Seed World

There is Strength in Numbers

A new era may soon begin for members of the Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada.

We held our virtual meeting this week. It’s the first time we have ever done so. We had more members participate than normal, due to the convenience of the virtual format.

Shirley Baraniski and Cathy Breadner both left the board this year. We would like to thank Shirley and Cathy for their time, dedication and support on the board. They have both been a great asset and we will miss them. We are welcoming Lisa Greenan and Bonnie Benoit.

Sadly, we had to postpone our special meeting, during which we would have voted on whether to join the proposed National Seed Organization (NSO). At press time, we had not yet voted to ratify the proposal, but as incoming president of CSAAC taking over for Morgan Webb, I’d like to offer some thoughts as we forge ahead.

If we vote to join, I believe that the NSO would be a great home for our group of seed analysts. We will be able to amplify our voice and be heard in the industry more than ever and get help from the rest of our industry. The problems that arise in the lab affect seed growers and the seed trade in general. For us to be a formal part of this single organization will benefit us and the seed growers and businesses we serve.

As part of the NSO, CSAAC itself would cease to exist, but as part of the NSO we would do the work we do now while being part of a larger organization that allows us to amplify our voice.

This is bittersweet for us. CSAAC was formed in 1944 by six seed analysts working in the private sector. The goals at the time were uniformity, education, keeping up with new technologies, and cooperating with regulators. The founding members were all women, a trend that continues today — of CSAAC’s 88 members, 66 are female.

CSAAC has a great relationship with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Whether or not we join the NSO, we will continue to work with CFIA and its Seed Section and Seed Science and Technology Section. We’ll continue our quality Seal program and Continuing Education program for our analyst members, plus we will be plugged directly into a larger organization with members from all corners of our industry. That includes Quebec, where I have lived and worked for over 30 years, currently as quality control manager with Sollio Agriculture (formerly La Coop fédérée).

The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us all that we don’t exist in a vacuum. We rely upon one another and are stronger together than apart. Change is always difficult but leads to bigger and better things if we choose to view it positively and seize the opportunities that come our way.