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Agriculture

Feds’ plan for neonicotinoids makes little sense, environment groups say

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  • OTTAWA — Environment groups are calling out Canada’s approach to assessing pesticides after seven years of reviews led Health Canada to simultaneously decide to allow certain popular products to keep being used with restrictions, and to propose banning the same products from outdoor uses altogether.

    The Pest Management Regulatory Agency on Thursday released its final decision on what limits should be placed on a category of nicotine-based pesticides known as neonicotinoids to keep them from killing bees. Starting in two years, the pesticides won’t be allowed to be sprayed at all on certain crops like apples and tree nuts and there will be limited times when they can be sprayed on many others, like tomatoes, eggplants and berries.

    Products that have no alternatives are given an extra year before they are affected by the decision.

    The agency said the risks the products pose to bees in other applications, such as pre-treating seeds, are acceptable and only require new labels to warn of the dangers. Most of Canada’s canola and corn crop seeds are pre-treated with neonicotinoids, along with about half the country’s soybean seeds.

    However, this decision, which won’t begin to take effect until 2021, will likely be overridden in less than a year when the agency finalizes a separate assessment of the exact same products for their impact on aquatic insects. The agency found in 2016 that the most popular of the neonicotinoids was building up in ground and surface water and recommended banning it outright. It also launched a special assessment of the other two most common “neonics,” concluding in 2018 that they also needed to be banned.

    The very final decision on that won’t come until January 2020.

    “Right now this is strictly about the risk to pollinators and for this assessment not all uses pose an unacceptable risk to pollinators,” said Scott Kirby, the director general of the environmental-assessment division of the pest management agency.

    Lisa Gue, a senior researcher at the David Suzuki Foundation, said it is “disturbing” that the agency is continuing to allow neonicotinoids at all given that the agency’s scientists have concluded they cause unacceptable harm to any kinds of insects.

    “The decision-making process here is just incomprehensible and incoherent,” she said.

    Beatrice Olivastri, the executive director of Friends of the Earth Canada, said the agency’s fragmented approach to reviewing the products is “nonsensical.”

    Neonicotinoids are used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike to manage pests like aphids and spider mites. Scientists blame the chemicals for weakening bees, making them more susceptible to disease and bad weather.

    More than one-third of the world’s food crops require pollinators, like bees, for production.

    The European Union banned neonicotinoids at the end of last year after scientists concluded there was no safe way to use them without hurting bees. In 2017, a task force at the International Union for Conservation of Nature updated a compilation of more than 1,100 peer-reviewed research studies of neonicotinoids and concluded there was no doubt they harm bees.

    Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


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    Agriculture

    WATCH: Unreserved Auction June 15 – Stunning property just west of Rimbey- Open House this Saturday 1-4 pm

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  • The owners have enjoyed The Oneday Ranch for many years, developed it with sweat, passion, expertise, and a whole lot of money! Now they are SELLING IT ALL! Please join them at this Giant UNRESERVED auction Saturday, June 15th.  There will be open houses on Saturday, May 25th and Sunday, June 2nd from 1 to 4 PM.

    Details: Selling the NW 1/4 35-42-5 W5M

    The land is 157 acres of picturesque countryside. It has limitless possibilities – a Guest Ranch, Private Parties, Camps, Hobby Farm, Dude Ranch…or keep it simply for your own use. It sells with Several Fully Furnished Cabins, a Saloon with a Covered Beer Garden, Entertainment Stage, Large Shop with Living Quarters, a Furnished 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath Home, Quad & Walking Trails, a Horse Barn with a Heated Tack Room, tons of antiques and So Much More!
    This property holds much promise for an entrepreneur or simply for those just wanting a unique and interesting place to call home.
    Here are some key points:
    -10 km of groomed trails through beautiful treed land
    -Set up for horses for trail rides with lots of parking
    and space for trailers and accommodation for riders
    -Abundance of wild life, Moose, Whitetail deer and Elk
    -Work from home
    -Big shop space with two 16’x16′ doors, 40’x40′ Shop/living quarters with in floor heat
    -Big 60’x 56′ building c/w heated tack room
    -20 acres of hay/pasture
    -quarter section has “like-new” fencing
    -There is room and existing roadways for additional RV camp ground
    – No pipelines and no oil leases on this 1/4
    -Very nice insulated cabin at the back of the quarter on a separate 50 acre title with room for campers to enjoy
    -No mud on main yard roads, pathways or parking areas and there is geo-textile matting under all gravel
    -Roof water from all buildings is directed underground to pond
    -Ponoka County Admin are very helpful and fantastic to deal with
    Property sell as 2 separate titles, one property being just over 100 acres and sells with all the buildings, the balance of the land being approximately 50 acres and sells as second parcel. Both titles will be sold as one unit.
    Located 27 km west of Rimbey on Hwy 63 and north 2 miles on Rg Rd 52. Then turn right and it’s the first place on the right.
    Open Houses: May 25, 2019 & June 2nd, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. or by Appointment.
    Unreserved Auction will be held Saturday, June 15th starting at 10 AM.  Everything must go as the owners are moving overseas.
    Owner’s Phone Number: (403) 598-0095
    Allen B. Olson: (403) 783-0556
    For more information click here

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    Agriculture

    Conservatives urge Liberals to expedite promised relief for canola farmers

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  • OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives said Thursday they’re hearing from frustrated canola producers who are still waiting for financial relief recently promised by the Liberal government.

    Canola producers are expressing concern about funding promised three weeks ago that can’t be accessed, Tory shadow minister for agriculture Luc Berthold said in a letter to Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.

    “My colleagues and I have heard from a number of canola producers who have been told by the Canadian Canola Growers Association that the enhancements promised by you three weeks ago are not yet available,” he wrote.

    The time period is “like an eternity” for canola producers under the current circumstances, Berthold added, suggesting the government needs to fix the situation immediately. 

    “Minister, it is irresponsible for you to make an announcement and not be able to follow through in a timely manner,” Berthold wrote. “It is unacceptable that the only concrete measure that your government has taken to help canola producers is stalled.”

    Earlier this month, the federal Liberals promised financial aid to canola farmers in an attempt to lessen the impact of China’s decision to ban their products as an apparent part of a trade dispute.

    The announcement changed a program that advances farmers money against the expected value of their crops, raising loan limits to $1 million from $400,000 and upping an interest-free portion to $500,000 from $100,000.

    In a statement, Bibeau did not specifically respond to the concern about delays in the loan program but she stressed the government is working hard to address the canola issue along with farmers and industry.

    “We know that Canada has the best canola in the world and we are providing support to our farmers to help them manage the impact of current market disruptions,” she said.

    China has rejected Canadian canola seeds in recent months and barred shipments from two of Canada’s biggest exporters in what is considered retaliation for the detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

    Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has called for the Liberals to take a more confrontational approach with China, suggesting Canada needs to appoint a new ambassador, launch a complaint about the canola dispute with the World Trade Organization and cut Canadian funding to China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to which the government has committed $256 million over five years.

    International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr has said there is agreement across the sector, including with provincial governments and producers, that Canada should engage China on the basis of its allegation, which is that there are impurities in canola that has been sent by Canada to China. Canadian requests for evidence have produced no meaningful replies, the government says, and inspections in Canada have found no evidence of contamination.

    China imported $2.7 billion worth of Canadian canola seed last year and there are concerns that a prolonged blockage will hurt farmers, the industry and the overall economy.

    —Follow @kkirkup on Twitter

    Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

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