I’m pleased to say our annual meeting held in Halifax, N.S., in July was a massive success. Not only did we have a great turnout, we got a lot accomplished as an association. We presented several new undertakings, and gave those present insight into where the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association is at right now and where’s it’s going over the next 12 months and beyond.
If you weren’t there, or even if you were and could use a little refresher, allow me to shed some light on these initiatives and what they mean for seed growers and our industry as a whole.
Modernizing Circular 6
The Canadian Regulations and Procedures for Pedigreed Seed Crop Production manual
— also known as Circular 6 — was updated for 2017 in regard to industrial hemp standards, wheat varietal purity standards and pulse varietal purity standards. New standards for quinoa are forthcoming.
We have set up working groups to advise CSGA on key areas impacted by Circular 6. Each working group will look at ways of modernizing it as a document, including developing a Circular 6 Quick Reference Tool.
Currently, Circular 6 is available as a PDF or as a printed document, but most people are looking for information that appears on only a few pages. Information on the production of a specific crop type and class is spread out. Without familiarity, it can be difficult to extract the correct information.
The tool will present only the regulations for a specific crop and pedigreed class of seed at a time, and will be built to allow for integration with CSGA’s variety description database. Stay tuned.
A Single-Window System: Thinking Collectively and Connectedly
As part of the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project to design a next-generation seed system for the country, CSGA has committed to a number of objectives designed to achieve this vision. Among them is our vision of a single-window CSGA certification system, where seed industry facilities/services are available in one location and intended to:
- Simplify processes;
- Reduce burden and cost to end users and the system;
- Eliminate duplicate and redundant data requirements/processes;
- Break down information silos; and
- Expedite information flow and decision-making.
As we envision the future, a CSGA certification should provide access to the current services CSGA offers, but also include connections to seed testing, seed establishment certification, post-harvest certification, information on best management practices and more.
A project plan must still be developed. Shared understanding of what is technically possible in this regard will enhance the Seed Synergy plan for a next-generation seed system. The sooner we begin to collectively discuss what our priorities should be, the sooner we will see results.
Supporting Members Through Education and Training
CSGA is looking to enhance the professionalism of the seed industry by offering more education and training options. Members and industry have asked for training/education to:
- Support members in their efforts to understand and meet regulatory requirements to contribute to the success of seed businesses;
- Increase knowledge and compliance with good practices;
- Educate hired farm help on good practices for a seed business; and
- Provide better onboarding to new seed growers to help them succeed in the industry and encourage succession.
At the end of this initiative, CSGA will have national occupational standards in both official languages for seed growers for various positions on seed farms along with competency profiles listing what is needed to do the job.
There’s a lot coming down the pipe, so stay tuned to this space for announcements in the months ahead, and watch seedgrowers.ca for the minutes of our 2017 annual meeting.