April 2016

Feedback Requested to Proposed Amendments to the Weed Seed Order

At the end of January 2016, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that changes are coming to the Weed Seeds Order (WSO). The WSO is an important tool whose primary purpose is to restrict the movement of weeds through seed and to prohibit the introduction and establishment of weeds that pose a serious threat to Canada’s seed industry.  Weeds are placed within the six Classes of the WSO to balance their risk and the need to minimize potential trade barriers while considering the regulatory impact on industry. The last time the WSO was updated was in 2005 and there are a significant number of amendments being proposed based on consultations with growers, industry associations and provincial weed experts.  These revisions are meant to include weeds of emerging concern and to maintain the effectiveness of the WSO.

The WSO lists weeds in six Classes. The second to sixth Classes contain weeds that are present and established in Canada, and have levels of tolerance outlined in the 22 Tables of Schedule I of the Seeds Regulations. Weeds are placed among these Classes to restrict their movement through seed travelling into and within Canada, with the second class having the lowest tolerances.  If these weeds are found in seed samples during grading they can affect the resulting grade name granted to the seed, depending on the crop type and the criteria listed in the applied.

The first Class lists Prohibited Noxious Weeds, which pose a serious threat to the seed.  Weeds in this category have a zero tolerance in pedigreed seed crops and seed.  This Class also contains all of the weeds that are listed as Regulated Pest Plants under the CFIA’s recent Invasive Plant Policy, with the exception of Chinese Yam, Japanese Stiltgrass, some species of Broomrape, and Witchweeds.

To seed growers, weeds listed as prohibited noxious are significant as CSGA will not grant a field pedigreed status if even a single prohibited plant is found. The three prohibited noxious weeds that have caused the most issues in the past are Nodding Thistle, Horse Nettle (Ball Nettle), and Jimsonweed. If the proposed amendments are passed, all three of these weeds will be moved from Class 1 to Class 2, and growers will no longer have their fields automatically declined if even a single plant of these weeds is found.

Another major change that is included is the application of all Class 2 weeds to Class 5, meaning that these weeds will now be considered when grading lawn or turf mixtures and ground cover mixtures with two or more kinds (Tables XIV and XV in Schedule I).  Class 2 weeds are already considered when the individual components of the mixture are graded.

In total, the CFIA is proposing the movement of 18 weeds among the various classes, and the addition of 35 weeds. During previous consultations, the CFIA received comments indicating that the placement of certain species may be detrimental for some growers and has provided on their website some documentation explaining the rationale for the placement of each weed within the WSO. Also available are the number of times these weed seeds were found in imported and domestic seed. To find these documents, the most efficient google search words are “Seed Program Modernization.”

The consultation for these amendments closes on April 13th, 2016.  Growers can see the proposed amendments and can submit their feedback to SeedSemence@inspection.gc.ca.  Depending on the responses that are received during this process, any changes that are made will come into effect as of November 2016 and will apply to the 2017 growing season for purposes of crop inspection.

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Do you have a Succession Plan?

Is your seed operation involved in plot production?  Do you have a succession plan to cover the risk that results if the seed plot producer is no longer able to undertake seed plot production?  Too many partnerships and family operations are operating with only one accredited plot producer, even though there may be multiple seed growers involved in the seed operation.  A succession plan should be in place.

That succession plan means a second or third seed grower in the operation should be getting accredited as a plot producer.  It involves a three year probationary process and pre-qualification criteria that the seed grower must meet.  Because of the years involved in becoming an accredited plot producer, you should not be delaying the implementation of a succession plan.

What’s involved in becoming an accredited plot producer?  Plot growers must be accredited by the CSGA.  Accreditation is obtained by an individual through a Probation process.  A seed grower wishing to produce Select and Foundation Plots can obtain accreditation through the successful production of a series of Probation Plots.  The applicant must meet the requirements of the CSGA before commencing Probation Plot production.

An Application to Commence Probation Plot Production (Form 154) is available from the CSGA website.  The grower making application to commence probation plot production should have grown pedigreed seed crops of the crop kind in which the grower is commencing Probation, in at least three (3) of the previous five (5) crop seasons.

Once it is determined the seed grower is qualified to commence probation plot production, the seed grower must complete three (3) successful years of Probation Plot production in order to be granted Plot grower accreditation.  The accreditation is granted to the individual seed grower only. The accreditation cannot be acquired through an affiliation with another seed grower or transferred to or from other Plot growers.  Even though a seed grower may have worked alongside an accredited plot producer for several years, it is still a requirement that the seed grower complete the probationary process.

Seed growers and seed operations that wish to expand their scope into seed plot production can obtain further information on the process by visiting the CSGA web site.

 

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CSGA's Executive Committee meets the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Minister MacAulay 2016CSGA’s Executive Committee met with Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture, and Carolina Giliberti, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, on March 21st, 2016.

(From left to right: Carolina Giliberti (CFIA Executive Vice-President), Glyn Chancey (CSGA Executive Director), Jim Baillie (CSGA Past-President), Jonathan Nyborg (CSGA 2nd Vice-President), Djiby Sall (CSGA Provincial Representative on the Executive Committee), Norm Lyster (CSGA President), Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Kevin Runnalls (CSGA 1st Vice-President).

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Health Canada Consultation

On February 29th 2016, Health Canada proposed to cancel all use of Thiram, Ferbam, and Ziram pesticides, pending the results of a 60-day consultation period.  These cancellations come from the re-evaluation program of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), which draws on “data from registrants, published scientific reports, information from other regulatory agencies, and any other relevant information” and which has established that these pesticides pose an undue risk to human health and the environment.  All three are used in rotation with other fungicides to manage disease resistance.

Thiram is a sulfur fungicide used to control diseases as a seed treatment for many seed crops and is used on soybeans, canola, dry beans, rye, flax, and wheat seed.  In other crop types, it is used as a foliar spray, root dip, and animal repellent.  It is highly toxic if inhaled.

Ferbam is a protectant fungicide used to control diseases on vegetables, tobacco and fruit crops as a foliar application.  It may be fatal if inhaled and is very harmful when absorbed through the skin.

Ziram is another protectant fungicide but is used to control diseases in tomato, curcurbit vegetables, and some tree fruits as a foliar application though it is also used as a seed treatment.  Ziram transforms quickly into Thiram and shows reduced health effects.

During the consultation period, Health Canada is seeking comments on the assumptions and conclusions used in the risk assessments as well as additional information that may be relevant to the evaluation. The consultation period for all three pesticides ends on April 29th, 2016.  Comments should include the title of the consultation documents, which can be found online and can be directed to the PMRA.

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Busy Year for PBR Education and Enforcement

2015 was the busiest year on record for PBR related activities according to Todd Hyra, SeCan Business Manager for Western Canada.

SeCan works as a member of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA), established to protect intellectual property rights pertaining to crop development. Last year over 400 ads required investigation and follow-up. Hyra says, “SeCan alone had 40 cases that resulted in legal action and to date 20 of these cases have been completed.”

Financial penalties can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands, depending on the level of illegal sales. The largest case to date (in 2016) was settled for $150,000. In all cases infringers are required to sign a declaration disclosing all sales, and stating they will not make illegal sales in the future.

Part of the education process is to let the industry know seed companies take the enforcement seriously.

Grande Prairie, AB, AC® Stettler
Seven Persons, AB, AC® Strongfield
Portage la Prairie, MB, CDC Big Brown
Teulon, MB, AC® Carberry
Crane Valley, SK, AC® Strongfield
Domremy, SK, AC® Carberry
Ituna, SK, AC® Unity VB
Lacadena, SK, AC® Strongfield
Lampman, SK, Superb
Mankota, SK, AC® Strongfield
Moose Jaw, SK, CDC Bethune/AC® Strongfield
Parry, SK, AC® Lillian
Pense, SK, AC Metcalfe/ CDC Bethune
Rouleau, SK, AC® Strongfield
Sedley, SK, AC Metcalfe
Shellbrook, SK, AC Metcalfe
Weyburn, SK, AC® Strongfield
RM of Scott No. 98, SK, CDC Bethune
Yorkton, SK, AC® Unity VB
Young, SK, CDC Copeland

Awareness is the important first step and SeCan talks about the importance of PBR whenever possible. To stay on side Hyra points out a few things to keep in mind:

  • Most new varieties have some form of protection – don’t assume a variety is not protected;
  • If a variety is protected under PBR, it is illegal to sell common seed, even if you don’t use the variety name;
  • Under PBR, it is OK to keep seed on your farm – as long as the farm-saved rights are not pre-empted by another agreement or contract;
  • Under the new PBR ’91 rules, both the buyer and seller are responsible for the infringement;
  • Visit PBRfacts.ca for more information.

The goal of Plant Breeders’ Rights is to encourage investment in plant breeding in Canada. If farmers want access to the best varieties in the world, we need to reward breeders’ time and investment. There is a misconception that PBR only benefits large companies – the fact is large companies often have other tools to protect their intellectual property (including patents and contracts). PBR is critically important for public breeders, (including universities) and smaller private breeders who may not have the resources or traits necessary to utilize other forms of protection.

For more information, contact:
Todd Hyra
SeCan Business Manager, Western Canada
Tel: 204.489.9126

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Agvocates Unite!

Agvocate_EN_2016All of us in agriculture need to be an active voice in the food conversation to ensure the perceptions and expectations of our industry are accurate and understood. Being an ‘active voice’ can take many forms, from sharing other people’s agvocacy, to having a conversation, to spearheading your own initiatives. What’s important is that we take, and make, every opportunity to stand up and speak up for the industry we love.

As a proud partner of Ag More Than Ever, we’re happy to share our new video. Sharing positive ag messages and stories is a simple and effective way to get involved, so please share it on your social feeds and with the ag people in your life. Together, we can help shape Canadians’ relationship with agriculture and the food they eat.

Watch the new video here.

Ag More Than Ever is an industry-driven cause to help everyone in ag create realistic perceptions of Canadian agriculture. It’s made up of over 400 partners, including the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association, and thousands of agvocates across Canada committed to speaking up for the industry we love. Learn more at AgMoreThanEver.ca.

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Changes in Crop Certification Requirements (Circular 6)

The CSGA Board of Directors approved changes in the Regulations and Procedures for Pedigreed Seed Crop Production (Circular 6) effective for the 2016 crop season.  A Notice of Changes as well as the fully updated and official version of Circular 6 is posted to the CSGA website.  Please download your updated copy today.

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In case you missed it

In case you missed them, here are some articles that appeared in the February issue of Seed to Succeed:

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Contact Us

CSGA staff is here to help and guide you. Don’t hesitate to contact us. Remember the CSGA national office operates in the Eastern Standard Time (EST) zone.

Telephone: (613) 236-0497, Fax: (613) 563-7855, Email: communications@seedgrowers.ca
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 8455, Ottawa, Ontario, K1G 3T1
Courier Address: 240 Catherine Street, Suite 202, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2G8
Visit http://seedgrowers.ca/contact-us/ for complete contact information for our staff members.

Have YOU participated?

We are looking to members to provide feedback on our draft Strategic Plan. Once endorsed, the plan will shape CSGA policies and member services. Please take a few minutes to register and complete a short survey.

We are looking for YOUR opinion on Circular 6 Modernization, a Seed Grower Designate Program, Plant Breeders Rights, Inspections, CSGA services and many more. Join the conversation online today and hurry! This engagement ends Friday!

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Avez-VOUS participé?

Nous sommes à la recherche de membres pour nous donner leur rétroaction sur l’ébauche de notre Plan stratégique. Une fois entériné, le plan façonnera les politiques et les services aux membres de l’ACPS. Veuillez prendre quelques minutes pour vous inscrire et répondre à un court sondage.

Nous aimerions connaître VOTRE opinion sur la modernisation de la Circulaire 6, un programme de désignation de producteur de semences, la protection des obtentions végétales, les inspections, les services de l’ACPS et bien d’autres. Joignez-vous à la conversation aujourd’hui même. Faites vite! Cette consultation prend fin vendredi.