Seed World

In the Wake of the “What We Heard” Report, Doug Miller is Looking to the Future

In an exclusive interview with Doug Miller, executive director of the Canadian Seed Growers Association (CSGA), Seed World Canada delved into the recent launches of the CSGA’s #ChooseCertifiedSeed campaign and CSGA Health. Miller shared insights on the reception of these initiatives, the importance of storytelling in the seed sector, and the challenges and triumphs during his three-year tenure.

#ChooseCertifiedSeed Campaign: Shaping the Narrative for the Seed Industry

The #ChooseCertifiedSeed campaign, officially launched after a successful soft launch, has garnered positive feedback within the seed industry. Miller expressed his satisfaction with the campaign’s reception, emphasizing its significance as a foundational piece for the entire sector.

“It’s a key foundational piece for the seed industry at large to be able to leverage to tell the story of certified seed. If you don’t tell your story, someone else will tell it for you,” he says.

The campaign, currently active on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, aims to spread awareness and engage with stakeholders. Miller highlighted the need for the seed sector to collaborate and utilize this new tool effectively, envisioning a future where the campaign evolves to address sustainability and plant breeding investment.

Innovative Approach: CSGA Health

A recent addition to CSGA’s initiatives is the CSGA Health program, an innovative move within the industry, Miller said. The program covers health and dental care for anyone working in the seed sector — you don’t have to be a CSGA member to enrol.

“For us, this provides a new tool for the seed sector at large to be able to use to have affordable health and dental health care,” he says.

CFIA Update and “What We Heard” Report

During the interview, Miller discussed the “What We Heard” report, a pivotal milestone in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) regulatory modernization consultation process. The report indicated strong support, with 95% of survey respondents endorsing a variety registration system. Miller clarified that this is not a CFIA report but a compilation of feedback from stakeholders published by CFIA.

Now that survey respondents have expressed support to CFIA for key CSGA positions, Miller urges a shift in focus to other unresolved issues within the regulatory modernization process.

“Let’s move on to some of the other issues within the SRM process where we don’t yet have consensus,” he added.

Reflections on Leadership and Future Challenges

As Miller approaches his third anniversary as the executive director of CSGA, he reflected on his time, emphasizing the importance of team collaboration. Miller highlighted the team’s dedication to the common goal of providing Canadian producers with high-quality seed to feed the world.

When asked about the biggest life lesson learned during his tenure, Miller emphasized the constant pursuit of improvement.

“I think it’s always good to be always striving to be better than what you were yesterday.” Looking ahead, he sees the challenge as finding ways to build common ground within the sector, fostering collaboration for a shared vision of the future.