The NFU has serious misgivings regarding the increasing reliance upon chemical fertilizers and pest controls in agriculture at the expense of good cultural practises. The NFU is concerned about the effects of leaching, salinization and pesticide residues on the soils and the impact on farm land of changing water tables, and the effect of use of multiple chemicals.
The NFU supports the precautionary approach to approval of farm chemicals, supported by adequate research that is not influenced by the companies selling these products. The NFU urges a moratorium on agricultural chemicals until research has been reviewed and they are proven to be safe when exposed to soil, groundwater, people or food, livestock, poultry and wildlife, non-targeted organisms. Any chemicals not proven safe should be immediately banned. Glyphosate, in particular, should be investigated due to its widespread use.
Since 2013 the NFU has called for a five-year moratorium on the use of neonicotinoid seed treatment for field crops, and urged Health Canada to require the completion of independent scientific studies on the effects of neonicotinoids on honeybees, wild pollinators, and other species (including humans) with the results made public before any moratorium is lifted.
The NFU believes agriculture extension offices, colleges and research stations should provide education in low-input and organic production methods to reduce dependence on chemical inputs. Usage of agricultural chemicals should also be tracked and documented by the federal government for the purpose of studying their long term effects.