To provide solutions to an increasingly global and innovative agricultural sector, the Canadian Seed Trade Association must engage in activities that foster a strong, vibrant seed sector with opportunities for its members to thrive.

Strategic planning is the key to positioning CSTA for today and for the future. CSTA undertakes comprehensive strategic planning every five years, and in the years in between, takes time to review the plan, makes any necessary adjustments, and updates specific measures of success. 2015 was such a year.

CSTA’s strategic plan for 2016 and beyond was approved by the board of directors Feb. 3, and positions CSTA to continue in its current directions and to explore innovative ways to grow the value of the seed sector. The plan is based on five key strategic goals, which are essential to CSTA delivering the directions set out by members:

1. Open trade;

2. Increased investment in innovation;

3. Industry-wide voice;

4. Efficient regulatory system; and

5. Stakeholder and public perception of innovation and agriculture.

Defined measures of success, which set out specific results and deadlines of when they are expected to be achieved, will indicate how the organization is keeping on track.

Feedback Key in Planning

CSTA surveyed its 125 member companies to learn their “on the ground” opinions to better understand the challenges and opportunities they see for CSTA. Overall, more than 90 per cent of respondents to the survey found the current strategic directions to be very important or somewhat important to their work.

CSTA was also found to be very effective or effective in achieving its goals, but more can be done to raise stakeholder and public perception of innovation and agriculture. As a result of this feedback, the 2016 strategic plan focuses additional resources on this objective. The board of directors has also made a commitment to increase communication with members about the strategic plan. Watch this column and Trade Winds Weekly for updates as the strategic plan is brought to life.

Moving Forward

CSTA’s staff and members are actively delivering the plan. They will regularly report their progress against performance measures such as:

• Increased engagement with governments on an efficient regulatory system;

• Harmonized seed and intellectual property protection policies through active involvement with the International Seed Federation and Seed Association of the Americas;

• Continued outreach and education across the value chain on Plant Breeders’ Rights and other priorities; and

• Ongoing collaboration with stakeholders to position Canada as favourable for investment in seed innovation.

These activities, combined with ongoing strategic planning, strong leadership from the board of directors and actively engaged members, will succeed in positioning CSTA as the primary voice for the seed industry, fulfilling its mission: to foster seed industry inovation and trade.

CSTA members can read the strategic plan behind the member login at, or contact Crosby Devitt, executive director, at to learn more.

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