Western provinces are concerned about a federal regulatory agency’s decision that could have a detrimental effect on crops. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has changed approved uses of lambda-cyhalothrin, used in the control of grasshoppers and flea beetles. The regulatory body dictates that the product can’t be used on crops that will be used as livestock feed, and as a result, manufacturers have ceased distributing their product in western Canada.
Dry areas in western Saskatchewan and Alberta will likely be subject to the ravages of the pests this growing season without any preventative protection because of the decision. For canola producers, it means there’s no market for their crops as feed for cattle and lambs. A provincial release also indicates it could impact total food production in a time of world food insecurity.
"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," Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Nate Horner said. "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."
"Without access to effective insecticides, Saskatchewan producers are at risk of being placed at a competitive disadvantage and will be facing significant losses," Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit said. "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."
The report notes that 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 in American sources.
Minister Horner and Minister 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 immediately, which would also give the agency time to make a more informed decision.