Canadian Seed Growers Association Members Vote No to Seeds Canada Merger

- Wheat kernels

The following piece is from our sister publication, Germination.

Canadian Seed Growers’ Association members have voted against merging with the industry’s other dedicated seed associations to form a national seed organization called Seeds Canada.

The CSGA voting results were announced today during the CSGA’s special member meeting. 55% of the 751 votes cast were against the proposed merger.

Two-thirds of the votes cast were required to be Yes votes for the CSGA to approve the merger.

The Seed Synergy partners released a statement today confirming that the CSGA is the lone organization to have voted no to the merger. The five organizations that make up the Seed Synergy partners are the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA); the Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC); the CSGA; the Canadian Seed Institute (CSI); and the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA).

“This result is disappointing, and the boards of each participating organization will now consider how to move forward,” the brief statement says.

“Over the past five years, these groups have worked together on a vision to create the next generation seed system in Canada. Without a unanimous decision, the boards of each organization will reconvene to determine the next steps. An update on this matter is anticipated by the middle of September.”

The amalgamation agreement does provide for one or more of the organizations to hold a second vote provided that they have the agreement of the other amalgamating organizations. If a second vote is agreed to by the amalgamating organizations, the second vote must be completed by Dec. 15, 2020.

In the event that one or more of the organizations do not ratify the amalgamation, the organizations that do approve amalgamation may proceed to amalgamate on their own, or they may choose to not proceed with the amalgamation at all.

Ellen Sparry, who is slated to sit on the proposed inaugural board of Seeds Canada, says while it’s disappointing that the CSGA has voted against the merger, she believes the will still exists to go forward with some form of the amalgamation.  

“Each organization needs to reconvene to determine what the next steps should be ” Sparry said. “For me, Seeds Canada should still move forward, it’s just a matter of who and how. There aren’t any clear answers rights now.”

Sparry — manager of Ontario’s C&M Seeds — is a member of the CSGA, her company is a CSTA member as well, in addition to belonging to the CPTA and also being a client of CSI and utilizing the services of CSAAC, too.

“It’s unfortunate the growers voted the way they did and we’ll see what the implications of that are for CSGA down the road.”

“I think the goal should be to continue moving things forward quickly. It’s just a matter of determining who, what and how. It’s tough to know what to say. It’s disappointing but we’re still invested in moving Seeds Canada forward albeit in a slightly altered format,” she added.

In a message sent out to its members this week by the Manitoba Seed Growers’ Association, Seeds Canada inaugural board member and Oak River-based seed grower Eric McLean said the results of a “no” vote would be profound for his national association.

“What happens if we vote no to Seeds Canada? If the amalgamation doesn’t go through, we don’t get to go back to the way it was. The old CSGA simply won’t exist anymore. CSGA 2.0 will be drastically different,” McLean said.

“If the other four industry partners move ahead with Seeds Canada with a significantly muted grower voice, the result will be a powerful lobby voice representing our sector without grassroots influence or perspective.”