The conversation continues….
On September 1, 2020, Corey Beck, Chairman of the ASB Provincial Committee organized a meeting with the Jake Kotowich, Executive Director of the Crop Health and Assurance Branch, and Krista Zuzak, Chief Provincial Plant Health Officer to discuss the deregulation of Fusarium graminearum. Krista presented a thorough overview of the multi-year Fusarium monitoring results and the deregulation consultation process. She highlighted some of the challenges to the developing resistant varieties and management strategies were inadvertently created by having Fusarium regulated. Alberta was the only jurisdiction in North America to regulate Fusarium and there was strong industry pressure to de-regulate.
There was good dialog between the ministry staff and the ASB staff and councilors regarding the challenges faced by municipalities with the deregulation. Discussion centered on how the Weed Control Act (WCA), Agriculture Pest Act (APA) and the Agriculture Service Board Act (ASBA) work in regards to surveillance and monitoring activities around regulated and unregulated pests. It was agreed there was some ambiguity regarding the wording related to the authority of municipal inspectors to enter land to proactively inspect for new and emerging pests rather than re-actively inspect for known pests. in This discussion is expected to continue, and some municipalities are looking into creating bylaws to clarify the issue.
Everyone agreed there was a need for continued support for monitoring and surveillance activities regardless of Fusarium’s status in the act. Meanwhile the Alberta Wheat Commission has created a website dedicated to the management of Fusarium, in addition to the resources available on the KeepingItClean website.