In­dus­try work­ing group says pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach to man­age­ment over reg­u­la­tion of Fusar­ium Head Blight will im­prove com­pet­i­tive­ness for Al­berta farm­ers

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - FARM NEWS -

Con­trib­uted

Value chain part­ners in the in­dus­try-led Fusar­ium Head Blight (FHB) work­ing group to­day wel­comed the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s news that lays the foun­da­tion for bet­ter FHB man­age­ment and im­proved com­pet­i­tive­ness for Al­berta farm­ers.

On June 3 Pro­vin­cial Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Devin Dreeshen an­nounced that Fusar­ium gramin­earum (Fg) is be­ing re­moved from the Pest Nui­sance Con­trol Reg­u­la­tion of the Agri­cul­tural Pests Act.

The work­ing group, which con­sists of value-chain part­ners from pri­mary pro­duc­ers to global bio­science com­pa­nies and other stake­hold­ers, has long ad­vo­cated for this shift from reg­u­la­tory con­trol to a provincewi­de ap­proach that pro­motes the ex­ten­sion and ed­u­ca­tion of best man­age­ment prac­tices. The work­ing group main­tains that not only will this ap­proach en­able sus­tain­able FHB mit­i­ga­tion, but also that a reg­u­la­tory change is a suc­cess for gov­ern­ment, farm­ers and in­dus­try.

As part of the cam­paign to mit­i­gate FHB through ex­ten­sion and ed­u­ca­tion, the com­mis­sions, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the work­ing group, are de­vel­op­ing a web­site called, ‘Let’s Man­age It!’ that will serve as a one-stop re­source aimed at FHB mit­i­ga­tion, while pro­vid­ing a roadmap for in­dus­try-wide FHB man­age­ment. This web­site will com­pile in­for­ma­tion on best man­age­ment prac­tices that farm­ers can learn from and im­ple­ment on their own op­er­a­tions as needed.

The com­mis­sions look for­ward to launch­ing the web­site in the com­ing days at www.man­ageFHB.ca.

“This news has been a long time com­ing,” said Todd Hames, Al­berta Wheat Com­mis­sion Chair. “FHB is well-es­tab­lished in Al­berta and since it’s spread through air­borne spores, we know that zero tol­er­ance poli­cies are not ef­fec­tive. We wel­come this reg­u­la­tory shift that bet­ter re­flects the re­al­ity fac­ing farm­ers and ap­pre­ci­ate Min­is­ter Dreeshen’s ded­i­ca­tion to break­ing down this reg­u­la­tory bar­rier so that we can move ahead with im­proved com­pet­i­tive­ness.”

“Al­berta Seed Pro­ces­sors has been ask­ing for reg­u­la­tory re­form for years,” added Tom Cop­pock, Pres­i­dent of Al­berta Seed Pro­ces­sors. “The leg­isla­tive amend­ment will al­low farm­ers to fo­cus on real risk fac­tors to bet­ter man­age the dis­ease. Us­ing high qual­ity seed that has been tested by an ac­cred­ited lab­o­ra­tory is still one of many im­por­tant FHB mit­i­ga­tion tools that farm­ers will con­tinue to uti­lize. Al­berta Seed Pro­ces­sors will con­tinue to work with the crop value chain in FHB mit­i­ga­tion ef­forts. Let’s man­age it.”

“The ‘Let’s Man­age It!’ web­site aligns with the gov­ern­ment’s shift away from reg­u­la­tory con­trol and will help farm­ers take ac­tion,” said Dave Bishop, Al­berta Bar­ley Chair. “FHB has be­come a chal­lenge in all re­gions of Al­berta, but we can con­trol its spread by how we man­age our op­er­a­tions. I know farm­ers will ap­pre­ci­ate be­ing able to find ev­ery­thing they need right at their fin­ger­tips to keep this dis­ease at bay.”

“As seed grow­ers, we are very pleased with this an­nounce­ment from Min­is­ter Dreeshen and the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment,” said Al­berta Seed Grow­ers’ pres­i­dent Re­nee Hoyme. “By shift­ing to a sci­ence-based col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort to ad­dress fusar­ium, we can en­cour­age in­dus­try in­vest­ment in research and broaden our range of preven­tion and dis­ease man­age­ment tech­niques.”

File photo

The fusar­ium blight can cause a lot of dam­age for grain farm­ers.

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