Protected Agriculture Standard: Important Information about Dye Test Audits for Growers

We’ve written before about the National Protected Agriculture Standard and what it means for greenhouse floriculture growers. The standard, which is administered by CropLife Canada, comes into effect January 1, 2024. The goal is to keep plant protection products where they are applied.

In order to purchase pesticides going forward, your farm will need to be certified under the program as of January 1, 2024. All greenhouse growers who self-identify as having a recirculating (closed-loop) irrigation system need to register and complete an audit by December 31, 2023 to be certified. Open system growers will need to obtain an exemption in order to continue purchasing products. Greenhouse grown cut flowers and hoop houses that do not recirculate their water are currently out of scope, but they will be added to the standard in the near future.

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Proposed Protected Agriculture Stewardship Standards are Open for Comment

Over the last several years, CropLife Canada and various grower groups have been working to develop a certification program for greenhouses and other protected agriculture producers to reduce the risk of nutrients and pest management products leaving the farm with irrigation water. This work was initiated after imidacloprid was found in high levels in some waterways in Ontario and British Columbia. A draft was released in 2020 for public consultation, and feedback has been incorporated into the latest draft which is now available for comment.

Growers that use recirculating flood floors will be captured under the new certification program.

The first stage of the proposed water standard affects greenhouse producers who have recirculating irrigation systems. All growers who self-identify as having a closed-loop irrigation system will need to have passed an audit by December 31, 2023. You can find details on the specific definition of closed-loop in the proposed standard, but generally it includes growers with recirculating systems such as flood floors, flood benches and troughs. All greenhouse growers with these irrigation systems will need to be certified under the program – by successfully completing an audit, or by completing a self declaration indicating that their farm has an open irrigation system– by December 31, 2023.  If a farm has not taken either of these measures, they may be prevented from purchasing pesticides for use in their greenhouses.

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