This proposed marriage of two seed sector associations shows just why the Seed Synergy model of trust and collaboration is so effective.
The Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC) and the Canadian Seed Institute (CSI) are looking to join forces in an effort to not only reap the benefits of a formal partnership, but to show that the spirit of the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project really is the future of the seed sector.
As part of the merger formally proposed to each group’s respective board this past May, CSAAC would become a committee within the CSI structure. The move, if it comes to fruition, will mean a number of benefits for both groups, says CSI executive director Roy van Wyk.
“Historically, CSAAC has had a limited budget to deliver its mandate, which has always been a challenge for them. We’d always say, tongue in cheek, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice for us to join forces?’ But it was always just a thought, nothing concrete,” van Wyk says.
“It took Seed Synergy and the close working relationships required to undertake that project that pushed that conversation past the ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ stage and into the formal stage.”
CSI and CSAAC have always had a close working relationship in terms of quality control and quality assurance, and a merger of the two groups is a natural fit, says CSAAC executive director Krista Erickson.
“Our members overwhelmingly support the idea to explore this merger,” she says.
Erickson notes that CSI and CSAAC have collaborated for years, including a recent project that saw CSI provide a virtual server on its computer network for CSAAC to keep its records on. Because seed analysts are a crucial piece to helping CSI carry out its own mandate, members of each organization have attended their respective annual meetings and other functions for a number of years.
A crucial benefit of the proposed merger, according to van Wyk and Erickson, is the building of trust between the two groups, showing how well the Seed Synergy model can work for the industry in general.
“We’ve worked closely with CSAAC over the years. It started with us working closely on delivering grader training with them in 2013. That was a direct outcome of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency no longer delivering grader training themselves and looking to industry to do it. We went to CSAAC right away for help,” van Wyk says.
“There are a number of analysts who are also auditors for CSI, and that’s another key example of how, in time, we’ve built the trust needed to help make people comfortable with change.”
For Erickson, the merging of the two groups is not simply business, but also personal.
“My mom was a CSAAC member and highly involved in it, so CSAAC has been part of my life as long as I can remember. Some older analysts who were friends of my mom are also now friends of mine. This proposed merger is a great thing. We’ll keep the CSAAC tradition alive while ensuring we‘re proactive in moving effectively into the future,” she says.
For van Wyk, having those close personal relationships between members is crucial to any good merger, and the merging of CSAAC and CSI can serve as proof that the “big” merger proposed by the Seed Synergy project is the right move.
“It’s one thing for the organizations to be comfortable with each other, but you have to understand each other’s needs and have sensitivity towards that. That’s something we’ve done very successfully.”
At a Glance: The Proposed Merger of CSAAC/CSI
Why Merge the Two?
- Share same client base — CSI’s clients are a subset of accredited lab clients
- Amalgamation would help CSI and CSAAC more effectively leverage financial and human resources
- Would represent a positive first step towards amalgamation of the five seed associations
- Could be structured to preserve CSAAC’s mandate and corporate objectives
- CSI and CSAAC would be in a stronger position to expand and grow lab program services
What would a Merged CSAAC/CSI Look Like?
- CSAAC would become established as a committee of the CSI board.