ONTARIO TO REDUCE NEONICOTINOID USE
Ontario is taking action to strengthen bird, bee, butterfly and other pollinator health to ensure healthy ecosystems, a productive agricultural sector and a strong economy. The province will consult on a proposal to reduce the use of neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed. If approved, new rules on the use of neonicotinoids will be in place by July 1, 2015. The province’s proposal offers the following steps:
• Working towards a goal of 80 per cent reduction in the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed by 2017.
• Reducing the over-winter honeybee mortality rate to 15 per cent by 2020.
• Establishing a comprehensive Pollinator Health Action Plan.
Ontario has released a discussion paper on pollinator health for comment on Ontario’s environmental and regulatory registries. Consultation sessions will be held in December 2014 and January 2015 to seek input from industry, researchers, organizations and individuals.
CWB REJECTS BID BY FARMERS
Farmers of North America and AgraCity Crop & Nutrition have learned their bid to acquire the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) was rejected by CWB management. “If farmers can’t acquire the CWB, we believe they will build their own efficient, globally competitive business with the grain they own and the fertilizer they buy, as farmers have done in many competitor countries,” says James Mann, Farmers of North America president. Farmers of North America’s quest for the CWB was to build a farmer-majority owned grain company with farmer ownership as high as 90 per cent, depending on the strategic partner.
HOUSE OF COMMONS PASSES AGRICULTURAL GROWTH ACT
Key legislation aimed at modernizing Canada’s agriculture industry and expanding markets has passed the third reading in the House of Commons. This is the final stage before the Agricultural Growth Act (Bill C-18) passes to the Senate. Bill C-18 will update and modernize existing legislation to respond to the latest technology and international practices. If passed, it would preserve a farmer’s ability to save, store and clean their own seed of a protected variety while allowing Canada to adopt the 1991 International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 91). These changes, made through Bill C-18, are expected to enhance farmers’ access to new crop varieties and trade opportunities, while providing tools to enhance oversight of agricultural products.
CANTERRA REACHES INTERNATIONAL WHEAT AGREEMENT
Canterra Seeds has reached an agreement with United Kingdom-based Warburtons on the production and commercialization of AAC W1876, a hard red spring wheat variety bred by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada that was supported through registration earlier this year by Warburtons. The British company, which offers variety-specific identity preserved contracts for a large amount of Canadian wheat every year, will begin contracting AAC W1876 this fall. “This partnership is a perfect example of private companies working with our public breeding institutions to bring new export opportunities for Canadian farmers,” says David Hansen, Canterra Seeds president and CEO. This marks the first time the UK bakery has supported a variety through the Canadian registration system.