Industry Working Group Says Provincial Government’s Approach To Management Over Regulation Of Fusarium Head Blight Will Improve Competitiveness For Alberta Farmers

(June 3, 2020) - Value chain partners in the industry-led Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) working group today welcomed the provincial government’s news that lays the foundation for better FHB management and improved competitiveness for Alberta farmers.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen announced that Fusarium graminearum (Fg) is being removed from the Pest Nuisance Control Regulation of the Agricultural Pests Act.

The working group, which consists of value-chain partners from primary producers to global bioscience companies and other stakeholders, has long advocated for this shift from regulatory control to a province-wide approach that promotes the extension and education of best management practices. The working group maintains that not only will this approach enable sustainable FHB mitigation, but also that a regulatory change is a success for government, farmers and industry.

As part of the campaign to mitigate FHB through extension and education, the commissions, in collaboration with the working group, are developing a website called, ‘Let’s Manage It!’ that will serve as a one-stop resource aimed at FHB mitigation, while providing a roadmap for industry-wide FHB management. This website will compile information on best management practices that farmers can learn from and implement on their own operations as needed.

The commissions look forward to launching the website in the coming days at www.manageFHB.ca.

Quotes

“This news has been a long time coming,” said Todd Hames, Alberta Wheat Commission Chair. “FHB is well-established in Alberta and since it’s spread through air-borne spores, we know that zero tolerance policies are not effective. We welcome this regulatory shift that better reflects the reality facing farmers and appreciate Minister Dreeshen’s dedication to breaking down this regulatory barrier so that we can move ahead with improved competitiveness.”

“Alberta Seed Processors has been asking for regulatory reform for years,” said Tom Coppock, President of Alberta Seed Processors. “The legislative amendment will allow farmers to focus on real risk factors to better manage the disease. Using high quality seed that has been tested by an accredited laboratory is still one of many important FHB mitigation tools that farmers will continue to utilize. Alberta Seed Processors will continue to work with the crop value chain in FHB mitigation efforts. Let’s manage it.”

“The ‘Let’s Manage It!’ website aligns with the government’s shift away from regulatory control and will help farmers take action,” said Dave Bishop, Alberta Barley Chair. “FHB has become a challenge in all regions of Alberta, but we can control its spread by how we manage our operations. I know farmers will appreciate being able to find everything they need right at their fingertips to keep this disease at bay.”

“As seed growers, we are very pleased with this announcement from Minister Dreeshen and the provincial government,” said Alberta Seed Growers’ president Renee Hoyme. “By shifting to a science-based collaborative effort to address fusarium, we can encourage industry investment in research and broaden our range of prevention and disease management techniques.”

“The Canadian Seed Trade Association has long advocated for a removal of fusarium as a pest as it will be the most effective way for industry to promote management systems; encourage research, investment and innovation; and allow Alberta farmers to stay competitive with their counterparts in other jurisdictions,” says Georges Chaussé, CSTA President. “We would like to thank the Government of Alberta for its leadership."