Region 3 | Media Release

Neonicotinoid Licensing System Encouraging, says NFU-O

(JULY 9, 2014, DENFIELD, ON) – The National Farmers Union in Ontario welcomes Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Hon. Jeff Leal’s recent announcement that Ontario intends to bring in measures to move away from the widespread, prophylactic use of neonicotinoid-based pesticidesin agriculture. The introduction of a licensing system by the spring 2015 season for the use ofseed treated with neonicotinoids will be a first step. A process requiring farmers and other commercial growers to apply for permits if they want to use neonicotinoid-treated seed should lead to decreased use of the insecticide on Ontario’s farmland.

“We are pleased to see such quick action on a key election promise,” said Karen Eatwell, NFU Region 3 Coordinator/NFU-O President. “During the campaign, Premier Wynne committed to ensuring full and equitable access to non-neonicotinoid treated seed for growers, and to establish a system that allows for targeted use of neonicotinoid seed treatments only in production areas or production circumstances where these pesticides are actually shown to be required.”

“The NFU in Ontario has members who are beekeepers as well as members who farm various field crops, including conventional corn and soybeans. The effect neonicotinoids have on our environment is of importance to everyone,” said Eatwell. “In our communication with governments, we have called for action to end the widespread prophylactic use of neonicotinoid seed treatments. We have suggested a moratorium on the sale of treated seed while allowing for the possibility of farmers applying to have their seed treated if they can demonstrate the need for neonicotinoid seed treatment.”

“The recently published international Task Force on Systemic Pesticides study shows clear scientific evidence of the harm caused by neonicotinoids, not only to pollinators, but other non-target species including earthworms, birds and reptiles, and to eco-systems as a whole,” said Nathan Carey, NFU member from Neustadt. “The insecticide does not just affect pest species in the soil because the seed treatment is absorbed into all of the growing plants’ tissues; and it is water soluble, allowing the chemical to move from fields into water bodies, where it does additional harm to our biodiversity.”

“It is important to create a process that protects our environment rather than one that only protects the profits of corporations like Bayer and Syngenta that sell neonicotinoids,” concluded Eatwell.


For more information contact:

Karen Eatwell, NFU Region 3 Coordinator /NFU-O President: (519) 232-4105;

Nathan Carey, NFU Grey Local 344 Director: (519) 665-7305;