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Jun 24

Let’s Manage It: What does deregulation mean?

Posted on Jun 24 By: Megan Evans

On June 03, 2020 Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Devin Dreeshen signed a ministerial order to remove Fusarium graminearum (Fg) from the Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation of the associated Alberta Agricultural Pests Act (APA). This change will mean that Fg will no longer be subject to the zero-tolerance policy stipulated by the act. While the previous regulations allowed for municipalities to establish their own policies surrounding Fg, few policies had been formalized and the province had been lacking cohesion with the regulatory framework, which was viewed as a singular approach which distracted for the need of a collaborative focus on mitigation and management strategies.

Fg originally became a declared pest under the APA in 1999 with the aim of helping prevent the introduction and spread of Fg in the province. Nonetheless, Fg has since become endemic in several regions of the province such that a regulatory approach is no longer effective.

By bringing regulations in line with the realities of the establishment of Fg in the province, as well as the evolution in the understanding of the pathology of the spread of the disease, there can be a renewed focus on encouraging transparency, awareness and promotion of critical best management practices to support and mitigate its’ continual spread. It will give Alberta farmers more tools (i.e. BMPs, enhanced access to genetics, etc.) to stay competitive with farmers in other jurisdictions by moving away from a focus a singular approach – and allowing farmers to make risk-based decisions based on their individual operations and risk tolerance.

In supporting this regulatory change, the Alberta Wheat and Barley commissions, in collaboration with industry partners, have maintained that moving away from regulation must go hand in hand with an increased emphasis and focus on a total management system, focusing on integrated pest management as well as value chain wide collaboration to renew the fusarium management plan for the province. We believe that this will encourage research, investment, innovation and competitiveness for the benefit of Alberta wheat and barley farmers.

As such we have worked with industry partners over the last several years to propose an alternate, modernized framework for the management of FHB in the province. The proposed framework sees an emphasis put on implementing strategies under four main pillars which include: Education and extension, an associated communication strategy, surveillance and monitoring and research and development.

These strategies along with robust resources on best management practices have been laid out in a new web-portal entitled, ‘Let’s Manage It’ (www.managefhb.ca). Alberta Wheat and Barley in collaboration with industry partners across the entire value chain, are continuing to develop the site to serve as a guide to farmers on managing and mitigating fg as well as to illustrate the longer-term strategy for total FHB management in the province, that supports the needs of farmers.

On behalf of our farmers, Alberta Wheat and Barley are committed to continuing to engage with partners under the reformed Fusarium Action Committee, to build on the implementation of these strategies. 

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