Seed World

CSGA Asking for Feedback on Circular 6 Modernization

Canadian pedigreed seed has a rich history and a global reputation for quality. This is due to strong Canadian regulations and procedures in place for pedigreed seed production.

Of course, standards must be kept current with the trends and practices in modern agriculture. CSGA hopes to bring changes to some standards as early as 2018 as a result of a technical review and revision of standards in Circular 6, it announced today. Additional changes to the layout of Circular 6 are also planned.

Circular 6, the Canadian Regulations and Procedures for Pedigreed Seed Crop Production, is a detailed 200-page document. Since its inception in the 1920s Circular 6 has been revised many times but the last extensive review dates back more than 15 years. Through recent consultations, CSGA has heard from numerous members of the need to clarify, simplify and update the regulations.

As part of the Circular 6 Modernization Project, CSGA is reviewing all seed crop regulations to adapt and simplify the language used.

“We’ve heard from members of the difficulty in interpreting the regulations due to the language used. By simplifying the language and making regulations more clear, we hope to improve the understanding of our regulations and in turn prevent simple but costly mistakes from being made in the field. Regulations are also being reviewed to ensure that they reflect modern agricultural practices,” CSGA said in a statement.

The project also includes the review of procedures to distinguish mandatory from voluntary requirements. In short, all the suggested guidelines (“shoulds”) for seed crop production will be removed from the regulations and moved to a separate best management practices (BPM) handbook to improve seed growers’ understanding of regulations versus BMPs.

To help with this review, CSGA has organized six separate working groups: cereals, pulses, soybeans, canola, forages, and hemp. Comprised of experienced seed growers and industry experts, including plant breeders, seed crop inspectors and CFIA, the working groups are examining Circular 6 to review the standards, procedures, best practices and other elements.

“CSGA is also exploring digital tools to transform the current paper based or PDF document into a searchable, interactive and accessible electronic tool. Members need to be able to find pedigreed seed production requirements quickly and from a mobile device, if necessary. The current 200-page format is difficult to navigate and we hope the new searchable data base will improve members’ access to Circular 6 requirements from a mobile device,” the statement goes on to say.

All of these changes are part of the first phase of Circular 6 Modernization. In a second phase some of the more difficult, contentious, or uncertain elements of the technical standards will be reviewed which should result in further amendments in 2019 and 2020.

Although some standards will be changing in time for the 2018 crop season, CSGA is working towards a 2019 launch of a new and improved Circular 6. Circular 6 is a highly respected and detailed document. An indepth analysis and review of the regulations, including time to collect member input and review proposals takes time. We are confident seed growers will support this approach and timeline to ensure the review is given the time it deserves.

CSGA was recently able to secure funding from the Government of Canada, to hire consultants to assist in the management of the project.

“We recognize that seed growers and other seed sector stakeholders have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to pedigreed seed production. Maintaining high but reasonable standards is important for Canadian agriculture and we need to hear from seed growers and key stakeholders about what they think matters,” the organization said. “If you have any opinion on either keeping or changing standards, we want to hear from you. There is an opportunity for face-to-face discussions at all upcoming branch meetings this winter along with an online engagement that will be communicated to members via Seed Scoop. In the meantime, if you have comments, please share them with us!”

You can reach out to the CSGA today to have your voice heard by emailing with the subject line “Feedback: Circular 6 Modernization”. Share your views on what needs to change to help strengthen Canada’s seed production standards and help make your business more competitive in markets at home and around the world. Circular 6 Modernization is important to ensure that Canadian agriculture continues to benefit from a robust and reliable pedigreed seed supply.

For more information on Circular 6 Modernization or to share your views, contact Mike Scheffel at 613-236-0497, ext. 223