Canadian Seed Industry Representatives Convene to Discuss Issues

Today (July 14, 2014), the Canadian Seed Trade Association welcomed more than 350 attendees to its 91st Annual Convention in Banff, Alta.

Peter Entz, CSTA 2013-14 president, opened the meeting with a brief update of CSTA’s activities and issues during the past year. Entz explains that during his presidency and in becoming more intimate with the inner workings of CSTA, he’s learned three things.

“The first is CSTA’s role in international policy,” Entz says. “The rest of the world respects the Canadian position on a lot of issues and on some issues, we lead the discussion.

“Additionally, the diversity of issues the CSTA staff deals with is tremendous. Prior to becoming president, I was more interested in the issues that affected me.” Entz says the staff is being asked to do more and more and they continue to push the envelope.

“And lastly, some of the practices our growers use are coming into question by the general public,” he says. “We have to make sure we keep people focused on science, keep people focused on why we do certain things and continue to be transparent and have an educational slant on how we address issues. That’s only going to become more and more important and we need to make sure that we are fully engaged.”

A few of the issues CSTA has been actively engaged with include pollinator health, Bill C-18, value capture and increasing international trade of seed.

“We’ve been actively involved in the discussion around bee health, primarily in the provinces of Ontario and Québec,” Entz says. “We’re keeping tabs on that as the issue evolves and want government decisions to be based on science, even though there’s pressure to do otherwise.”

Additionally, Entz explains that CSTA has been working as part of a group called Partners in Innovation, which is designed to educate stakeholders about Bill C-18 and provides facts and figures to government from a seed industry perspective.

“Aside from that, we’ve been involved with a group on a value-capture model for capturing royalties on seed, outside of the traditional collection model,” Entz says. “We are facilitating a group of the value chain to come up with some options to consider and we’ll be discussing that here at the meeting.”

At the international level, Entz reports that the association is working to build better trade options for those in the seed industry so that they have relatively unrestricted trade of seed globally.

Entz says that CSTA strives to be a transparent organization and works to keep members informed through its Trade Winds email.

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