Seed World

15 Pioneers Paving the Road Ahead: Part 2

Over the next several weeks we’ll gather some insights from the 15 inaugural board members of Seeds Canada, our new national seed organization. Click here for Part 1.

On Feb. 1, the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA), Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC), Canadian Seed Institute (CSI) and the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) will amalgamate to create Seeds Canada.

The vision for Seeds Canada remains the same — to become the leading voice of the Canadian seed sector, helping its members succeed and grow in Canada and around the world.

This group of people from all areas of the seed sector intend to help the new organization do just that. In their own words, here’s how they plan to lead Seeds Canada.

This week we offer insights from Annie Bergeron, Chris Churko and Brent Collins.


Annie Bergeron — Saint-Pie, Que.

Annie is the current CEO/general manager of Les Grains Semtech, Quebec’s full-service seed processor. In her 16 years with Semtech, she has gained a wealth of experience managing seed crop production and processing, warehousing and provides close oversight of Semtech’s quality assurance programs. She also manages Semtech’s accredited seed crop inspection service, the largest in Québec.

On why she agreed to be on the inaugural board

“Someone told me once that the busiest people were the ones willing to take on more work. That’s probably not so wrong. I’m excited about working with very knowledgeable people, sharing experiences and thoughts to help shape the future of the seed industry. It’s very motivating for me.”

On her favourite part of the Seeds Canada structure

“This is going to be a member-driven organization, and the board will be able to hear directly from the members on the different committees. Seeds Canada will be a diverse and inclusive association, all members will have an equal voice at the table, regardless of their size. And our industry will have a stronger lobbying voice, for sure. Increased opportunities to shape policy and improve public communication is another hugely important benefit.”


Chris Churko — Milestone, Sask.

Chris has been involved in the Canadian agriculture industry for the past 24 years. In 2019, he accepted the role of CEO with FP Genetics, one of the country’s largest seed grower-owned companies. In his free time, he operates a grain farm near Melville.

On how the members of the Seeds Canada inaugural board were chosen

“It was a case of just rebalancing the board to reflect the four partners, but at the same time ensuring we kept the seed grower voice in there after the CSGA ‘No’ vote. You can’t ignore an extremely important part of the system. A member-focused organization that’s attractive to seed growers becomes critically important because their expertise, knowledge and participation is just as critical as everyone else’s.”

Why Seeds Canada is based on a one-member, one-vote system

“We’ve focused on breaking down the silos and making sure that members are members. While we all have different expertise and experiences, when it comes to sitting down at a table, we’re equals in that room. It’s already bearing fruit — I think that old distinction between trade and grower is breaking down.”


Brent Collins — Calgary, Alta.

Brent is responsible for establishing the strategic direction of BASF’s InVigor canola business for both the Canadian and U.S. markets. He has more than 25 years of experience in agriculture, with a background in agricultural engineering, coupled with a master’s degree in agronomy and crop science.

On how Seeds Canada can help get more seed growers involved

“I think transparency will continue to be important. One of the commitments that Seeds Canada is making with the new organization is to make sure that communication with all stakeholders stays strong. I think the representation on the board will allow various touch points with the industry, and with seed growers particularly.”

On how the new organization can move forward without the CSGA

“We’re respecting the decision that the CSGA took with their vote, and perhaps there will be a day when they join Seeds Canada, which I think for the seed sector would be a really good thing. In the meantime, I think Seeds Canada has a wonderful mandate, and will absolutely offer incremental value versus having the individual entities on their own. There’s a myriad of things to get done in the first six months, and we’re chomping at the bit to get going.”