Seed World

#SeedsOnTheHill19: 26 Opportunities to Help Craft Good Policy

Lauren Martin
CSTA Government and Industry Relations Coordinator

Senator Deacon’s description of ‘seeds as the earth’s first microchip’ is a great way to describe what is essentially a tiny blueprint for life, containing all the elements needed to grow a plant that gets turned into food, fibre or fuel.

Senator Deacon tweeted this right after meeting with two of CSTA’s Board of Directors as part of our annual Lobby Day on Feb. 5. #SeedsOnTheHill19 was a great success, with a total of 26 meetings taking place between CSTA board members and federal policymakers. The tweet was an example of our message resonating with someone outside our industry, a person who spends their day crafting policy that affects Canadians in their day-to-day lives.

Our annual Lobby Day is incredibly valuable for our industry and communicates to policymakers what the role of seed is, helps them be informed about our industry and establishes important relationships that can pay dividends down the road. Major topics this year included value creation and plant breeding innovation.

The meetings we plan also allow our members to become engaged in new ways. It’s not every day you get to sit down with an MP to discuss what you do for a living and why it matters. While Lobby Day is something we do with the board, we do provide resources through our Sow the Seeds initiative for any member wishing to set up a meeting with their local MP or other representative. We all know our story well, but decision-makers might not know how integral seed is to Canada and the world.

It’s becoming more important to establish yourself as a reputable source of information. There’s a multiplicity of voices out there, and not all of them offer the same reliable, science-based information policymakers need. Talking in one-on-one meetings helps establish a rapport with government so that in the future, if they have a question or aren’t sure who to ask about matters that could pertain to seed or agriculture, they can turn to us for helpful information.

Often, they need that information when they least expect it. In politics, situations can arise unexpectedly and people who craft policy may need information in a hurry. That information can make all the difference when it comes to important decisions that get made at the federal level.

As an organizer, it was exciting to have the board members report back, animated about the meaningful conversations they had. We learned a great deal about what our elected officials and regulators need from us. I look forward to continuing the conversation over the following months and years.

To see photos and updates from our 2019 Lobby Day check out the hashtag #SeedsOnTheHill19 on Twitter!