Our coverage of chemicals worthwhile

Discerning readers will notice that we’ve been writing a lot about farmers’ use of chemicals lately.

There are four stories in this week’s Western Producer: one about the low thresholds used by Health Canada for neonicotinoids, one detailing how beekeepers in Western Canada are worried that a ban on neonics will result in farmers using more foliar sprays that may be damaging to hives, and we have stories about the Ontario and European Union experiences with restrictions on neonics.

This week’s editorial highlights the use of the courts by activist groups to target chemicals in the wake of a US$289 million award linked to glyphosate.

Recently, we also published a column by reporter Robert Arnason pointing out that the same kind of market signals that forced farmers to end the use of ractopamine as a feed additive despite science that shows it’s safe might now be affecting glyphosate.

Arnason also wrote a piece highlighting the gap between public perception of neonics and the opinion of many in the agriculture sector.

Our lead story last week on the proposed ban of two more neonics (clothianidin and thiamethoxam), which was headlined simply, “Now what?” carried a list of foliar sprays used as alternatives and their effects. Health Canada rendered the same proposed ban on imidacloprid last year.

We also published a piece highlighting how public pressure plays a part on a proposal to ban neonics.

And last week we printed an editorial that argued a blanket ban on neonics for field crops in Western Canada isn’t supported by science when the problem is closer to greenhouses and fruit and vegetable operations.

We do this for good reason: we cover developing news of interest to farmers, but it’s important that our readers see what’s going on out there and start to make decisions based on that information.

Neonicotionids will be gone, foliar sprays will be increased. Will food safety or the environment be any better for it?

Glyphosate is next. Are farm groups prepared to unite in proactively backing the science, or are they prepared to wait and see the neonics example played out again?

We try to arm readers with information. Now what?

About the author

Brian Macleod's recent articles


  • Denise

    Ractopamine was never safe. If you think being irritable and always hungry is okay for hogs that are cramped in crowded hog barns then do a little experiment and put yourself in that situation and see how you react to it..

  • richard

    Intelligent humans have no interest in consuming abused animals or abused crops…. both are a regression in any definition of the word progress…. To believe that the essence of food quality is to be found in manipulating acceptable limits of xenobiotic contamination is just bizarre…. Nutrient dense, toothsome, residue free, life enhancing food will replace status quo ignorance….. Lead, follow, or get out of the way…..


Stories from our other publications