Grain Farmers of Ontario Appeal of Neonic Ruling Dismissed by Province’s Highest Court
Neonicotinoids, or neonics, pesticides widely used in soybean and corn production, have been linked by researchers to the decline of bee and pollinator populations – a claim that many farmers refute. Nevertheless, the Province of Ontario, with 28,000 grain farmers cultivating more than six million acres, became the first region on the North American continent to take legal action, passing legislation that requires an 80% reduction in neonic use by 2017.
IFPress reports that industry group Grain Farmers of Ontario filed an appeal with the Ontario Court of Appeal, hoping for a reversal of the law, however, the court dismissed the appeal. In its ruling, the panel of three appeal court judges stated that “the regulation is not ambiguous and GFO has not identified a genuine dispute about the farmers’ right and obligations,” and noted, “Private litigants are not entitled to use the courts as an indirect method of altering public policy decisions, especially those involving the expenditure of public funds.”
Growers still contend that the elimination of neonics will hurt crop yields while having no positive affect upon bee populations, and although any further legal recourse on the part of Grain Farmers of Ontario has not yet been decided, the group has hired accounting firm BDO to prepare a report analyzing the economic and social impact that will occur over the next three years due to the new regulations.