Key issue: Crop protection
Section Chair: Charles Stevens
The OFVGA recognizes changing public attitudes towards the use of crop protection and supports the safe and responsible use of these products.
OFVGA works closely with organizations such as Farm & Food Care who advocate this same responsible approach.
Members of OFVGA's crop protection section committee deal with a variety of issues affecting crop protection, including registrations and availability of products, relations with the federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency, identifying research needs, grower education and certification and ensuring a science-based approach to crop protection regulation.
Crop protection issues the OFVGA is currently involved with:
New pests that threaten fruit and vegetable crops are constantly emerging. Some of the latest are:
Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) is an invasive vinegar or small fruit fly from Asia that was first identified in California in 2008 and has spread rapidly through North America’s fruit-producing regions. Most small fruit flies lay their eggs in damaged or decaying fruit but SWD attacks healthy, immature fruit that is just beginning to ripen. This means that eggs or larvae can be found in affected fruit at harvest, such as tender fruit and berry crops, as well as some grape varieties. There are many wild hosts as well, like dogwood, yew and honeysuckle, making SWD a landscape-level pest.
The populations grow with the season, so late-harvest crops like fall raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and day-neutral strawberries can be at a higher risk. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) began surveying for SWD presence in Ontario in 2011.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug comes from Asia and is already causing damage in the United States, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey etc. It has many different hosts, including field and horticulture crops. Through monitoring in Ontario, it has been found in Hamilton, London, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Essex and Newboro near Kingston as mainly homeowner finds. BMSB likes to overwinter in houses in adult stage. OMAFRA is watching it closely and a monitoring project is underway.
For more information on emerging pests: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/insects/insects.html
Grower Requested Own Use (GROU) program
GROU (Grower Requested Own Use) is a federal government program that allows growers to import the US version of Canadian-registered crop protection products for their own use should they be available in the US at a lower price than in Canada.
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) evaluates all nominated products to determine their eligibility for the program. The GROU Nomination Committee selects high priority products and requests that PMRA make them available for import.
Once a product has been approved for import, growers must submit an application for a GROU Import Certificate along with the container label and proof of participation in an acceptable container disposal program to the PMRA prior to being able to bring it into Canada. GROU products can only be purchased and imported by growers for their own use on their land and for one growing season only.
For more information, including a list of products approved under the program: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pest/agri-commerce/import/_grou-piapda/index-eng.php
Several years ago, the Regulatory Co-operation Council (RCC) launched a process to harmonize regulatory processes for crop protection products between Canada and the United States is ongoing. This would give growers on both sides of the border equal access to products.
The OFVGA and the Canadian Horticultural Council adopted the following definition for a North American label that they feel is reflective of the intent of the RCC process: A common Canada-United States label on all new actives thereby giving growers of Canada and the USA equal access to all new registrations at the same time on the same crops with the same restrictions with the same MRLs and with Canada-United States access.
In 2014, the Canadian Pesticide Advisory Committee has been working on developing action plans for implementation of regulatory harmonization between Canada and the United States. Fourteen topics are being addressed and a sub-committee worked on proposals for each topic with respect to implementation.
The Ontario government has launched consultations with respect to upcoming legislation to restrict the use of neonicotinoid by farmers starting in 2016.
OFVGA is responding through Farm & Food Care and Farm Action Now.
Click here for the OFVGA submission to the Environmental Bill of Rights regarding pollinator health and neonicotinoid pesticides.
More information about the consultations is available here: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/pollinator/meeting-reg.htm
Canadian bee health fact sheet: http://www.farmfoodcare.org/images/pdfs/BeeHealthfactsheet.pdf
The re-evaluation of crop protection products the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is ongoing. The CHC Crop Protection Committee works to submit responses to each product re-evaluation with respect to the importance of the product in question to the industry and how the product is applied in edible horticulture.
The OFVGA’s response has been focused on toxicological perspectives with regards to worker exposure platforms and has been meeting with PMRA on this issue as it relates to re-evaluation of crop protection products.