INSIDERSSeed Health & TestingFare Thee Well to CSAAC and a Happy Hello to Seeds Canada

Fare Thee Well to CSAAC and a Happy Hello to Seeds Canada


As a member of the Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC), it’s a bittersweet occasion for me to say goodbye to an association that has served its members faithfully for over 75 years.

CSAAC and it’s outstanding founding members of the past paved the way for seed analysts in Canada to be seen as the true professionals they are today.

As I’ve said before in this very space, the seed analyst might be the most overlooked person in the ag industry. We perform hugely important tasks behind desks, where we perform what’s considered low-key tasks. That’s the part of the job that most people see.

What they don’t see is what happens in the off-season, and what those analysts have often done to get where they are and be a valuable resource for customers. We are consultants, advisors and above all extremely proficient in understanding what happened to your seed.

Analysts spend a lot of time with customers and a lot of time in the field. I have combined, seeded and worked in seed cleaning plants. Analysts understand the process from start to finish. A truly experienced analyst knows what a seed looks like not just by examining it in the lab, but also by seeing it grow in the field.

It’s invaluable knowledge that helps them do their jobs to the utmost of their ability. An experienced analyst will know a seed from the beginning of its life to the end, what health problems it can face and in what situations — something growers don’t often notice themselves as they go about their busy days.

Good seed analysts know their customers and what they want, and how that translates into what happens in the field. This goes over-and-above the formal certification training they undergo to be a certified analyst.

Our profession is so crucial to this industry. For over 75 years we have been a part of a small association that despite having a proud history and many accomplishments, needs to be a part of the Seeds Canada.

Despite CSAAC no longer existing in name, we want to evolve into the new national seed organization. Seed analysts clearly want to be part of a larger, deeper talent pool and resources which will open up new opportunities and ensure we are more influential than we have ever been.

Sarah Foster
President and Senior Seed Analyst, 20/20 Seed Labs - Sarah Foster is a registered seed technologist, senior seed analyst and president of 20/20 Seed Labs — a company she started in 1989 that provides testing services for all crop kinds, including extensive quality and seed health analysis, molecular testing and accredited crop inspection. Involved in the seed industry since the late 1970s, Foster studied and qualified as an accredited seed analyst at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany in Cambridge, England. Her work experience includes seven years with Sharps Seed International (Advanta) in the United Kingdom, and five years with the United Grain Growers in Edmonton after immigrating to Canada in 1984.