October 2020

A Follow-Up Letter To Members From CSGA President: Next Steps For The CSGA

Dear Members,

In my August 28, 2020 letter, I shared the CSGA Board of Directors’ initial perspective on the Seeds Canada amalgamation vote outcome. I indicated then that we faced two options: resume amalgamation discussions or concentrate our energies on CSGA renewal and modernization. I also noted that the choice of which option to pursue would depend on our members’ views and those of our former Seeds Canada partners.

Since then my CSTA, CSI, CSAAC and CPTA counterparts have advised me that they will be proceeding with their own amalgamation initiative. So even if we were to experience an unexpected surge in member support for the Seeds Canada proposal, that ship has sailed, leaving your Board with two pressing priorities: Our own renewal and modernization agenda and CFIA’s plans for seed regulatory modernization.

With respect to the former, we are not starting from scratch. What is currently referred to as the CSGA 2.0 project, will continue to build on our many strengths and incorporate those elements of the Seed Canada proposal for which there is clear member support. A “single window” pedigreed seed certification service for Canada is one of those elements. Since the inception of the Seed Synergy dialogue almost 5 years ago, this concept has consistently attracted broad-based support from our membership and other stakeholders. So, it is a logical point from which to build.

That said, how far and how fast this concept is translated into meaningful change with benefits for seed growers, the seed sector and Canadian agriculture, will depend in part on the support it receives from our regulatory partners. In this regard, the CFIA  has just initiated the first phase of its long-awaited process to Modernize the Seed Regulations, with the establishment of a Seed Regulatory Modernization Working Group. CSGA is at the table, but we are one of many, so effective partnerships and alliances will continue to be key success factors going forward.

This fall, our Board and Committees, in consultation with our Branches, will be revisiting the collective efforts that brought us to this point. Over the late fall and winter months, we will confirm our Association’s strategic direction, ongoing modernization plans, and the precise form and objectives of the CSGA 2.0 project with you. In parallel, we will complete a comprehensive root cause analysis of the CSGA amalgamation vote results to identify the factors that most influenced members’ voting decisions. In the process, we will reach out to all members – those who voted and those who did not – to help inform that analysis.

As the CSGA 2.0 project unfolds, we will work with our members, clients, seed and agriculture value chain partners, and governments to build consensus for system change where it is needed and implement it where and when we are able. The Next Generation Seed System proposal, developed with our Seed Synergy partners, and our current Strategic Plan, will continue to provide important reference points for both the CSGA 2.0 project and CSGA’s position on any CFIA proposed changes to the Seeds Regulations. However, fully understanding what you and other stakeholders need from the seed system of which CSGA is the original steward, is of primary importance.

Once-in-a-generation changes to that system are being contemplated. Your Board is ready to engage, and I look forward to setting our course together with you.


Joe Rennick

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Seed Sample Bags Have Been Sent Out!

Seed sample bags for all crop kinds, except soybeans, were mailed out the week of September 7, 2020. Soybean seed sample bags were distributed the week of September 21, 2020.

A reminder that for Select and Foundation Plots, the CSGA does not issue a crop certificate until the grower has submitted a Report on Plot Production (Form 50) and a seed sample for the CFIA’s Variety Verification Program. This program is part of CFIA’s due oversight of the seed certification system and, in addition to Plot sample monitoring, includes a testing program for targeted risk-based samples.

The Plot samples are planted beside plots planted with seed from the official reference sample of Breeder seed of the variety and are assessed at different growth stages throughout the season to monitor the varietal purity and identity of pedigreed seed.

How to Submit Seed Samples

Please remember that one sample is required for each variety produced in plots except for probation plots, which will each require their own sample. Samples for plot production should be submitted as follows:

  1. Use sample bags distributed from CSGA.
  2. Harvest using machinery that has been thoroughly cleaned and will not contaminate the varietal purity of the seed.
  3. Clean the seed.
  4. Fill a sample bag with seed that is representative of all plots produced of that variety and complete all sections on the label. If the sample contains seed from multiple plots, include the sequence number for each on the label.
    • The sample should be at least 100 grams (3.5 oz) for small-seeded crop kinds (e.g. alfalfa, canola, most forage grasses).
    • The sample should be at least 450 grams (1 lb) for large-seeded crop kinds (e.g. cereals, beans, pulses, soybeans).
  5. Ensure the sample bags are well-sealed and do not overfill the sample bags. Samples that are compromised in transit will have to be re-sent to CFIA.
  6. Submit the seed sample to the CFIA Seed Science Unit (not to CSGA) by February 15.

CFIA Variety Verification Program, Seed Science Unit
3851 Fallowfield Rd, Building 210, PO Box 11300
Nepean, ON K2H 8P9

  1. Complete a Report on Plot Production (Form 50), and submit it to CSGA electronically through the Member’s Area of the CSGA website.

If additional sample bags are required, please contact CSGA at 613.236.0497 or email us at seeds@seedgrowers.ca.

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Members of the Seed Regulatory Modernization Working Group (SRM-WG) Regroup

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is proposing to modernize the Seeds Regulations with industry participation, as part of its 2019–2021 Forward Regulatory Plan. While the initiative was delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on stakeholders and government, it is now ready to move forward.

The second meeting of the Seed Regulatory Modernization Working Group (SRM-WG) took place on September 29, 2020. Members of the SRM-WG represent organizations from across the seed and crops value chain, including breeders, seed growers, seed trade, seed analysts, producers, and others. Seed potato stakeholders are also involved.

Wendy Jahn, National Manager of the Seed Section at the CFIA gave a presentation setting out the meeting’s objectives. She explained the proposal for a Needs Assessment Survey to gather information from stakeholders about what they need from a national seed regulatory system. The survey is intended to collect stakeholder views on such topics as the grading system, varietal purity, seed import requirements, industry self-regulation and alternative service delivery.

WG members suggested additional themes, including variety registration and the use of variety names. The regulation of heritage varieties and heterogenous populations was also raised several times.

The CSGA has provided detailed feedback and is looking forward to the next SRM-WG meeting on October 27, when an initial draft of the Needs Assessment Survey will be discussed and refined. The CFIA is aiming for a December release of the survey, which will be open until mid-March 2021.

The CSGA will be an active participant in the SRM exercise and intends to work closely with the Branches and individual seed growers to bring forward the best ideas for a next-generation seed system.

Stay tuned for ways in which you can participate in the modernization and rejuvenation of Canada’s seed system, ensuring that it continues to provide exceptional value to Canadian agriculture as it has for over 100 years.

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CSGA Passes Its Annual ISO Certification Audit With Flying Colours!

CSGA recently completed its annual ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9001 audit, a fixture at CSGA since 2008. These audits help maintain our organizational focus on and commitment to excellence by identifying areas for improvement in every aspect of our operations. This year’s audit found no non-conformances and highlighted the professionalism of CSGA’s staff, its management of the COVID-19 challenge and its strong culture of continuous improvement.

ISO 9001 is the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS). Organizations use the standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

Direct benefits of CSGA’s ISO registration and annual third-party audits include improvements to our seed crop certification quality management system, increased customer satisfaction, reduced errors and delays, cost-effective productivity enhancements, expanded use of evidence-based decision-making over time. Overall, our participation in ISO continues to be a powerful insight tool and a contributor to building a stronger, more efficient, and productive association.

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CSGA Seed System Modernization Work Attracts World Bank Attention

As a part of CSGA’s ongoing efforts to maximize the benefits of pedigreed seed production for members and customers alike, its work on blockchain-enabled assurance systems (designed to strengthen the integrity of our seed certification system and open up new markets for your customers) continues to attract national and international attention.

Most recently, the World Bank invited CSGA to participate as a panellist in its Data-Driven and Digital Agriculture Webinar Series. The series falls under its What’s Cooking platform, which aims to kickstart a global conversation on food and farm policy in the digital age.

The CSGA discussion focused on “Blockchain as a Solution to make Sensitive Food Supply & Value Chains Resilient and Transparent: The Open + Public Approach.” The Association’s update provided perspective on how the seed industry can use Blockchain technology and the challenges faced during implementation.

CSGA’s participation in this event builds on previous presentations to international audiences, most recently a September 2019 presentation to an OECD-sponsored international blockchain applications conference and a 2020 OECD Seed Schemes Working Group meeting on potential seed system applications of blockchain technology to combat growing fraud challenges.

For more information:

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Contact Us

CSGA staff are here to help you. Don’t hesitate to contact us. Remember the CSGA national office operates in the Eastern Time (ET) zone.

Telephone: (613) 236-0497
Email: communications@seedgrowers.ca
Address: 21 Florence St, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0W6
Click here for complete staff contact information.