Ontario farmers rely on pesticide ban exemption
Posted By NICKI CRUICKSHANK
Posted 3 hours ago
Ontario’s pesticide ban isn’t bugging everyone in Simcoe County.
While it has halted residents from freeing their lawns of weeds and bugs, area farmers are still free to spray their fields.
“We’re not banned from pesticide use. The ban is just for cosmetic use, not for farming,” said Dave Riddell, past president of the Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture. “We’re exempt because we’re growing food. Vegetables can be sprayed, and everybody’s already sprayed their winter wheat. The spring wheat they’ll start spraying now.”
Under the ban regulations, exemptions are listed, including agricultural use.
Ontario farmers already have stringent rules to adhere to for use, handling, storage and application of pesticides, and these rules will continue.
Riddell said although some residents might feel it unfair for farmers to be exempt from the ban, the alternative wouldn’t be pretty.
“If we couldn’t spray our crops, the public would have to get used to having their food that we grow not looking so great, and there being less crops,” he said, noting that pesticides help protect the growth and multiplication of crops in the fields.
Riddell said he knows some people don’t agree with farmers using pesticides. But there’s something surrounding pesticides that bothers him.
“What angers us in the farm community is everyone looks down on us for spraying,” he said, “but there’s produce coming in from other countries that are sprayed with pesticides that are banned from use here. How is this allowed?”