful co-existence' then you should think before you leave comments like the one above. They don't help.

Very-little could have been more knee-jerk, and more-divisive, than the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) taking out a full-page ad in a major Canadian newspaper a year, or so, ago to denounce a George Morris Centre report which, entirely consistent with basic economic principles, detailed the adverse effects that ethanol mandates have had on Ontario livestock farmers.
In addition, equally as knee-jerk, and divisive, (as well as a complete waste of my check-off fees) was a consultant report commissioned by GFO which concluded that since the adjusted basis for corn hadn't changed since ethanol mandates were established in Ontario, ethanol hadn't harmed livestock feeders - while, all at the same time, studiously ignoring the basic truth that if a no-change-in basis meant that ethanol hadn't harmed livestock feeders, it also meant that ethanol hadn't helped grains farmers, a patently-obvious conclusion that GFO, in it's divisive zeal, had clearly tried to avoid.
Thirdly, equally as divisive and disturbing was the so-called Daynard study commissioned by GFO which completely ignored the basic economic truth that anything, which like ethanol, is dependent on mandates, is always net-negative for jobs and economic activity.
When it comes to making disturbing comments, making knee-jerk reactions, and making concerted efforts to drive farmers apart, and then trying to be sanctimonious about it all, is being little more than "a wolf in sheep's clothing", and, when it comes to this type of advocacy, the GFO takes a back seat to nobody.
Therefore, there is good reason to be disturbed when GFO tries to "whitewash" themselves, because, based on GFO's track record of zealous over-advocacy when it comes to ethanol, there's no reason why they should be believed to have much, if any, objectivity in this issue either.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Bee-keepers want a complete ban on neonicotinoid treated seed for 2014, how excatly is that working with the GFO, its the old " you give what you get."
Although the Bee-keepers don't want to discuss it,l think its pretty common knowledge that there are more area's of concern when it comes to Bee deaths than just pointing fingers in one direction.They have to get their own houses in order first!

Don't make comments you know nothing about. Beekeepers have pretty much controlled the mite problems they have, no different than othe livestock producers, however even if your cattle are vaccinated and wormed, if the guy up stream is leaching poison in to the water, your cattle Will die off.
In a nutshell that is what commercial beekeepers are facing.
In addition the fact that the neonics are damaging at phenomenally low levels, when tested, ANY neonic showing up in bee deaths is an unavoidable sign that it is a potential culprit.

Please explain why the bee deaths on Vancouver island where there is little to no corn or soybean grown (save garden variety) the bee deaths are just as profound and equally unexplained. It is this type of disconnect with no scientific explanation that polarizes crop production farmers and bee keepers on this subject.

In a previous post the bees were described as too stupid to know they should have been out harvesting. They may have become aware of societal change, equal rights, and equal pay for equal work. Now they are holding out for better pay and working conditions.

Point being you have no sound science as a solid explanation beyond bees are dying in varying circumstances and different areas. That wont sell as science based or convincing PR

"Please explain why the bee deaths on Vancouver island where there is little to no corn or soybean grown (save garden variety) the bee deaths are just as profound and equally unexplained. It is this type of disconnect with no scientific explanation that polarizes crop production farmers and bee keepers on this subject." Bang on. Where is the science? Guilty before the science is in is NOT the way to go. Hint: science needs to figure out the Vancouver situation first!!!!!!

PMRA is a national body and will have to look at it as a national issue . If Wynne thinks she can bully the Feds and PMRA then she is mistaken . Why then do we not have support for a fully funded RMP shared with the Feds ?

Fair question that deserves an answer .

If you own them and keep them in a colony why are they not kept confined ?
I don't seem to see a reduction in wild bees .
I mean really now how is that SM farmers can keep their livestock in a barn or on their own property but you can't ? We would not have problems with wild turkeys if they too were under supply management !

Your comment is idiocy
Honey bees need to forage over a radius of 2 miles, there is not enough for them on a small plot.
Second, How do you propose to fence them in? PR do you propose to give each an instruction sheet as they leave the hive?
You CANNOT be that silly!!
In addition, the wild bees have dropped dramatically. Where we used to see hundreds of bumblebees, its a matter of note when one is noticed.

An explanation can be undoubtedly be discovered by checking what pesticides are being used on trees, flowers in gardens etc.
Neonics use is not confined to the corn, soybean, sector. This pesticide is produced under a multitude of names for different uses, it is pervasive in the environment, no matter where you are,.

Fair point but are these presumably PMRA approved pesticides you speak of not also used in the same way in the rest of Canada? You seem to be interchanging neonics and pesticides as being the same thing. If neonic use is not confined to corn and soy why is every soy field with neonics considered a bee killing ground while horticulture is not mentioned?

Blaming corn and soy neonic farm practices use in the absence of any other criteria or even consideration of other research, is a sure recipe to cause irreparable damage to the image and unscientific credibility of bee keepers to date.

It is my observation that most bee keepers own very little land and pay very little for bee yard rent. Most farmers I have talked to are interested in the bee health issue.

The passion driven agenda of bee keepers fishing for answers while laying blame will likely get them a distant reception should there be any future hint of bee mortality blame and liability.

Emphatic postings of blame are sealing a fate for bee keepers not interested in a science based answer to the problem.

l don't believe for a second that Bee-keepers have the Mite problem under control.We can all read this stuff on the internet,your not fooling anyone!Spray's for Varroa mites are becoming ineffective...and as on Vancouver Island they then go and import Bee's from places like Chile and New Zealnd and we wonder why Bee deaths are a familiar topic around the world!!

Yes, we have the mites under control. A commercial beekeeper has the experience to know by looking at the bees on the ground outside the hive and the brood inside to know if there is a problem.
Our bees don't have a problem with mites this year, we have seen NONE, but the bees programmed behaviour is messed up. We will be lucky to even have a 30% crop this year, and its not the mites.
Your ignorance is shown by the fact that you think mites are controlled by spray.
NOT. they are controlled by either pesticide strips, rotated just like wormer in any other stock, and by fumigating with formic acid pads which the mites do not aquire resistance to. A competent beekeeper has this under control.

Sharon Overton
Creekside farm Apiaries

The reduction of yield due to loss of neonicotinoid insecticides is more than just an income issue. The market goes into a mad rush whenever the USDA moves the potential corn yield by 2 bushels, imagine what 20 bushels would do? Also, if there's less yield, there's less stuff out there in the market to feed the world. Seed treatments were supposed to be safest since the bees aren't active in the fields when they are bare, and the insecticide is in the soil not applied to the flowers as it would be if there was blanket spraying. No one wants to hurt pollinators, so we all have to work to find a solution that is positive for all of us. Here's hoping we can get creative and find a way.

If grain farmers had any concern about how a ban on this type of insecticide would reduce world food supplies, they'd have long-since called for the elimination of ethanol mandates - therefore, methinks grain farmers are trying to fearmonger/bulldoze their way through this issue in the same way they fearmongered/bulldozed so-called energy security into ethanol mandates which are of benefit only to them.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Since you claim to have done your research, perhaps you missed the fact that Honeybees get exposed to the mesticides in increasing levels by siomply gathering moisture to bring back to the hive from damp earth after a rain. If that earth contains the pesticide, which doesn't disappear for 20 years, and each year more is applied, that equals an increasing burden to gradually bring the level up in the hives.
Since it only takes parts per BILLION to kill a bee and les to damage programmed behaviour, that is a death sentence for honeybees over time.
Now since you concern yourself about los of bushels per acre, lets talk about the gradually deteriorating honey production in our honeybees. Over the last 10 years, since our bees were first affected by neonicotinoid sprayed on potatoes for beetle, our production has dropped of dramatically, and the amount of labour to keep those bees alive and productive has gone through the roof.
What is your agenda, sonny Jim? Are you really a farmer (since you don't choose to put your name to your comments?) Or are you a member of the pesticide community with an agenda?

Since these neo nics are being used as sprays, AND seed treatmtent they are pervasive and unavoidable for the bees. They are turning up in drinking water, even. I doubt that Ontario is even testing for that here, but it has bee found in Quebec, as well as Long Island in the 'States.

Being that it requires 20 years for it to break down, that means that it will take 20 years to have it effects mediated in the environment. That is with what we know right now. More research may show that there are further problems.

I have no problems putting my identity out there, since it won't take much longer for this stuff to deprive my husband and I of our income entirely, not just reduce it. It got reduced starting 10 years ago.

Since the bees do a little better during slightly droughty years, I think its pretty obvious since there is no standing dampness in worked fields in those years, gathering water from the soil is the major culprit.

Don't tell us to supply safe water to our bees since they go where they choose, not where we would like.

Sharon Overton, partner
Creekside Farm Apiaries

The OBA has plenty of science on their website to support a ban on these pesticides, but I haven't seen any science that shows that the neonicotinoids actually improve crop yield (or do anything else positive for people or the environment). In fact I'm pretty sure that OMAFRA produced some stats that show they don't. So what's the point? Profits for chemical companies?
Ross McGregor

As a full time farmer who grows grains and oil seeds, I have always asked my supplier to get me seed that has not been treated with this toxic seed treatment. I have never used treated seed because i always believed that it was toxic and i didn't want to breath it in or get it on my hands. I have never had a crop failure in any crop or been able to link any yield loss to not using it. I farm over 1,000 acres and have been for at least 10 yrs. Managing your soil health, planting when the soil is ready and cover cropping are the reasons why i don't need to use these products. I have also never seen any independent research to prove they even help, or a cost benefit analysis, on there use.

Bee's are so vital to agriculture and bee keepers have no hidden agenda, so for any one to suspect they do it absurd and shows a lack of reality, I stand along side the bee keepers in calling for a total ban on the neonicotinoids not only for the health of the bee population but for the healthy of farmers who have to handle this garbage.

Sean McGivern
President Practical Farmers of Ontario

Since you put it in your title I have to ask
Do you farm 1000 acres as stated today or 2000 acres as you have stated in a previous post ?
Just trying to find out the truth here !
It helps to Bee Honest .

Since you hide behind your computer I have to ask.
Does taking jabs in anonomity make you feel like a half a man/woman?
If you had a name maybe we would all know something about you that you might not want us to know.
Just trying to find out the truth here!
It helps to be a big boy/girl.
Raube Beuerman

Bee-ing accurate helps big time . Asking a question and pointing out a discrepancy in information is not a crime is it ?

Let him work it out on his own . It was his info that I asked about . Not yours . You still haven't figured out a three year corn , soy , wheat rotation when you haven't grown soys for 12 years .

Don't you see, when you post without a name nobody can nit-pick at you with irrelevant BS because nobody knows who you are, anything about you, or which post is yours. For example, if I did not have my name on my post you would not have been able to ask me the stupid rotation question. BTW, I didn't grow soys for 12 years, but I am on a corn soy wheat rotation.
Raube Beuerman

You chose to publicly identify and brand yourself as a relentless, aggressive, outspoken SM basher and farm subsidy advocate so don't cry about it now. It's only natural when someone wants to build a public image that people are interested in details. Ask any celebrity.
You got called on one whopper you told about deceased chicken workers and that's part of your public image now.
The questions put to you here that you've failed to answer also speak volumes.

If it bothers you so much then don't read them .
Sounds easy yes !
A name really means nothing unless your cashing a gov support payment cheque . Even then you are still only a number .

Now I have heard of specialty beans, soy beans, black beans and even pork and beans. I guess if you have not grown beans for 12 yrs in your corn wheat soy rotation these, must be imaginary beans.

Hows that working for you?

l am glad someone else noticed it ! If they are going to come on here and call something "garbage" that Conventional farmers believe in then they deserve to be called out when they can't even get their own numbers straight!

I farm 2,000 acres but about 1,000 acres of that is usually in corn and soy, that what i was referring to.

Sean McGivern

Thanks for the clarification .

Bold statements. So you are saying, without a doubt, seed treatment is the cause of the bee die-off?

You are saying that you are crusading to protect the health of others farmers from handling treated seed "garbage"?

Obviously your role in society should be elevated as you have all the answers.

Just curious. As you know, without a doubt, all the answers to farmers problems, could you tell me who killed JFK?

We don’t need any more studies there has been hundreds of studies linking these toxins with bee declines, the latest one by EFSA. We need someone with courage to get these neurotoxins banned! Pesticides are big business, so the Canadian government along with the US are going to continue to play the violin and blame everything else but these pesticides on bee declines.

Could you post the links to the "hundreds" of studies you talk about?

What would happen if the pesticides were banned and the bees continued to die off?

Then what? We can't afford to lose more bees but don't you think the real answer needs to be found first?

That's one. You are short a "few hundred"

Remember there were "hundreds" of studies with "global warming". Now we know the 'science' was politically manipulated.

The climate is changing as it always did, always will. Are people using the bee deaths for political motives?

If you ban these chemicals and the bees keep dying you start using them again it’s that simple! The real question is if they are the problem and you keep using them then what? Neonicotinoids are thousands of times more toxic to bees than DDT and are systemic, millions of acres of poison plants which makes it hard for me to believe they are not the main problem. Furthermore if the manufacturers believed that their products were safe they would be scrambling right now to conduct field studies to prove their case, but they are not are they? No they want to create distractions like Varroa mites, viruses and weather. Varroa mites have been around for decades and are visible to the naked eye so I would know if my hives were infested with these mites.

Look at Vancouver Island and their high Bee mortalities and Corn and Soy are almost non-existent.They blame it on many things, they haven't the tunnel vision that some seem to have here in Ontario.

My dear, the bees WILL continue to die off for a period, even if they are banned right now, because of the long time required to purge them from the environment, so the honey bee may even now be a dead species.
People may already be facing that crisis in the food chain because of inaction in banning it.

"Adding it takes 20 years after application for neonicotinoid to be out of soil"....that just sounds like the Organic sectors endless dribble they spit out about how all conventional crops are loaded with pesticides and livestock with hormones and antibiotics,that kind of retoric may appeal to the urban crowd but doesn't work in the country! The OBA could probably get their 100,000 signatures on a petition..but then anyone could probably double that in a petition to support WindTurbines if you took it to the city!

Some anonymous posters would love for us to believe that there will be big time yield loss with out these seed treatments. If that is the case then that will result in less supply, less supply usually results in higher prices, do to supply and demand, so i cant see what the down side is ?

Sean McGivern

I used "these seed treatments" on about 1/3 of my soys last year. Those acres were my poorest yield.
I used "these seed treatments" on 1/4 of my corn acres. The yield on those acres were 20 bu less than the rest.
I used it on some soy acres this year, but I don't plan on using it again...they can ban it as far as I'm concerned.

Let's see. The price of grain is traded in derivative speculative markets, mostly controlled by financial institutions.

The grain produced in Ontario is compared to the stuff blown out of combines in the USA.

The Ontario market is a drop in the bucket. Farmers are price takers not price makers. That's the down side of reality.

For those who's feed cost would rise it would be seen as a bad thing .
Lets also not loose sight of the fact that we sell in a global market . Our price is set in Chicago not here . We are not under Supply Management . I am not sure that bees know borders between provinces or countries . I know that wind blown diseases don't stop at a border .

Since any negative intent is not going to be publicised by pesticide producers, do you suppose a monopoly is the aim of this obdurate determination to keep this poison on the market?

We were to our strongest hives yesterday, to bring in honey from extra supers which were put on because they were so strong in July, in the dry hot spell. The supers were full 2 weeks ago and now they are starting to use them for a feed source instead of foraging, the 2 supers underneath are virtually empty when there should be honey almost ready to be removed. Its NOT mites, the brood is in perfect shape, anad there are many bees in most hives, but they are acting stupid, like they have no idea they should be gon the abundant goldenrod. One yard has been a safe haven until this year, when the owner leased the land to a person who promised no pesticides would be used , then put seed in treated with neonics
The bees are in bad shape, I am awake at 4 in the morning when I should be resting because I see that pinched out point in the near future where we have to remove these boxes and the honey won't be there. All the money and labour we have poured in will be for nothing and through no fault of ours.

Sharon Overton
Creekside farm Apiaries

Today I made a formal request to Grain Farmers of Ontario CEO Barry Senft, requesting copies of the board minutes, to see when and how staff were directed to generate the bee post card, I have also asked which director made the motion who 2nd the motion and if any directors abstained from the vote giving Mr. Senft and his staff the authority to spend thousands of dollars that comes from farmers like my self who are forced to pay check off dollars to an organization that seems to absolutely useless and of no real value to Ontario Farmers.
I will be sure to share Mr'Senft response with once i receive it. I think its important we see who is driving the reactive actions of GFO and it is also important to make sure that our check off dollars are spent in a way that is valuable to all grain farmers.\

Sean McGivern

I would have to say that a leader does not call an other organisation " useless " in a public forum and think that they are helping their cause . In many organizations that would be cause for dismissal .
Bottom line is there are certain things that get said behind closed doors if you are to have any credibility .

Therefore, instead of calling the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) useless, I tried to show how, and why, any reasonable person might come to that conclusion on their own, or at least come to the conclusion that GFO is too partisan to be trusted, which is, for all intents and purposes, pretty-much exactly the same thing.
When it comes to saying things only behind closed doors, or pussy-footing around speaking the truth in public, that's exactly why agriculture is in the mess we're in, because up until only recently, for example, effectively nobody in the farm community, and certainly no farm organization, has ever complained, in public, about the very-obvious economic bullying tactics granted to, and definitely used by, supply management. Behind closed door arguments mean nothing to bullies, and never will.
Therefore, if anything, we need more farm leaders calling other farm organizations "useless" - why, for example, should we have had to wait for almost 20 years for a tribunal to effectively say the NFU was "useless" in Ontario because it was a puppet of the national organization?

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

It is the fact of the NFU-O wanting to be as you call them "a puppet" and their members supporting them . They were only following what they were told for how many years .
The point you seem to miss is the fact of the Gov. and the tribunal not doing their job and not following through or knowing what was supposed to be the rules and not enforcing them . Don't loose sight of who was in power when this change happened .
There was not one of the General Farm Organizations that qualified and they were given an extension for a year to comply . That does not speak well for any of the three . They all worked with what they were told and interpreted and used the loop hole to their advantage but only one was putting dollars out of province . We have two national organizations . NFU and CFA . If NFU is not allowed to support their national org then should others be allowed to ?

When it comes to saying things behind closed doors that is where the frank discussion should take place . Airing laundry in public does not work well many times if your are trying to gain or keep respect . Which is by the way a 2 way street .

I have to ask why you are replying to a posting put up to a posting put up from Sean McGivern ? Makes one wonder ! Yes we all know you have sooo much to say but there are times when you need to allow others to speak for them selves . I have visions of a wife who answers questions for her husband while he is standing next to her .

Unsigned comment deleted by editor

Just putting some facts out . Not an NFU member . Do hate to see double standards . Many are asking the same questions any more .

Editor: comment will be published if resubmitted and signed.

Comment will be published if resubmitted and signed.

Thirty five posts in this thread are not signed I did sign as negative no more with a phone number. BF seems to make rules as they go. It is hardly a precedent requirement to sign, if 35 posts are exempt. There was nothing derogatory or personal in the post. If someone takes the time to read all the stuff here and contribute with a response not printing it is the same as picking and choosing the message or news to be reported.

I don't mind giving my thoughts and input to Ont farmer Thanks for the good times.

negative no more

Great alias and words to live by!

This article is treating this issue as two-sided and it is not. There are many sides to this article and there are at least two that have not been mentioned in the comments so far.

What about the beekeepers? This small group of farmers and their tiny livestock have worked alongside everyone else for years, providing an absolutely non-negotiable, critical service. They are losing 35% of their livestock each year. Take off your sector hat for a moment and remember that you are a business owner. What would it be like for you to lose 35% of your production capacity? What if you went out to the field and 35% of your animals were dead? At this point in the game there is a strong scientific consensus that the beekeepers themselves are not to blame. Nor is just varroa, nor is just nosema, nor is just habitat loss, nor are just neonics.

What about society? The GFO is talking about a yield loss in grains, I don’t hear them talking about the loss of fruit and vegetables, what about pollinating alfalfa? Any livestock farmers out there? Leafcutter and honeybees are the main pollinators of alfalfa. We have seen declines in our bee populations of 35% year after year after year. The normal die-off rates are more like 7%. Put this in the context of your own operation. Now, also remember that we RELY ON POLLINATORS TO POLLINATE. There is no back-up system available. Studies have been done on what human pollination would look like it is untenable. If we lose bees and other pollinators we will face a major, major societal food crisis.

The scientific consensus is clear: neonicotinoids are a big contributor to honeybee losses. The minority on the other side is given equal time but their weight of evidence Is not equal. The result is that we see this issue as two sided, it is not. The OBA is calling for a suspension while studies are done to discover the best way to proceed. New information has come up since the neonics were released. Our regulatory agencies once thought they were safe but we are discovering that the sub-lethal impacts are enormous. When you get new information that is uncomfortable do you stop what you are doing and re-asses? Or do you just keep going, pretending that you are not actually digging yourself into a hole.

Grain farmers got along fine without neonics before 2006. It’s only been 7 years since they were widely used in Ontario. There is a risk equation here. Do we value greater grain yields? Or do we value the integrity of our food system? If a patient comes to a doctor with asthma, a broken leg, depression and a severed artery which do you think the doctor repairs first? If we don’t stop the bleeding none of the other symptoms matter. We must first do no harm in this situation if we are ever going to properly understand what is happening.

-Nathan Carey. Youth Rep. for NFU-O local Grey County.

Which is it a suspension or a total ban as has been posted here by some one else ?

I have no idea if this is just a coincidence or if there is a connection. But the farmers field adjacent to my property has always been a hay field and nothing more> This year we have soy bean. I have dead bees at the front and back of my house. I use nothing on my property and normally there are lots of interesting insects they are prodominently not there now. Didn't Einstien give us a warning about how sacred a bee is?

Your not entirley correct, we don't all suffer 35% losses. l have one hive,you could call it a "closed herd" it seems strong every year.They don't like the hot days and seem sparce on these cool days, other than that its been a busy for them.l have never seen the white clover as prolific as this year.As most bee-keepers know, the basswood/Linden trees are a big favorite of Bee's but l actually think there where more wild bumble bee's on one tree than honey bee's...so they are having a good year too.
Dairy in Perth.

Not all beekeepers are having problems. In fact very few of the "professional" beekeepers are having any significant problems. The ones I know ascribe the dieoffs to what they call "BBMs" or Bad Bee Managers

And of course you have sound science on your side to back up your claim...or are you just throwing baseless facts at the discussion?

I will make one thing clear I am not organic, I was at one but as my acreage grew I was unable to keep up with all the paper work and the field work, so I opted out of being certified organic on my farm land. I also think if your a smaller producer and have the time to invest then you will be far better off financially growing organic as the prices the growers get are really good and they deserve to be paid well for doing a good job.
But really if there is any one out there that still is in the camp that neonic's aren't a part of the issue surrounding bee deaths then you really need to get on line and start google -ing the key words Bee deaths neonic's ect. I am not pro organic or pro chemical farming I am pro- active and being proactive means some times pulling your head out of the sand and really seriously looking at an issue, as I said I use sprays for weed control I am not some left wing urbanite calling for a ban on all pesticides, I understand the current need for them, as they are a part of my cropping tool box, but we have to be certain that they are safe and they are not causing harm to either human life or animal life.
As for Neonic's as I had mentioned before Purdue University has done field trials the past 2 years and both years good prove an yield difference from corn grown with or with out. It just boogles my mind how some farmers can take the word of some Big Chemical companies as the word of God but scoff at the work and the word of independent researchers who have nothing to gain, let me guess the ag researchers at Purdue University have some hidden agenda lol, its so laughable the lack of actual thought and self education that is prevalent in the farm community.

Sean McGivern

Whether it's beekeepers versus crop growers, whether it's hog farmers against ethanol, or whether it's Ontario Pork voting to urge government to place trade ahead of protectionism for supply management, the belief that we, as farmers, are somehow able to unite on any sort of a common cause, is fiction.
Sound science, whatever that means, is typically the refuge of scoundrels looking to hide the fact that whatever they are promoting is either bad economics, or bad public policy, or more-likely, both.
What's worse is that both sides in this debate seem to have the "How dare you?" opinion about the other side, and that also precludes any sort of "we're all in it together" claim.
There's also, in this case, the "David and Goliath" syndrome at work because the Grain Farmers of Ontario has vastly-greater financial resources, and therefore vastly-greater lobbying power, than the bee-keeping industry, and that, quite-understandably, fosters resentment on one side, and dismissive attitudes on the other - neither is a good ingredient for solving anything except by the use of litigation, or government decree.
Nothing, except an increased ability to dilute any possibility of farm unity is going to come of this debate - but, in context, given how complacent we've been, and given how this complacency has allowed distortions to exist, and magnify, in other sectors of farm policy, this type of divisiveness could quite-possibly be a good thing.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Comment will be published if resubmitted and signed

l keep seeing this 35% number in Bee losses but its hard to transfer that to losses anywhere else. l don't see a 35% decline in my Alfalfa fields or fewer apples in my orchard,if fact no one had apples last year but it wasen't because of Bee losses.We as farmers are constantly warned about the oncoming challenges due to climate change, should the Bee industry not be included ? l don't think we have to look to Europe for lead on everything,all you have to do is look at their findings on Vancouver Island for Bee losses.

Bees are very important the GFO will lose this one unless they understand other people(interests) are as important as themselves

The GFO lost the moral high ground in the battle for neonicotinoid restrictions the moment their full-page ad in defense of neonicotinoids appeared in newspapers earlier this year.

For example, their claim in the ad - "We, the 28,000 farm families in Ontario" studiously avoided mentioning, for example, that the OFA, the NFU and the CFFO represent almost 40,000 farmers, yet weren't signatories to the ad.

GFO also went on to try to infer that neonicotinoids were safe because the number of hives in Ontario has increased since 2003, yet studiously ignored the "good science" which dictates that any increase in the number of hives is completely-unrelated to what goes on inside those hives.

For all the warbling GFO continues to do about adherence to "good science", their boat hit the harbor wall when they demonstrated in this ad that good science does not, for them, include the use of responsible journalism.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Perhaps you should refresh your PAC notes by viewing OFA's position statement at: http://www.ofa.on.ca/issues/submission/pollinator-health-strategy-ofa-re...

Quote: However, OFA wishes to express its serious concern with the approach of the Ontario government to isolate one stressor as the primary factor contributing to pollinator health issues, and proposing an unworkable regulatory strategy to curb the use of neonicotinoid (NNI) treated seed.

This statement by the OFA is normally called "making all the usual noises" and doesn't really mean anything to anyone. Anyone familiar with this sort of position statement knows it is a position which will be abandoned quickly when it comes time to have to work with government to implement the actual policy.

Far-more indicative of the OFA's position is that:

(1) the OFA studiously, and wisely, avoided being signatories to the one-page ad financed largely by GFO.
(2) unklike GFO, the OFA encouraged their members to go to the pollinator health seminars late last fall.
(3) the OFA studiously, and wisely, avoided having anything to do with supporting the GFO statement that they wouldn't work with government to help implement any neonicotinoid restrictions.

If anything, the OFA has been a "rose among thorns" in this process and should be commended for trying to show GFO, albeit unsuccessfully, how it should be done.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Will the government re-coop our costs/losses from us losing our apiaries? Like they did for the beef farmers?

The government, Bayer Crop science, Syngenta, Dow chemicals, Monsanto, BASF and all the farmers who continue to use these toxins should all be held liable!

Hello Mr. McGivern

The GFO Board of Directors reviewed your requests this past Wednesday and the following is their response.

1. The costs/budget of the post cards will not be released.

2. This information will not be released. (addressed in question 4.)

3. No resolution was passed at this past GFO AGM.

4. The circulation of the GFO Board minutes will remain as they have in the past which I described to you in our discussion you mention below.

I am certain you will appreciate that all 15 GFO Board of Directors have heard and considered your request.


Barry Senft

From: sean Mc [mailto:seanmc4@hotmail.com]
Sent: August-13-13 2:36 PM
To: Barry Senft
Subject: Request for information


Mr. Senft,

As a grain farmer who pays check off when I sell my grain, I am greatly concerned about the
use of those check off dollars. I have to work every hard to making a living from farming and
it is a real kick in the sheens when the money I am work hard for is squandered by others.

I am requesting copies of the board minutes that approved the use of funds to create a post card
that was sent to GFO members, asking them to lobby their MP / MPP's to not issue a ban on

I would like to know the budget for this project.

Which director made the motion to create this post card and which director 2nd it
and also what was the vote count for and against and did any one abstained from voting.

I would also like you to confirm that there was no resolution from an AGM granting the board the
authority to create this post card and spend x amount of dollars on this project.

4.) please send a copy of any Board minutes that pertain to the creation of the Bee post card.

I will look for this information by the end of this week should I not receive this information in a timely fashion
Then I will see no other option then to have these questions asked in the farm and mainstream media.
You were well aware that this request was going to be coming to you, I am disappointed that you didn't
take a little initiative and send this information to me after our phone conversation 2 weeks ago,
if you stand behind the work you and your board of directors is doing, you would have been ever keen to get
this information out to me and not have waited for this request.

Sean McGivern
Grey County Farmer

Thanks for

Editor: Comment will be published if resubmitted and signed.

Thirty five posts in this thread are not signed I did sign as negative no more with a phone number. BF seems to make rules as they go It is hardly a precedent requirement to sign if 35 posts are exempt. There was nothing derogatory or personal in the post. If someone takes the time to read all the stuff here and contribute with a response not printing it is the same as picking and choosing the message or news to be reported.

I don't mind giving my thoughts and input to Ont farmer Thanks for the good times.

negative no more

I never asked the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) how much money they squandered on the consultant's report which concluded that since the adjusted corn basis hadn't increased after Ontario established an ethanol industry, then ethanol hadn't harmed livestock feeders (and, by the same logic, hadn't helped corn farmers either).

I did, however, let GFO know, in no uncertain terms, that paying for a report this bad, and then publishing the results as if it was actually a good report, was a terrible waste of my check-off money. It was also a terribly-revealing indication of the lack of intellectual and/or academic capability at the senior levels of GFO, but I didn't mention it at the time. The report promptly disappeared from sight, and has never been seen, or heard of, again, and for good reason.

Or, to look at it another way, GFO is doing little more than what the Canadian Wheat Board did (and was forced to stop doing) when it used check-off funds, not for the purpose of marketing grain, but for the political purpose of defending the Wheat Board itself.

One of the risks of this type of zealous over-advocacy by GFO, and then being patronizing and dismissive to those who question their tactics, is that people will ask for a refund of their check-off fees - and, after all, who could blame anyone for deciding to do just exactly that?

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

See, as per my opinion if we think like a farmer then its really a strange fact that they are the people who are suffering a lot than us, that too in all prospects of food, clothing and shelter but we can't even them a small sentence of sympathy also,, its seems strange to hear but its a true fact, plus if we talk about a leader then a leader does not call an other organization useless they are helping their cause.

Just curious why no one has as yet mentioned the very scientific manufacture and use of nicotine sprays as a legitimate insecticide spray for organic crop production and household horticultural use. The web is full of home recipes and very little in the way of caution when using these dangerous toxins. Despite being very dangerous to mammals, etc, there seems to be no worry of their side effects of MRLs. Same could be said for many other organic based and accepted pesticides. Seems to be a hypocritical double standard at work here...or is it just a ignorance is bliss attitude.

Additionally, kudos to GFO for attempting to balance the one sided campaign run by the Ontario Beekeeper Association and its internal "behavourial marketing specialist" director and assorted environmental supporters. This is not to say that bee deaths are a minor nuisance, but rather a call to dial down the rhetoric and let scientific study follow its course.
Steve Twynstra, Ailsa Craig

I think it has to do with the word organic that makes every one think it is all good and not harmful .

Nice to see the Ontario Bean Growers weigh in on the discussion and support GFO . Many others that use the same are too scared and are just hiding in the bushes . Nice of them to let GFO take the fight .

Yes I saw this just last week from an organic grower, in one breath condemning neonic use by conventional farmers and in the next bragging about the nicotine "tea" he's brewing from his home grown tobacco and spraying on his crops with absolutely no idea what the concentration is.

WOW, is Mr.Twynstra, campaigning for a seat on the GFO board or what ???
Has Mr.Twynstra not done his homework ? researchers at Purdue University have conducted field trials 2 years in a row during 2011 and 2012, entomologists at Purdue University in Indiana undertook field trials comparing corn plants treated with and with out Neonic seed treatment. Their research could not prove any measurable statistical yield gain from the use of the Neonic seed treatments. The bee working group i believe even had a presentation from Purdue University last week, There are several other studies on the internet from other researchers from around the globe, there is all kinds of research to support the idea that Neonics are playing a role in colony collapse,
Where is Mr.Twynstra's getting his research from to suggest that the science used to approved these seed treatments isn't flawed ?

There is just so much evidence being generated around the world that for some one to make some of the statements Steve has shows either a lack of knowledge with the issue or ignorance to the truth neither are acceptable.

The biggest issue of concern for me is that people like Mr.Twynstra only want to support science that is in their favor, I give the Bee Keepers Kudos for having the will power to actually stand up for their industry and bring the attention the issue requires to the for-front and get their voices heard, because there is all kinds of evidence to support there concerns from very reputable sources around the world, so much so that there are several country's that have either banned its use or placed a moratorium on the use of it well science has the time to err on the side of caution, rather then err on the side of big business and its greedy share holders.

Sean McGivern
President PFO

I take it that it seems some one has stepped on a nerve . Likely with regards to PFO being for all things organic .

Just so you know there are bee colonies that do not have a problem while being surrounded by corn and beans . Could it be management is the culpret for those having problems ?

It seems that some don't understand much when it come to this issue but want to sing from the pulpet like they are the be all and end all know it all of the subject .

Bees die and it is the end of the world . People die from bee stings every year and no one has banned bees or force them to be kept in confinement .

Could you supply us with the date , time and place of the meeting where it was voted on , who was in attendance, who voted , who abstained , who presented the motion , who seconded the motion , what the vote count was , and exactly what and how the motion read for you to give such a reply as the PFO preseident ?

Like so many issues now days it always seem to turn Political,do some Countries ban something based on science or votes? Slamming Big Business or Factory farms or Greedy share holders will always be a big hit.
l sometimes wonder if Bee-Keepers moan the loss of Bee hives or the dip in their bottom line due to lost Bee-related revenues.

I am a semi retired farmer - and I have one question about the possibility of not allowing this product to be used this year. Many of the seeds that will be used this year will be already processed and bagged for pick up at the dealerships, I expect. If this product is already applied to the seed, what then? For some reason, It sounds like a government move to ban something after the stable door is open and the horse is already miles down the road!! And to think the government is managing the financial state of this province - I won't even suggest going there!

Home Depot, the largest store chain of its kind in the US, recently announced that it was going to phase out the use of neonicotinoids in its nursery and gardening departments - this announcement was widely applauded by environmental groups.

By not only defending neonicotinoids, but also by taking government to court as part of our defense strategy, we, in the farm community are increasingly becoming out-of-touch with public opinion and are, therefore, at substantial risk of losing the public's trust.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

according to some of my neighbours who tried some of their soys and corn without neonics the yield was drastically lower without the neonics. the problem is that it puts us in ontario a severe disadvantage compared to the US and other provinces. maybe there is a trailer somewhere we can borrow with US equality written on it!!!!!

I don't think there is a farmer out there that hasn't set aside a small acreage to try something different, something out of the ordinary, "off the wall".Its why so many farmers oppose the Neonicotinoid ban, because we have seen the difference.

and..I don't think we should be surprised at Mr. Thompson's comment on Home Depot phasing out anything that looks like a pesticide but if in the US its the same as up here in Canada they don't grow the shrubs and plants but simply bring them in from outside nurseries, much the same as a Canadian Tire does.

However l am certainly that the same people that would buy shrubs at Home Depot would be the same people that think we are all going to die from lack of Bee's pollinating crops.

Sometime, someday, somehow, Ontario farmers will realize we are farming in one of the most-densely populated areas of North America and, as such, the downside of living so close to our market is that the market can tell us what to do and how to do it.

We have for too-long believed in the French 18th century Physiocracy movement which posited that all value was derived from agriculture alone and that other sectors simply recycled that which had been created by farmers, without creating additional value - nothing else could, for example, ever explain why successive Canadian governments have continued to act as enforcers for the dairy and poultry cartels.

In addition, given that

(A) Home Depot, the largest retailer of its kind in the US is eschewing neonicotinoids completely.
(B) even the Canadian Catholic Womens League passed a motion to ban neonicotinoids completely at its 2015 annual national convention.
(C) Ontario farmers have taken the government to court in order to defend that which the CWL and Hope Depot oppose.

it is s ever-increasingly apparent that Ontario agriculture's neonicotinoid defenders have become the "Patron Saints of the Lost Cause" when it comes to neonicotinoids.

Therefore, since the public appears to be squarely lined up against neonicotinoids, nobody much cares about any real or imagined disadvantage Ontario farmers might experience without neonicotinoids.

It's time for Ontario agriculture to put on its "big boy pants", ditch our devotion to Physiocracy and move on.

Stephen Thompson, Clinton ON

Strange...I've been planting corn with neonics and corn without neonics for five years and four out of the five years the variety without neonics has shown the best yield...opposite to your neighbor. This year I chose to order all my corn without neonics, other years you had no choice. Every situation is different and I don't see it as a disadvantage at all.

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