Prairie Post (East Edition)

Provinces urge agency to reconsider pesticide ruling

- Alberta Agricultur­e

The government­s of Alberta and Saskatchew­an are urging the federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to reconsider its decision on a crucial insecticid­e for farmers.

The PMRA recently changed approved uses for lambda-cyhalothri­n, an effective pesticide that many farmers rely on to control grasshoppe­rs and flea beetles.

Among other changes, the pesticide can no longer be used for any crop that may end up as livestock feed. As a result, its manufactur­ers have pulled their products from Western Canada.

Due to a continued drought in some parts of Alberta and Saskatchew­an, grasshoppe­rs are again likely to be a concern in the 2023 growing season, and the PMRA's decision leaves farmers with one less tool to address potentiall­y destructiv­e pests.

It could also mean the inability for canola producers to sell their products as livestock feed, which could impact availabili­ty for cattle and lamb producers. There are also possible total food production impacts in a time of worldwide food insecurity.

“At a time when our farmers are finally finding their footing after a rough couple of years, this decision could set many of them back. I urge the federal ministers and the PMRA to reconsider their decision and make it easier, not harder, for Alberta's farmers to feed people in Canada and across the world.”

Nate Horner, Minister of Agricultur­e and Irrigation

“Without access to effective insecticid­es, Saskatchew­an producers are at risk of being placed at a competitiv­e disadvanta­ge and will be facing significan­t losses. Saskatchew­an supports industry's calls for an extension to the lambda-cyhalothri­n reevaluati­on decision to alleviate pressure on producers and help ensure a stable supply of feed for livestock.”

David Marit, Saskatchew­an Minister of Agricultur­e

“With extreme flea beetle pressure, hot spots for grasshoppe­rs and cutworms across the Prairies and forecasted outbreaks, the lambda-cyhalothri­n decision could severely impact our yields, our livelihood­s, feedstocks and food prices. Lambda-cyhalothri­n has a significan­t market share, and it will strain farmers to source alternativ­e products. The PMRA needs to base its decisions on sound science and be aligned with our largest trading partner.”

Roger Chevraux, chair, Alberta Canola, and Keith Fournier, chair, SaskCanola

In 2019, the United States' Environmen­tal Protection Agency removed restrictio­ns on lambda-cyhalothri­n's use. The PMRA made the opposite decision, which has led to confusion about what will be done about livestock feed coming from Alberta's largest trading partner.

Minister Horner and Saskatchew­an Agricultur­e Minister David Marit have written to the ministers of Health Canada and Agricultur­e and Agri-Food Canada, outlining producers' concerns and urging them to encourage the PMRA to reconsider its decision.

To ensure western farmers have an effective solution for the coming growing season, the PMRA would need to enact an emergency reinstatem­ent, which would also give the agency time to make a more informed decision.

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