Seed World

Being CSGA President is Like Going Back to School

There’s an old saying about high school that you don’t know how fast it goes until it’s over. Being president of the Canadian Seed Growers Association is much the same. I just finished my first year of a two-year term and I can tell you, it’s gone by in a flash.

And much like high school, I’ve learned a lot. The lessons weren’t always fun or easy, but they’ve made me a better person and a better member of the seed industry.

I’ve become more patient. Being heavily involved in the Seed Synergy Collaboration Project has taught me the value of taking a deep breath and trusting that things will work out. That means trusting people and seeing the leadership potential in everyone. We all need to continue to be leaders in the Seed Synergy process — our goal is to create a strong, competitive and innovative national seed organization, that could mean seeing our five dedicated seed associations come together under one roof.

That means continuing to ask tough questions about who we are, what we do and how we do it. As we change as an organization — as policies, standards and procedures are modernized — we need to ensure that we proceed carefully, recognizing the diversity of voices that we represent. That’s not easy. It requires us all to be humble and check our egos at the door as we continue to work collectively.

It’s made me even more open to change. The Seed Synergy project is moving into a new phase. Now that the White Paper is finished, we’ve welcomed a new consulting firm, Strategy Corp Inc., to try and get an idea of what the structure of a new seed organization would look like. We will be listening to our membership and getting idea of what they think a new seed organization would look like. This process has given me a completely different outlook, as it has many of us, and this next stage will help us all move ahead with a clear mind and a positive outlook. A new seed organization is something to look forward to, not something to be apprehensive about. Even for me, that’s a big realization.

It’s put me more in tune with my members. If there’s one thing I hope my members know, it’s that I’m all about listening to them and taking their concerns forward. As I enter this next and final year of my presidency, I want to continue to hear from them, and I don’t mean just the issues that need more work. I want to hear about the things we are doing right — this next phase of the Seed Synergy project requires everyone to be honest and speak their minds — but with an understanding that we need to build for the future.

This new system we’re building is not for our generation, but for our children, our grandchildren and beyond. That’s perhaps the most important lesson of all. My industry colleague Todd Hyra, past-president of the Canadian Seed Trade Association, has a great analogy about this which you can read about in this very issue.

Questions? Concerns? Just want to chat? Email me anytime at!