Do organizations believe issues will go away if ignored?


It has been more than a month since I contacted Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) (Manitoba's main farm lobby group) to comment on my story, Is agriculture’s toxic hold turning into a death grip, printed in Rivers Banner on Aug. 15. I reported on new research showing that insecticides, widely used on crops in this province and elsewhere, were associated with declines in populations of birds which eat insects. The chemicals, members of the "neonicotinoid" family, are the same ones which have for some time, also been linked to large and significant declines in populations of pollinators, especially honeybees. The vast majority of conventional farmers, many of whom are believed to belong to KAP, sow seeds treated with "neonics," described as the most widely-used insecticide in the world.


I asked whether KAP, which describes itself as "Manitoba's general farm policy organization," feels any sense of responsibility for what seems to be escalating problems with the toxicity of the products in question. I addressed my request to no less than six officials of the farm organization. Not one has responded!

I made the same request of Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), which claims to be "a voice for 200,000 farm families at the national level." Like KAP, CFA did not respond, either!

What are Canadians to make of this? That the producers they represent do not care about the environment? 

I find this hard to believe. I've known many farmers over the years who claim to take their role as stewards of the land very seriously. So, are these organizations not doing justice to their members? 

Until they come clean and begin publicly confronting pressing issues such as this, head-on, I guess we'll all just have to keep wondering.

Larry Powell, Neepawa