Like the old Pete Seeger song goes, to everything there is a season. This summer marks the beginning of a season of engagement that will run over the next year or so, during which members will be consulted and the future of our industry mapped out.
A very important event for our association happened in July. Our annual meeting in Halifax, N.S., this week is the setting for the first major discussion of both our new Strategic Plan and the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project that you have read much about this past number of months.
Both of these crucial initiatives have taken place in unison, and that’s not a coincidence. Both of these projects played off one another in a very productive and encouraging way.
First, on our Strategic Plan: one word I choose to use to describe it to people is “ambitious.” It’s ambitious in two ways. The first is the sheer breadth and scope of what it addresses. It includes a complete review and modernization of Circular 6, the regulations that CSGA is built upon.
We’ll be updating it for the 21st century, helping our members to function better than ever in a modern environment that requires seed growers to be able to work quickly, efficiently and effectively, without being hampered by outdated documents.
One of our other key Strategic Plan deliverables is strengthening our partnerships with other industry groups, and the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project is first and foremost in that exercise. The amount of energy and effort going into that is equal to or greater than what is going into our Circular 6 modernization.
That brings me to the other momentous event in Halifax this week — our joint discussion session with Canadian Seed Trade Association members about Seed Synergy itself. It’s the first event of its kind, insofar as it’s the first opportunity for anyone outside of board members to see in detail what we can come up with in terms of concrete options for building a next-generation seed system for our country.
It can be viewed as a coming out event, and the official kickoff to what is meant to be a season of engagement taking place over the next 12 months, resulting in an industry-wide, agreed-upon, consensus-based vision of what “Canadian Seed 2.0” might look like.
Our audience will be the federal government, as it has now formally indicated its intentions of moving forward with a modernization of the Seeds Regulations. Earlier this year, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency stated that it will be looking to the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project to influence its revamping of the Seeds Regulations. It was a big vote of confidence for the Seed Synergy initiative, and lays out a tentative deadline of the end of 2019 for us to provide our proposed amendments.
Whether those proposed amendments take the form of a letter to the agriculture minister, or whether they take the form of a process in which we as an industry begin to engage, we’ll have to see. It’s up to us as an association — and an entire industry comprised of six associations — to decide how to move forward.
Exciting things are coming. Stay tuned!