Lloydminster and area farmers are encouraged to drop off any unwanted or expired pesticides and livestock/equine medications for free disposal on Oct. 5 at the Lloydminster Co-op south location.
The program is being headed by CleanFARMS, a national, industry-led agricultural waste stewardship group, in partnership with CropLife Canada and the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI).
“It’s a disposal program primarily focused on farmers,” said Russel Hurst, director of obsolete collections with CleanFARMS. “Over the course of time, farmers will inevitably have some obsolete or unwanted pesticides that they accumulate. The same thing from a livestock medication standpoint.”
Hurst says in many cases, farmers will have pesticides they no longer have use for due to products being replaced, having been frozen, crop types being changed or products being deregistered. About half of the products collected are in excess of 25 years old, so Hurst says this program provides a great opportunity to get rid any pesticides farmers have had sitting in their sheds.
“Typically it sits around and that’s ultimately why we’re seeing product that is decades old. It’s the nature. If there’s no reasonable way to get rid of it, it sort of sits around in their shed. What they could do is pay a hazardous waste company to come pick the waste up and send it for disposal but in some cases that gets fairly expensive,” he said.
“So depending on the individual, that could be a deterrent to disposing of products. What we do is offer a free program, you just have to take your product to the specific collection site on the day we’re doing the collection. We’ve got a waste crew there that will safely handle it for all the farmers.”
The free program is done in each Canadian province every three years, with the exception of Saskatchewan, which is done over a two-year period due to the province’s size. Hurst says it’s too much to handle logistically, so the program was carried out in the southern half of Saskatchewan last fall with 20 collection sites and the stewardship groups are now covering the northern half of the province with 20 sites in the area.
The program has been running since 1998 and has collected over two-million kilograms of pesticide countrywide. In Saskatchewan specifically, over 400,000 kilograms have been disposed of and everything that gets picked up is then sent for high temperature incineration.
“This is a really good free opportunity. The next time that we are going to be back in the northern half of Saskatchewan is going to be three years. So if they have product, this is a really good opportunity to get rid of it now.”
This year also marks the first time for the livestock medication disposal part of the program in Northern Saskatchewan and Hurst says he would like to acknowledge the livestock animal health and pharmaceutical sector for getting on board and showing leadership in the initiative.