Environmental Commissioner’s Annual Report Highlights Key Issues for Agricultural Sector says NFU-O

(DENFIELD, ON, October 10, 2014   ) – The NFU-O is delighted that the Annual Report released this week from Gord Miller the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario has a focus on the agricultural sector. “The report highlights key issues that the NFU-O has been working to address for a number of years, and I am pleased that these recommendations are viewed as priorities,” said Karen Eatwell NFU-O President/Region 3 Coordinator.

The NFU-O backs the Commissioner’s call to build on and actively promote integrated pest management to discourage the blanket use of broad-scale prophylactic pesticides. Miller has put forth a recommendation that both the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of the Environment undertake monitoring to determine “the prevalence and effects of neonicotinoids in soil, waterways and wild plants.”

Since 2012, the NFU-O, along with the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association and several environmental groups, has been calling for action to be taken on neonicotinoids. “We would like to see more independent research, and we urge OMAFRA to move quickly to place a moratorium on its use,” said Eatwell. In comments from the Commissioner and the Minister of the Environment, each noted that neonicotinoids are “worse than DDT.”

The report also highlighted the importance of soil health in agricultural land, noting that soil is a living system. The NFU-O fully supports the Commissioner’s suggestion that OMAFRA institute a process to identify Ontario’s innovators in soil health and determine key factors in their success. “The recommendation to integrate farmers’ own successes and best practices regarding soil health into the Ministry’s educational materials and research priorities will benefit not just our fellow farmers but all of Ontario” said Eatwell.

“The Commissioner’s report covers many of the environmental issues that the NFU-O has been working on. As an organization representing farmers, we know firsthand the importance of taking care of our soil and our pollinators,” noted Eatwell. “We look forward to working with OMAFRA to develop and implement these policies.”

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For more information contact:

Karen Eatwell, NFU-O President/NFU Region 3 Coordinator: (519) 232-4105; president@nfuontario.ca