A merger of four Canadian seed industry organizations has been cleared to proceed without its fifth partner.
Members of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA), Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC), Canadian Seed Institute (CSI) and Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) have voted in favour of amalgamation, the groups announced Wednesday.
An inaugural board of 15 directors (see below) has been named for the new organization and has set up a transition committee to work on putting the new structure in place ahead of the formal merger on Feb. 1 next year, the groups said.
CSTA represents the seed trade, including some farmer-level seed growers, seed retailers and major seed companies such as BASF and Bayer. CSAAC represents seed-testing labs, CSI delivers accreditation and monitoring programs and CPTA supports intellectual property protection for the seeds sector.
The Seeds Canada founding groups said the new organization has “received a great deal of interest and the number of members is expected to grow, bringing new voices and perspectives to the existing membership of the four groups.”
The goal, they said, is for Seeds Canada’s membership to include national and provincial seed associations as well as seed growers from across the country.
For now, however, it won’t include the Canadian Seed Growers Association (CSGA), whose members voted this summer to reject a previous proposal for a five-way amalgamation.
The remaining groups announced in October they would put the new four-way merger proposal to their members for a second vote.
The CSGA would have been the largest of the five, as it represents pedigreed seed producers, with a membership made up mainly of farmers. It also has statutory power to certify pedigreed seed.
For now, the CSGA, in its role as a CSTA affiliate, is expected to be invited to become an affiliate member of Seeds Canada, as would some provincial seed grower associations.
The CSGA had been in on developing the original amalgamation proposal, which dates back to a 2015 brief from the CSGA and CSTA, followed by a 2017 “green paper” on the “core ideas and context for the next-generation seed system.”
CropLife Canada, a separate body representing life science companies that develop and sell new varieties and crop protection products, had also originally been part of the proposed group but opted out before the earlier vote this summer.
A 2018 white paper from the five organizations pointed out that, among other issues facing the seeds sector, the groups have “overlapping memberships and even directors, creating a significant draw on member time and resources.”
Critics of the five-way proposal this summer warned of a risk that larger agribusinesses and multinational seed companies might ultimately dominate Seeds Canada — a concern merger supporters have said was largely unwarranted.
“Growers play an integral role in the seed system, and Seeds Canada needs their involvement to succeed,” the four Seeds Canada groups said in their statement Wednesday.
For now, they said, “the priority is to have a smooth transition and ensure business continuity for members on Day One of Seeds Canada.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network
Who’s on the board?
Seeds Canada’s inaugural 15-member board includes:
- Annie Bergeron, CEO, Les Grains Semtech
- Philippe Charlebois, CEO, Semican
- Georges Chausse, seed division lead, Sollio Agriculture
- Chris Churko, CEO, FP Genetics
- Brent Collins, head of canola seeds, North America, BASF
- Holly Gelech, business development manager, SGS BioVision
- Dianne Gilhuly, president, Kent Agri Lab
- Monica Klaas, general manager, Alberta Seed Processors Association
- Jeff Loessin, corn, soy and winter wheat marketing lead, Corteva Canada
- Quentin Martin, co-CEO, Cribit Seeds
- Eric McLean, owner, Ben Ledi Farms
- Jeff Reid, general manager, SeCan
- Nick Sekulic, seed grower, Prestville Farms
- Ellen Sparry, general manager, C+M Seeds
- Jim Wilson, vice-chair, Canterra Seeds