By Les Nichols –Farm & Food Care Environmental Council Chairman
Ontario farmers are very concerned about bee health. We rely on bees as important pollinators of our crops – bees are of vital importance to all segments of agriculture and food.
Bee health, and specifically the possible impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides as a factor in pollinator health, is a very complex issue that is being reviewed and examined by experts around the world.
Farm & Food Care has long supported the creation of the Bee Health Working Group in Ontario, and the work of the Pest Management Regulation Agency (PMRA) as it examines and researches the concerns regarding bee health. These are just two of many initiatives related to bees that are trying to determine what is actually happening and why.
Farm & Food Care applauds the work that many farmers and agri-food industry stakeholders have already invested into research and adopting new handling practices such as reducing the possible exposure of bees to dust from neonicotinoid treated seed. It is imperative to the viability of Ontario’s farmers who grow crops and associated businesses that any possible decisions to restrict the use of neonicotinoids be based on sound science and credible research. The goal of reducing honey bee deaths is one all farmers can support.
Ontario farmers are the original environmental stewards of the land. We live and work on our farms and take ecosystem and bee health very seriously. Farm & Food Care encourages anyone that shares farmer concerns about pollinator health to support sound science and research. Understanding to what extent environmental issues impact bee health is important, not only for bees but for the benefit of all ecosystems surrounding agricultural lands.
Farm & Food Care encourages anyone that shares farmer concerns about pollinator health to allow the researchers and experts some more time to continue to investigate this important issue. Let’s allow them to establish benchmarks and recommendations for changes and actions based on science and data collected here at home in Canada.