Provinces urge agency to reconsider pesticide ruling
February 27, 2023 By Top Crop Manager
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (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.
“Without access to effective insecticides, Saskatchewan producers are at risk of being placed at a competitive disadvantage and will be facing significant losses,” says David Marit, Saskatchewan minister of agriculture. “Saskatchewan supports industry’s calls for an extension to the lambda-cyhalothrin re-evaluation decision to alleviate pressure on producers and help ensure a stable supply of feed for livestock.”
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.
Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Nate Horner and 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.
“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,” says Horner. “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.”