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Looking ahead: Marketing of harvested grains for export markets

Joint message from Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Agri Business Association, and Seeds Canada 

October 26, 2021 – As Ontario farmers and agri-businesses finalize harvesting activities and begin planning for the year ahead,

Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Ontario Agri Business Association and Seeds Canada remind farmers and the entire supply chain of the need for stewardship to protect market access and enable access to innovation. This includes adhering to established marketing channels for corn hybrids that have not yet received import approvals in key markets, such as the European Union (EU).

Stewardship is a shared commitment along the value chain, from seed developers to farmers to grain marketers, and is designed to address a range of issues including the lengthy process to secure trait approval in some export markets. 

All corn hybrids sold in Ontario are approved for cultivation and for use as food and feed within Canada and the U.S. The majority of corn hybrids sold in Ontario have also received import authorization in many importing countries. However, delays and uncertainty in the EU’s regulatory process present a particular challenge for Ontario’s corn value chain as both individual traits and stacked products (i.e. a combination of individual traits) require regulatory approval. As a result of these delays, trait stacks for certain corn hybrids sold in Ontario are not currently approved in the EU (see Seeds Canada’s corn hybrid database and/or company seed guides for more information).

While the majority (approx. 90%) of corn grown in Ontario is used domestically, maintaining and expanding access to export markets for both corn and processed by-products is vital for a profitable corn value chain. The EU continues to be an important and growing market for Canadian corn representing 56% of total exports sales in 2020. In 2020, seven of the top 10 export markets for Canadian corn were EU member countries. 

The regulatory status of a seed variety is an important consideration when making seed purchase decisions for the upcoming crop year. Adherence to product stewardship guidelines for non-EU approved varieties are an important step in maintaining market access to export markets. Farmers should contact their seed supplier if they are unaware or unsure of these requirements. There are marketing limitations that exist with non-EU approved varieties. If a farmer does plant non-EU approved varieties next year, they should contact their grain buyer to determine if they will be receiving harvested grains from these varieties. Farmers can continue to market corn with non-approved traits by following established stewardship requirements into appropriate channels that primarily include, but are not limited to domestic feed and ethanol markets.

Access to innovation and export markets are both vital to our sector. The supply chain supports the responsible introduction and adoption of new technologies for Ontario’s farmers, which consider regulatory approvals domestically and in key export markets which helps all participants within the agri-food value chain maintain competitiveness and profitability, manage risk, and expand market access in a competitive global marketplace. The supply chain also supports stewardship, including adherence to appropriate grain channeling, as required, so Ontario grain farmers and exporters continue to have unfettered access to key export markets.

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Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover over 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $4.1 billion in production value, result in over $18 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 75,000 jobs in the province.

Ontario Agri Business Association is a voluntary, not-for-profit trade association that represents the interests of over 450 members who operate country and terminal grain elevators, feed manufacturing facilities, crop input supply and affiliated businesses throughout the province of Ontario. OABA members generate in excess of $12 billion in annual sales and represent over 20,000 full and part time/seasonal jobs within the agri-food industry.

Seeds Canada is the leading voice of the seed sector in Canada, with members including analysts, breeders, distributors, processors, seed growers and other contributors to the industry, located from coast to coast. Seed is the vital first link in the agriculture value chain, contributing over $6 billion to the economy, employing more than 63,000 Canadians, and exporting more than $700 million annually. 

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Seeds Canada Congratulates Liberal Government on its Return to Office

OTTAWA, SEPTEMBER 22 – Seeds Canada would like to congratulate Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberal party on its re-election.

“The Canadian seed sector is a key driver of our country’s economic growth and a significant source for food security and climate change mitigation solutions. Continued investment, research, and a proper regulatory framework should be a key priority for the new government,” said Seeds Canada President Ellen Sparry. “It all starts with seed, and quality seed and varieties are a vital resource for the challenges we face today. We look forward to working with the Liberal party – and all decision makers – to help Canada’s seed sector thrive for the benefit of all Canadians,” noted Sparry.

Sparry added that “Farmers, seed growers, analysts, breeders, distributors, processors and all those along the seed value chain are calling on decision makers to prioritize and maximize the potential of the seed sector as an economic driver and partner in climate change solutions.”

Seeds Canada will be continuing its conversations with decision makers across all federal parties on priority items for the sector, ranging from seed regulatory modernization and plant breeding rights to climate change mitigation and technological advancements for environmental sustainability.

Seeds Canada is the leading voice of the seed sector in Canada, with members including analysts, breeders, distributors, processors, seed growers and other contributors to the industry, located from coast to coast. Seed is the vital first link in the agriculture value chain, contributing over $6 billion to the economy, employing more than 63,000 Canadians, and exporting more than $700 million annually.

For more information:
Jessica Goodfellow
Director of Communications
jgoodfellow@seeds-canada.ca

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Seed Industry Comes Together at Seeds Canada’s Inaugural Annual Meeting

JULY 16, 2021 – The 2021 Seeds Canada Annual Meeting, hosted virtually from July 9-16, brought together seed industry members, stakeholders, and government representatives from across the country to discuss a range of policy priorities and issues impacting the sector.

This event also marked the organization’s inaugural Annual Meeting, following its launch in February of this year. “The strength of an industry coming together was on display at this meeting. Having representation from across the seed value chain under one roof – as shown at this meeting and going forward as Seeds Canada – will make us a stronger partner able to offer policy direction and member and client services from a broader base of understanding and resources,” said Seeds Canada President, Ellen Sparry.

The Welcome Session featured an address from CFIA President, Dr. Siddika Mithani, who spoke to the Seed Regulatory Modernization process, noting the Agency’s commitment to a full-scale review and openness to substantial change. Dr. Mithani also provided clarity on CFIA’s approach to Novel Products of Biotechnology. She acknowledged the need for innovators to have a clear path to market and clear regulatory guidance. Dr. Mithani noted the various joint opportunities and challenges facing the sector – from climate change mitigation efforts to the effective use of digitized information – and called for continued close collaboration between CFIA and Seeds Canada.

The meeting’s attendees also heard from Keynote speaker, New York Times bestselling author, Dr. JP Pawliw-Fry who spoke to change management and relationship building. Kendal Netmaker also addressed the meeting and spoke from an Indigenous persons worldview about his experiences and incorporating diversity and inclusion in the workplace and day-to-day life.

Seeds Canada’s work – whether it be policy or operational – is largely funnelled through various committees. All committees met as part of the Annual Meeting Proceedings. For more information about Seeds Canada committees, please contact Claudio Feulner or Krista Erickson.

In addition to these committees, the Annual Meeting also hosted a Seed Testing Workshop and Open Forum, a Meet and Greet with new Executive Director, Barry Senft, and a Closing Reception.

“We have a busy year ahead, but we have tremendous momentum and dedicated members and partners. Let’s harness that energy as we move the discussions had at this meeting forward into action and progress,” said Barry Senft, Seeds Canada Executive Director. “In the coming months, we will be undergoing a strategic planning process, and we look forward to your continued engagement.”

This event would not be possible without the generous support of our meeting sponsors, thank you.

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For more information:
Jessica Goodfellow
Director of Communications
jgoodfellow@seeds-canada.ca

Seeds Canada is the leading voice of the seed sector in Canada, with members including analysts, breeders, distributors, processors, seed growers and other contributors to the industry, located from coast to coast. Seed is the vital first link in the agriculture value chain, contributing over $6 billion to the economy, employing more than 63,000 Canadians, and exporting more than $700 million annually. 

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Announcing New Seeds Canada Executive Director

MAY 13, 2021 – Seeds Canada is pleased to announce the appointment of Barry Senft as Executive Director. Barry will join Seeds Canada June 1.

“We look forward to welcoming Barry to our organization. His national experience in the grain sector, understanding of agriculture issues and extensive experience in strategic development and leadership will be an asset,” said Ellen Sparry, President of Seeds Canada. “We are excited about Barry’s vision for Seeds Canada and the leadership he will bring as we continue to build a progressive, modern, competitive, growing seed sector in Canada.”

Barry has more 30 years experience in the private and public agri-business sectors, including the strategic development and merging of three organizations, in his most recent role as CEO at Grain Farmers of Ontario. He has also served as Executive Director of the Canadian International Grains Institute, Chief Commissioner with the Canadian Grain Commission and Second-Vice President of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. 

“I am honoured to be joining Seeds Canada, and I look forward to continuing to build on the incredible legacy of the organizations brought together under this banner,” noted Senft. “The importance of Canada’s seed sector is on display from coast to coast during spring planting. The impact of the seed sector is already significant, but there is great potential for it to do more if we can unlock its full potential with the right regulations and support.”

“We look forward to working together to build a culture for staff, Board, members, and clients that will further contribute to a growing and thriving seed sector.” Sparry added, “We would also like to thank Interim Executive Director, Tyler McCann, for the work he has done to guide the organization through its amalgamation process.”

 
As Executive Director, Barry will work closely with the Board of Directors and staff to ensure the organization continues to grow throughout the amalgamation and deliver enhanced services for members and clients. One of Barry’s first acts will be to enact a renewed outreach to current and potential members and to drive Seeds Canada’s members priorities to the forefront of government agenda.

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Seeds Canada is the national voice for Canada’s seed system. Seeds Canada was created by bringing four seed associations together into one organization to deliver stronger advocacy for the seed sector and enhanced services for members and clients. Seed is the vital first link in the agriculture value chain, contributing over $6 billion to the economy, employing more than 63,000 Canadians, and exporting more than $640 million annually.

For more information:
Jessica Goodfellow
Director of Communications
jgoodfellow@seeds-canada.ca

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Largest PBR Settlement in Canada’s History Reached

Coordinated education, monitoring and enforcement process was successful. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021 – Yesterday, Seeds Canada members Alliance Seed and SeCan announced a $737,597 cash settlement of a joint Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) case, the largest settlement on a PBR case to date. 

Alliance Seed, SeCan and one other seed distributor settled their case versus a large farming operation in southern Alberta. The case related to unauthorized advertisements, and sales of PBR protected barley and wheat varieties. These actions included the inclusion of infringing seed in custom seeding packages. The parties have agreed to compensation for royalties, legal and investigative costs, and a declaration there will be no additional unauthorized sales.

Seeds Canada welcomes the news of this settlement, which shows the value of Seeds Canada’s monitoring and enforcement services. The work of Seeds Canada’s IP division enabled three members to act together against a single significant infringer. Today’s news demonstrates the strength of collaborative investigations and the importance of enforcing prohibitions on illegitimate seed sales and inclusion custom seeding.

“This news strengthens the role of Seeds Canada services,” said Lorne Hadley, Director of Intellectual Property Protection. “We continue to work on behalf of our members and support their willingness to pursue special cases due to infringer or infringing use.”

Plant Breeders’ Rights enforcement and education are ongoing priorities for Seeds Canada. To learn more about how to support legitimate seed sales, please visit www.seeds-canada.ca

For more information regarding Plant Breeders’ Rights, please visit PBRfacts.ca.

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Seeds Canada is the national voice for Canada’s seed system. Seeds Canada was created by bringing four seed associations together into one organization to deliver stronger advocacy for the seed sector and enhanced services for members and clients. Seed is the vital first link in the agriculture value chain, contributing over $6 billion to the economy, employing more than 63,000 Canadians, and exporting more than $640 million annually.

Media contact: 
Liz Lumsden
Manager, Communications
llumsden@seeds-canada.ca

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Introducing Seeds Canada

Monday, February 1, 2021 – Seeds Canada has officially sprouted! The idea of Seeds Canada was planted more than five years ago. Since then, our members have been working tirelessly to bring together our four organizations together to create one new, national seed association. Seeds Canada will be the leading voice of the Canadian seed sector, helping our members succeed and grow in Canada and around the world.

Seed is the vital first link in the agriculture value chain, contributing over $6 billion to the economy, employing more than 63,000 Canadians, and exporting more than $640 million annually. Bringing four seed associations together into one organization will result in stronger advocacy for the seed sector and enhanced services for members and clients.

The Seeds Canada logo represents the four amalgamating organizations joining as one. “The logo serves as a reminder of the efforts it took to get to this point, a celebration of our accomplishments, and a new vision for the future. We are stronger together,” said Ellen Sparry, President, Seeds Canada. 

The new website, launched today, can be found at seeds-canada.ca. Here, you can learn more about Seeds Canada’s mission, people, and services. The four amalgamating organizations’ websites can still be accessed during this transition period. Seeds Canada will continue to offer all original client and member services.

The operations team, formerly under the Canadian Seed Institute, continues to manage programs and offer client services. Continuing education and the seed analyst SEAL programs are still operational. Other efforts on behalf of members such as trade facilitation, advocacy, intellectual property protection, and more will proceed. All staff remain in place to support our members and clients. Seeds Canada will be diverse, inclusive, and democratic. All members will have an equal voice at the table, regardless of size, and will work together on behalf of Canada’s seed sector.

We’re proud to introduce our Board of Directors and announce the Seeds Canada Executive Committee:

• Ellen Sparry, President
• Eric McLean, Vice President
• Annie Bergeron, Holly Gelech, Quentin Martin – Members at Large

Seeds Canada’s membership is expected to continue to grow and anyone involved in the seed sector is welcome to apply for membership. Our goal is to build on our already diverse membership, representing all aspects of the seed system. “We strongly encourage everyone in the seed system, from growers to seed labs, to join Seeds Canada – the more diverse voices we can have in our membership, the better,” said Eric McLean, Vice President, Seeds Canada. 

Like a newly planted seed, we are full of potential. As Seeds Canada, we will come together to accomplish things that we never could have done separately. Let’s see what we can grow.

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Seeds Canada is the national voice for Canada’s seed system. Seeds Canada was created by bringing four seed associations together into one organization to deliver stronger advocacy for the seed sector and enhanced services for members and clients. Seed is the vital first link in the agriculture value chain, contributing over $6 billion to the economy, employing more than 63,000 Canadians, and exporting more than $640 million annually.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Liz Lumsden
Manager, Communications
llumsden@seeds-canada.ca