Some growers are calling on the federal government to regulate the amount of peony fertilizers available to farmers.
But the National Farmers Union says it’s time for the federal environment minister to step in.
NFU spokesperson Sarah O’Shea said she thinks it’s a good idea to have some oversight.
“You have to have regulation,” she said.
“And the first thing that comes to mind is, what’s the best use of that fertilizer?
And the answer is, you want to know the best amount of fertilizer for the farmer.”NFU says a lot of the farmers it works with don’t want to be regulated.
But it’s the province and territory that is responsible for oversight of what happens with fertilizers in their fields.
Farmers are being told they need to apply the minimum amount of fertilizers they need for the crops they’re growing.
The NFU says the federal regulations, while effective, can only address what farmers are told by a licensed agronomist.
“It doesn’t necessarily tell farmers how much fertilizer to apply,” O’Hea said.
She said the government should consider regulation that would allow producers to determine the optimal amount of soil, plant size and soil fertility for their crops.
“It would make a difference,” she added.
Soil tests and other tests are required by farmers when applying fertilizers to their fields, but O’ Shea said the federal guidelines don’t cover these tests.
“What they don’t say is what happens when the soil is removed, when the test is done,” she explained.
“The farmers don’t know that.”
O’Sheo said farmers who aren’t using fertilizers are often paying extra for the chemicals and other nutrients that are being sprayed.
“Farmers who are not using fertilizer are paying $40 to $60 more per year to grow a certain crop than if they were using fertilizer,” she noted.
O.P. has a similar issue with the Ontario fertilizers regulation.
“If you have a farmer who’s using a lot, who’s not using any of the products that are required to be in their program, you know that they’re going to have a lower yield,” O.P.’s O’Reilly said.
The federal government has been considering regulating peony and other fertilizers since 2013, but the industry and agriculture groups have fought it tooth and nail.NFU president and CEO Brian Kephart said he’s hopeful the government will consider regulating peonies.
“I think that if you have something that’s not required in the federal program, we’ll consider that,” he said.
“The issue here is, are we going to regulate them or are we not going to?”‘
I can’t get into any further details’NFU spokesman Sarah O”Shea agreed with O’Hera.
“We have to be able to put the information out there for the public.
We don’t have any further information on that.”
O’Reilly and O’Shannon are also worried about peony contamination.
“When I go to the farmers market, I’ve never seen anything like that, where you’re seeing peonies that were contaminated,” O”Shannon said.
“I can understand that it’s very difficult to get the information that is out there, but it seems like a lot more than what we’ve seen so far.”