John Cowan, Peter Franck and Archie Wilson have all made a significant impact on the Canadian seed industry and are being recognized for their efforts.

The noted self-help author Robert Collier once wrote: “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.” That’s the story of John Cowan, Peter Franck and Archie Wilson.

The Canadian Seed Trade Association awards Cowan with Honourary Life Membership, recognizing a lifetime of dedication and volunteer work for the seed industry in Canada and for CSTA.

For nearly four decades, Cowan has worked to promote the seed industry. He started in 1977 with Hyland Seeds in Blenheim, Ont., and became general manager in 1997. Under his leadership, Hyland Seeds became a leading developer of corn, soybean and wheat genetics.

Cowan served on CSTA’s Board of Directors for 10 years and was president in 2005-06. He helped create the External Relations Work Group and participated in numerous committees. Cowan has been a true champion of the industry.

Delivering Innovation

Franck is one man who has continually delivered innovative products to the marketplace. As such Germination, in partnership with CSTA, honour his achievements with the 2016 Canadian Plant Breeding and Genetics Award.

Franck is a third-generation seedsman from Germany. He’s spent his career focused on plant breeding and crop improvement. Fortunately, wheat caught his attention early.

“Wheat is the No. 1 crop worldwide,” he explains. “After the Second World War, I saw the wheat shortage in Europe, which hit Germany especially hard. Germany was importing a high-quality wheat, called ‘Manitoba wheat.’  It was a hard red spring wheat.” It was this exposure that helped lead his efforts to create improved wheat varieties.

Peter Bonis of Seed-link Inc., explains that Franck’s work encompassed both Eastern and Western Canada and includes spring and winter wheat, spring and winter triticale and barley with registrations in all of these kinds and classes. “His varieties have found favour with distributors and grain growers,” Bonis says.

Going the Extra Mile

Wilson is the recipient of CSTA’s Seed Achievement Award. He has served two terms on the International Seed Federation’s board, where he was also a member of the Field Crops Section.

“Under Archie’s leadership, CSTA has become a leader within ISF when it comes to industry collaboration, particularly in the area of value capture for plant breeding and variety development, and efforts to promote the use of Certified seed,” says Dave Baute, president of Maizex Seeds Inc.

At the national level, Wilson who serves as general manager for Palmerston Grain sat on CSTA’s board for two consecutive three-year terms, providing guidance on a number of issues.

In 2007, Wilson was appointed by the board to serve on the newly formed External Relations Work Group. Even after his time on the board expired, Wilson continued this work and was also an active member of the Intellectual Property and the Value Chain work groups.

Outside of CSTA, one might find Wilson at career fairs, in classrooms and meeting with youth to promote the seed industry and broader agricultural sector.

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