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Neonic restrictions could come with a large price tag for farmers

CropLife study estimates $880 million per year

By Diego Flammini,

A new study released by CropLife estimates that trying to comply with Ontario’s new neonic restrictions could cost farmers $880 million annually.

The Ontario government wants to protect bees, butterflies and other pollinators by reducing the sale and use of neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds.

The report, completed by RIAS Inc. in Ottawa, looked at the financial impacts of adhering to the restrictions. Neonics are almost universally applied on corn and canola seeds in North America and can also be found in soybean seeds.

The Assessment of the Costs to Ontarians of Proposed Amendments to Ontario Regulation 63/09 under the Pesticides Act highlighted some of the major financial and yield implications the new regulations can have on farmers:

  • Simply complying with the proposed regulations could cost farmers $24 million per year
  • Corn production could fall by more than 2.6 million tonnes per year and soybeans by over a million tonnes per year
  • It could cost businesses related to seeds and crop health about $26 million per year to comply – and that farmers would pay for about 92% of it ($24 million)

The proposed regulations put forward by the Ontario provincial government would see the use of neonics reduced by 80% come 2017.

                                 Rules and regulations stamps

A public comment period ended on May 7th and if everything receives approval, the restrictions would take effect on July 1, 2015.

Citizens in Ontario could also share the financial burden with the farmers.

"Ontario citizens are already saddled with hundreds of billions of dollars of debt and a $10.5 billion deficit. This study shows that not only will the proposed restrictions on neonics hurt farmers and the environment, conservative estimates show it will also cost Ontarians more than $660 million annually and do absolutely nothing to help bees," said Ted Menzies, president and CEO of CropLife Canada.

Join the conversation and tell us your thoughts about the neonics restrictions and the financial impacts it could have on not only your farm operation, Ontario’s economy.

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