Major commodity groups have joined forces to try to counter claims that farmers’ use of neonicotinoids is wreaking havoc on bees. The full-page “open letter to Ontarians” has been featured in daily newspapers. In their plea for support, they say Statistics Canada data shows bee colonies are actually growing, and that field research does not support claims that neonicotinoid pesticides cause bee colony health issues. They believe Ontarians are not hearing their side of the story. So, they’ve put pen to paper to try to build support for their efforts.
However, one group that didn’t add its name was the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. In a recent weekly commentary, board member Peter Peeters noted that for the first time in a long time, rural Ontario is bereft of elected members inside the provincial legislature, working on farmers’ behalf. He says this means the legislature won’t farmers need to approach government with an extended hand, rather than a clenched fist. They need to engage in dialogue, adapt strategies and policies to capture decision-maker’s interest, and support scientific facts
Most farmers agree with Peeters on one thing: research-based decisions must be the order of the day. A key here is to be able to explain them clearly, without hysteria, and that responsibility falls on everyone. Reaching out to the public through the media in a responsible manner is a tactic that can help information get to those who want it and need it. From my perch, the government needs farmers more than ever. So do all Ontarians.