Seed World

Why CSGA is Modernizing Circular 6

Michael Scheffel

I’m excited to help kick off the New Year by letting you in on the details of our recently announced modernization of Circular 6 — the Canadian Regulations and Procedures for Pedigreed Seed Crop Production.

Canadian pedigreed seed has a rich history and a global reputation for quality. This is due in part 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.

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 by:

Making it easier to understand. 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.

The project also includes the review of procedures to distinguish mandatory from voluntary requirements. In short, all the suggested guidelines for seed crop production will be removed from the regulations and moved to a separate best management practices 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.

Making it digital. We are 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 database will improve members’ access to Circular 6 requirements from a mobile device. A prototype for testing purposes will be available in the spring.

In a second phase of the modernization, 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 technical 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.

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.

You can reach out to the CSGA today to have your voice heard by emailing with the subject line “Feedback: Circular 6 Modernization”.