International Standard Setting – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) hosted a series of webinars in 2016 on the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the process to establish international standards. A copy of CFIA’s Introduction to International Standard Setting is available here.

Trade Winds National – The latest edition of  Trade Winds National to Members of Parliament and Senators in June, 2016. Trade Winds National is an e-newsletter written for federal policy makers to keep them informed about the seed industry and our priorities. This edition focused on the positive impact the seed industry has on the environment and climate change. Trade Winds National will be sent quarterly to federal politicians and a modified version will be sent to key Minister’s and Opposition Critics in the provinces as well. A copy of Trade Winds National is available here in English and here in French.

Coexistence Planning – In April CSTA sent a letter to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay to discuss the associations work to facilitate coexistence plans for alfalfa hay in the East and West. In May CSTA received a reply from Minister MacAulay which is available here. CSTA welcomes the Minister’s steadfast support for science, innovation and our work to facilitate coexistence.

CSTA Congratulates CFIA – On May 26th CSTA’s President, Scott Horner, sent a letter to CFIA’s President, Dr. Bruch Archibald, offering our congratulations on the election of Marie-Claude Forest as Chair of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures Finance Committee (CPM), which oversees and guides the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). Marie-Claude Forest is the CFIA National Manager, International Phytosanitary Standards and has been very involved with the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) for seed which we hope is adopted in 2017. A copy of the letter can be found here.

CSTA Congratulates Manitoba’s New Agriculture Minister – On May 3rd, Manitoba’s new Premier, Brian Pallister, appointed his new Cabinet. On May 26th, CSTA sent a letter congratulating the new Agriculture Minister, Ralph Eichler, on his appointment, introducing CSTA and offering to work with him and his staff. A copy of the letter can be found here.

Coexistence Plan for Alfalfa Hay in Western Canada – Following extensive consultation with stakeholders along the alfalfa production chain in Western Canada,  a Coexistence Plan for Alfalfa Hay in Western Canada is now available.  The plan contains background on alfalfa production systems in Western Canada, the principles of coexistence, and voluntary Best Management Practices. Read the plan here.  Read the news release here.

CSTA Congratulates Minister MacAulayCSTA sent a letter to the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay on his appointment as the new Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food on behalf of CSTA’s President, Scott Horner. The letter also provided an overview of CSTA and the seed industry, touched on some of our high level priorities and acts as a placeholder for a meeting in early February when CSTA’s Board of Directors is in Ottawa.

A copy of the letter can be found here. Similar letters are being sent to other key policy makers.

Alternative Service Delivery Update – CSTA is very pleased to announce that last week CFIA formally advised stakeholder that training for seed crop inspection of hybrid canola will be offered by starting in 2016.  Training will be offered both to currently licensed 3rd party Authorized Seed Crop Inspection Services (ASCIS) in the identified region and to non-3rd party (seed companies) who would like to become ASCIS and conduct hybrid canola seed crop inspections.  Non-3rd party inspections are only being considered for hybrid canola at this time.

The CFIA communication is available in both English and French.

CSGA Recognized for InnovationOn October 16th, 2015 the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) was recognized for its innovative transformation of the seed crop certification business processes. CSGA was invited to take part in an expert panel discussion in Montreal at the Ricoh Conference. To read the full story please click here.

Joint Canadian Industry Letter regarding EU amendment to GM approvals – On August 20th a coalition of Canadian agricultural industry associations, including CSTA, cosigned a letter in response to the European Commission’s proposal to amend regulation EC No 1829/2003, regarding Member States’ ability to restrict or prohibit the use of genetically modified food and feed in their territory.  The letter urged the Commission to ensure that European Food Safety Authority’s scientific opinions continue to serve as the basis for centralized, timely, science-based EU import approvals which are respected by all Member States and for the European Commission to withdraw the proposed amendment.  A copy of the letter is available here.

Model Operating Procedures for Variety Registration Committees – CSTA submitted feedback to CFIA regarding their proposed Model Operating Procedures (MOPs).  While the revised MOPs are a step in the right direction, CSTA encourages the government to continue the streamlining process, and strive for a fully streamlined system that provides significantly higher returns to the value chain while minimizing costs. A copy of the letter can be found here.

Joint Canadian Industry Comment on China WTO Notification – On July 30th a coalition of Canadian agricultural industry associations cosigned a letter in response to the draft Amendment to the GMO Safety Assessment Measures (draft Measures) proposed by China’s Ministry of Agriculture’s (MoA) which were released for comment on 2 June 2015 through the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (G/SPS/N/CHN/881). A copy of the letter is available here.

Guide to Treated Seed Stewardship – A new stewardship plan, the Guide to Treated Seed Stewardship, has been launched by the Canadian Seed Trade Association and the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association.  The Guide provides a one-stop resource for those involved with handling, storage, transportation, use and disposal of treated seed. Read the Guide:  English    French  Read CSTA’s news release by visiting here.

First PBR91 Varieties –  As was expected, recent changes to Canada’s Plant Breeders’ Rights legislation is delivering new crop varieties to Canadian farmers. The Plant Breeders’ Rights Office (PBRO) has granted rights under the new legislation (PBR91) to 12 new agricultural crop varieties, developed in Canada and outside our borders by private and public sector plant breeders.  Find CSTA’s news release by following this link.

Update on  Fusarium in Alberta – The Pest Surveillance Branch of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development has developed draft revisions to the Alberta Fusarium graminearum Management Plan based on recommendations from the Fusarium Action Committee.  A copy of the draft position is available here. 

The Alberta Seed Growers’ Association (ASGA) also recently released their position on  Fusarium graminearum that was developed through a facilitated session at their Annual General Meeting. Please follow the links for a copy of the ASGA Position and the Appendix.

CSTA Joins Coalition to Urge Timely EU Approvals – the CSTA has joined with 6 other Canadian agricultural organizations to send a letter to the European Commission urging timely approvals of a number biotechnology products that have had positive safety assessments by the European regulatory authority, but have not yet been considered by the Commission’s College of Commissioners.   Citing the lengthening delay in EU approval systems, and the negative implications for both European and international interests, the letter urges the Commission to quickly approve pending products and to implement a more timely approval system.    The letter, which was signed by CSTA; the Canola Council of Canada; the Canada Grains Council; Flax Council of Canada; Grain Farmers of Ontario; Soy Canada and CropLife Canada;  can be found by following this link.

Updated ASCIS and LSCI List – CFIA has just released its list of Authorized Seed Crop Inspection Services (ASCIS) and Licensed Seed Crop Inspectors (LSCI) as of February 27th, 2015. The ASCIS list is available here and the LSCI list is available here. 

Weed Seeds Order – CFIA is in the final stages of preparing regulatory amendments to update the Weed Seeds Order.   CSTA and its members have been very engaged on this file for a number of years, and while many of our concerns have been addressed, there are still a few left.   We will make further comments during the comment period prescribed when the regulations are published in the Canada Gazette.   You can find CFIA’s proposed Weed Seeds Order here in English and in French.

CSTA Priorities: An Interview with –  What are some of the challenges and opportunities for the seed industry and the Canadian Seed Trade Association?   CSTA’s CEO was invited to spend some time with Shaun Haney of   Hear the interview by following this link.

International Seed Standard Country Consultation Now Closed- The International Plant Protection Convention’s (IPPC) draft International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) for seed is now closed for country consultation. The international standard gives guidance to National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPO), like CFIA, on the criteria for harmonizing import, export and re-export requirements (phytosanitary measures) to facilitate the international movement of seed. CSTA’s comments on the standard are available here.

Private Seed Company Investment in Plant Breeding, Research and Variety Development – Every 5 years, CSTA conducts a survey of its members to collect information on investment in plant breeding, research and variety development.  A survey was conducted in 2013 to gather information from 2012, and the results have recently been finalized.   CSTA’s private sector member companies invested over $101 million in plant breeding, research and variety development in 2012.  That’s an increase of over 78% from 2007.  Find the report of the survey here.

Capturing Value for All – Generating Funds for Plant Breeding and Variety Development – CSTA facilitates a value chain process that has been working to develop a concept to generate funds for investment in Plant Breeding and Variety Development.   It all started with a broad based international symposium, and has moved to a value chain working group.  You can follow the work by following this link.

Canola Council and CSTA Joint Letter on SAWP – Despite many telephone conversations, official submissions, letters and support from the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, at this time, CSTA Canola  seed producing members will still not have access to Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC)  Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, for Breeder and Foundation seed production.   Our member companies used the program successfully for years before they were told that they could not access the program because canola was not on the SAWP national commodities list.   After a few months of work, canola was listed, only to be removed again a few years later.    We have been working with member companies and with the Canola Council to have canola put back on the commodities list, and despite assurances from ESDC that it would happen, it has not.   Last week the Canola Council and CSTA wrote a joint letter to ESDC asking for steps to ensure that the SAWP can be used by canola seed production companies in 2015.  You can find it here.

New CSTA Policy on Alternate Service Delivery – Prior to CSTA’s 2014 Semi-Annual Meeting, a special facilitated session was held on the future of Alternate Service Delivery (ASD) of seed crop inspection.    The session developed a proposal for CSTA policy, which was considered and approved by the CSTA Board of Directors.   You can find it here.

Partners in Innovation Letter – CSTA is an active member of a coalition of 20 organizations that supports proposed amendments to Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR).  The members of Partners in Innovation represent the vast majority of farmers and all of the crops produced in Canada.  They also represent value chain organizations.   One of the mandates of Partners in Innovation is to ensure that farmers, industry, policy makers and the public have access to the real facts on PBR amendments proposed in Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act.   As part of that mandate, Partners in Innovation sent a letter to the Hill Times, a newspaper for Parliamentarians, to correct mis-information presented in a recent article.  You can find the letter here.

Information Tree on ABS – CSTA has developed an information tree to help plant breeders seeking access to germplasm to understand requirements of international treaties, protocols and conventions.

New LLP Policy for ISF – at the 2014 World Seed Congress, ISF delegates approved a new paper on Low Level Presence in Seed.  This new paper assesses a number of potential policy options against ISF principles.  You can find it here.

Best Management Practices for Pollinator Protection – CSTA and CropLife Canada have just released a Best Management Practices (BMP) information piece called ‘Protecting Pollinators: What can you do? The piece will be widely distributed to industry.  It is available here in English and French. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada has also released their BMP information piece or the 2014 planting season. PMRA’s Pollinator ‘Protection and Responsible Use of Treated Seed’ information piece is available here.  Both BMP Facts Sheets highlight that for the 2014 planting season it is mandatory that if you used a seed flow lubricant when planting neonicotinoid treated seed, that PMRA now requires the use of Bayer CropScience’s Fluency Agent to reduce dust. 

Additional Labeling for Neonicotinoid Treated Corn and Soybean Seed For the 2014 season additional labeling is required for ALL corn and soybean seed that has been treated with neonicotinoids. The following additional labeling is required:

  • PMRA labeling to appear on all pallet IDs
  • PMRA labeling to be printed off and placed in the sleeve/pocket of all bulk containers and polywoven bags
  • PMRA labeling to appear on invoices (where possible)

Beginning in 2015 PMRA labeling will also have to appear on all corn and soybean seed tags.

Mandatory use of new Seed Flow Lubricant by PMRA–  In November 2013 PMRA mandated the use of Fluency Agent from Bayer CropScience with the following statement: “When using a seed flow lubricant with neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed, only Fluency Agent from Bayer CropScience is permitted”.  What this means is that if a grower is using talc or graphite or a blend of the two when planting corn or soybeans they must use the Fluency Agent.Fluency Agent reduces the amount of insecticide active ingredient released in treated seed dust during planting therefore reducing the risk of exposure to non-target insects, including bees.  This product is being launched as an industry initiative through the seed companies distribution channel and will be available at the end of January. Due to the short timelines for production and to manage distribution logistics product can be ordered from your seed retailer. A 400g pail treats 125 acres.  Bayer has produced the following information pieces regarding their new Fluency Agent

Value of Seed Treatments: NeonicotinoidsThe following is a quick, one-page fact sheet about the value of neonicotinioid seed treatment technology that can be used when communicating with retailers and/or growers. It can be found here in both English and French.


Agriculture More Than Ever CSTA is proud to be partners with the Agriculture More Than Ever inititive.  Check out  its website for more information.

ISF Videos Promoting Plant Breeding and the Seed industry –  The International Seed Federation has released two videos aboutthe international seed sector:

Smart from the Start – describes the work needed,  the steps taken and the time resources needed to develop a new plant variety.

Agriculture is Under Presssure – focuses on the role of research, plant breeding and the seed sector as a way to help relieve the pressure faced by the world’s agricutlure industry to feed and fuel a growing world

Product Discontinuation Check-List Part of the lifecycle of any product is its removal from the marketplace. This is especially important for products developed with modern biotechnology and developing the procedures, protocols and industry standards for biotechnology product discontinuation in the marketplace is a key end point within the plant biotechnology lifecycle. New plant biotechnology products are routinely developed and older products taken out of production by the manufacturer as a normal and predictable part of a product’s lifecycle, and their removal needs to proceed in the most effective way possible. For that reason, CSTA’s Biotechnology Committee worked with CropLife Canada to develop a product discontinuation checklist to help members of the plant biotechnology industry facilitate the removal of a product of biotechnology from the market.