For the past several years, the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association has been focused on educating end users about the importance of Certified seed. Although these efforts are needed to increase a demand-pull, we also realize that the entire value chain must understand the benefits of Certified seed.
Ag retailers are important players in the value chain. They are often the first, trusted voice seed buyers go to, so it’s critical for retailers to understand what goes into Certified seed, and the benefits it can bring to a farm.
Understanding the benefits of the certification system will help empower seed retailers and allow them to, in turn, educate their customers about purchasing options and risk management tools for their farm.
These benefits include taking advantage of innovation and opportunity, maximizing return on investment of inputs, quality assurance, traceability and value. For instance, during the past 30 years, plant breeding has helped drive a 50 per cent increase in the productivity of major crops.
Certified seed ensures farmers get all the agronomic and yield benefits of the newest varieties.
In conversations with the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers (CAAR), CSGA’s board discovered that they also wanted to better communicate the value of Certified seed to their members.
Learning at the Click of a Mouse
Thus, an eLearning module called “Investing in Certified Seed” was launched in February and is available online at caar.org. Certified Crop Advisers who complete the 30-minute course can earn half a continuing education unit under the crop management category. The course costs $10 for CSGA and CAAR members and $15 for non-members.
“By getting a full understanding of the quality assurance, innovation, traceability and return on investment that Canadian farmers receive when they purchase Certified seed, agri-retailers will be in a better position to both understand it as a product and recommend it to their grower customers,” says Lynda Nicol, who serves as CAAR’s communications and membership manager.
Many seed growers are retailers and will benefit from this program. We’ve also heard from seed companies that there is at times a communications gap often exists between the seed production and seed retailing divisions within a company.
Bridging the Gap
This eLearning tool helps to bridge that gap and further the entire value chain’s understanding of our Certified seed system. It ultimately helps the industry as a whole be able to better articulate the benefits and importance of Certified seed.
Participants of the Investing in Certified Seed eLearning module will explore how Certified seed is produced, how it delivers quality assurance, how to assess the value of Certified seed compared to bin-run or common seed and how retailers can help growers understand the return on investment from purchasing Certified seed.
Other topics include the role it plays in bringing crop innovation and opportunity to growers, as well as in managing risk and maintaining markets for Canadian-grown crops.
Through educational initiatives such as this, we are preparing our industry for the future. We are working to build the skills of the seed persons of the future.
To learn more about the program and to participate, visit caar.org.