Germination presents a series of stories on the 20 most influential people in the seed sector in 2018. Want to nominate someone for 2019? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Top 20 nomination”!
Developing a brand is no easy task. There’s a lot involved, and no one knows that better than Jeff Reid.
The former researcher sits at the helm of SeCan as its general manager, and in a world where the corporate sphere often dominates, he has taken the SeCan brand to unprecedented heights and helped farmers across the country access the latest genetics and newest varieties.
SeCan is the largest supplier of certified seed to Canadian farmers and currently offers seed for the widest range of crop types in its history.
(Hear Jeff Reid speak about what he feels makes SeCan such an important presence in Canada.)
“Our members are people who are invested heavily in rural communities — they have a lot of skin in the game,” he says. “When we go to create new partnerships with public institutions and producer groups, that resonates well with the fact we’re representing a broad sector of the private seed industry across Canada.”
Reid got involved in the seed sector in 1987, working for Cargill when the company was still in the hybrid corn breeding business. He moved to C&M Seeds in Western Ontario, starting in research and branching out into marketing, management and sales. He helped develop the red wheat industry in Ontario. Until then, all the hard red wheat was grown exclusively in Western Canada.
The move to SeCan brought him full circle. He now oversees both the development of new varieties and the subsequent marketing of them to growers. For Reid, success is putting together a team of high-functioning people who can get the job done and keep SeCan at the forefront of variety development and marketing.
“When we think of how new breeding techniques will change the landscape, there are a lot of balls for us to keep our eyes on at any given time. A great thing about this team at SeCan is many of us have been involved in both R&D and, at the other end of the spectrum, customer service. There are a lot of things coming together in terms of technology and policy in the next five to 10 years that will have remarkable impacts on the seed industry, and we’ll be ready,” he says.
(Jeff Reid speaks about some of the biggest challenges facing the seed sector today.)