Seed Synergy Project Could Culminate in 5 Groups Merging

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The Canadian seed industry could possibly see five of its six associations merge into one as the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project ramps up.

At a Seed Synergy update session and workshop hosted jointly on July 11 by the Canadian Seed Trade Association and Canadian Seed Growers’ Association in Montreal, conversation focused heavily on the need for the industry to speak with a single voice. The boards of the five dedicated seed associations – Canadian Seed Trade Association, Canadian Seed Growers’ Association, Canadian Seed Institute, Commercial Seed Analysts’ Association of Canada and the Canadian Plant Technology Agency – have given preliminary direction to explore a possible merger of those organizations, in addition to a formal alignment with CropLife Canada modelled on the existing CropLife Canada-CSTA Memorandum of Understanding.

The intent is to create a streamlined model for information management, advocacy, service provision and provide greater value for the industry’s collective members, and – most importantly – to amplify the impact of the various complementary functions within the Synergy organizations.

No official board decision has been made, and many questions remain unresolved, it was noted. A Seed Synergy white paper is expected to be released this coming fall which will lay out an ultimate vision for a revamped Canadian seed system.

Also discussed were four key mandated areas that the project is focusing on to improve and streamline the Canadian seed system:

  • Client/Member Experience
  • Enabling Plant Breeding Innovation
  • Stimulating Innovation and Value Creation
  • Next-Generation Traceability/Seed Certification Framework

For further documentation visit https://www.seedsynergy.net/whatsnew/.

CSTA Recognizes Exceptional Contributions to the Seed Industry

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Today at their 95th Annual Meeting, the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) and its members recognized and celebrated the innovative contributions of three exceptional leaders within the seed industry.

Dr. Igor Falak was awarded with the Canadian Plant Breeding and Genetics Award, which is co-sponsored by CSTA and Germination Magazine (Alberta Seed Guide’s sister publication). Falak is a private sector canola researcher at Pioneer Hi-Bred Production who has shown great capacity for development of unique commercial products with native-sourced traits. His canola breeding efforts have resulted in many improved, leading-edge canola hybrids which have harnessed unique natural variability to improve key agronomic characteristics, such as disease and pod shatter resistance. His previously awarded honors reflect his scientific excellence not only within his organization, but also the industry. His passion and dedication to his work is quite evident and inspiring to canola breeders and researchers of all ages.

This year the Seed Achievement Award is co-sponsored by CSTA and CropLife Canada. Both organizations were delighted to announce Dr. Stephen Yarrow as the recipient of this distinguished award. Yarrow, began his career as a research scientist at one of Canada’s first plant biotechnology companies and then served as an executive at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Dr. Yarrow went on to work as the Vice-President of Plant Biotechnology for CropLife Canada and was instrumental in developing positions on many seed-related issues and challenges. His contributions to the seed and biotech industries have come in various forms over many years of service. Most recently, Yarrow served as an active participant and driver of the Seed Synergy initiative. While he has now retired, he has been instrumental in generating a positive operating environment for the broader seed sector, pushing for regulatory modernization and seeking international adoption of plant breeding innovations. It is evident that Yarrow has been a leader in our industry and is well deserving of this award.

Industry veteran, Ron Weik, was named as the recipient of the CSTA Honourary Life Membership Award. Mr. Weik, formerly of FP Genetics Inc., worked in his ‘first career’ until 2003 with the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. He dedicated his career to promoting and bettering the Certified seed industry, while working alongside breeders, seed growers, end-users and farmers. Due to his knowledge of the industry and his willingness to invest his time, Mr. Weik has been consistently called upon by CSTA staff and members alike for his input and support of CSTA activities. His participation in committee meetings has always offered a balanced and insightful approach and certainly earned him the respect of regulators and industry peers alike. Mr. Weik will always be admired for his quiet leadership role with colleagues in seed and trade associations. His work over the years has certainly helped to build an improved and more vibrant industry for the betterment of all involved in seed and has demonstrated that he is truly deserving of this recognition.

“It is my privilege to have been among the members present at the awards ceremony this afternoon to recognize these three truly exceptional individuals,” said CSTA President, Dan Wright. “Igor, Stephen and Ron have each made a significant impact on agriculture and the seed industry specifically. We are honored to be able to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments”