Seed testing is an integral part of our system. Nowhere is that made clearer than in the recently released Seed Synergy green paper.
CSAAC is a small group, and over the years we have worked hard to build our reputation. Seed testing is an important part of the seed industry and I would like to point out how it fits into the six pillars outlined in the Seed Synergy green paper.
- Research and Development: Countless companies that do important work in developing new products for the market hire CSAAC members to measure seed quality. Doing so is fundamental to ensuring their research is accurate.
- Market Entry and Commercialization: The green paper proposes a leadership role for the sector in setting cutting-edge standards and ensuring processes make sense for users. CSAAC currently proposes changes to the seed testing standards to meet the needs of the market and we evaluate the rules to ensure that they meet the needs of the industry. CSAAC will continue to play a crucial role in these areas and our hopes are that the next generation seed system will allow these changes to be made more efficiently and quickly to benefit the whole Canadian seed sector.
- Production and Processing: The green paper proposes a modernized pedigreed seed system that will facilitate an increase in pedigreed seed use. Production and processing is about ensuring that the identity and quality of the seed crop is preserved throughout the production and processing cycles. These cycles cannot be completed without seed testing. Along with this there is also the potential for increased pedigreed seed use which will require testing by CSAAC members.
- Sales and Distribution: An important part of the green paper is a proposal to strengthen and expand the traceability that is today a core of the pedigreed seed system, to all seed sold in Canada. As seed testing is at the fundamental core of the pedigreed seed system, CSAAC members will play a crucial role in this.
- Value Creation: Evaluating seed quality is fundamental to creating value in Canadian seed. How do we know that a seed is of quality? The answer is to test. Without good testing services like those offered by CSAAC members, Canadian users of seed can’t know they’re investing in a quality product that’s going to pay dividends once it’s put in the ground.
- Seed Sector Governance & Coordination: There’s been much talk of a proposal put forward in the green paper meant to create a single voice for our industry. It proposes the serious examination of permanent changes to the organizational structure of the sector, that would see either a single organization, or a formal cluster take on greater responsibility for seed sector governance.
A lot of questions are coming our way about that latter proposal: what will happen to CSAAC? Are we still going to utilize our official seal for reports of analysis? Will CSAAC still exist and will the current system for seed analyst certification remain the same? Rest assured, we will still exist in some form — and we will be better. We’ve always been a small group, and regardless of what form a next-generation seed system takes, we will have others to help us fulfill our mandate. We’ll be able to make the system better for everyone.
This will be a decisive year for the Canadian seed sector. Despite our status as the smallest of the six associations that make up our industry, CSAAC will be heavily involved in helping forge the future of our industry. We have to be. Despite our small size, our role in the seed sector is invaluable.