On August 17, CHC President Keith Kuhl and Executive Director Rebecca Lee hosted a crop protection information tour of Quebec horticultural production facilities for staff of Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Pest Management Centre (PMC). The objective of the tour was to provide government staff involved in the evaluation and regulation of crop protection products and the coordination of minor use pesticides, the opportunity to increase their understanding of how growers manage horticultural crops and pests in greenhouse, orchard and field systems.
The first stop of the tour was at the greenhouse facility of Les Serres Lefort (Ste-Clotilde), a producer of organic peppers and cucumbers and hydroponic lettuce on 12 ha of production area. Tour participants were informed of the technology used in the facility and were required to observe the extensive biosecurity procedures that are in place to limit the introduction of pests into the facility. Following lunch at Phillion Ecological Orchard (Hemmingford) provided by VegPro International and l’Association des producteurs maraîchers du Québec, participants visited the apple and pear orchard to gain a grower’s perspective of the impact of the proposed PMRA re-evaluation decisions, in particular, captan. This discussion was linked to post-application activities and the minimal exposure of workers in modern high density orchard plantings. The tour concluded at VegPro International (Sherrington) with a visit to field production sites of young leaf lettuce (“mesculan”), onions and other vegetables. A discussion of integrated pest management including disease monitoring and science-based forecasting based on modelling and spore trapping was highlighted during this visit.
The CHC crop protection information tour provided an excellent opportunity for CHC members and staff to interact with 37 key government officials that have direct involvement in the regulation of crop protection products and the associated decisions that impact horticultural producers in Canada. At the same time, the tour provided the opportunity for officials to gain a deeper understanding of the production challenges facing growers and their use of technology and the integrated approaches used to manage pests in a sustainable system.