Seed World

Seed School was a Reminder of What Makes our Industry Tick 

Attendees of Seed School take a tour of 20/20 Seed Labs in Winnipeg.
PHOTO: Attendees of Seed School take a tour of 20/20 Seed Labs in Winnipeg.

Helping organize the first Seeds Canada Seed School held in partnership last month with Cereals Canada has given me a new appreciation for an industry I’ve been involved in for decades. 

Lorne Hadley is Seeds Canada member relations director

Our mission was clear: to unravel the intricacies of the work we do for our customers, whether that work is for growers or end users.

Held in Winnipeg at Cereals Canada headquarters from Feb. 12-14, Seed School featured presentations from experts in variety development, grain quality, seed production, quality testing and processing. The location allowed for visits to grain quality laboratories and tours of nearby seed facilities. 

Despite our frequent discussions about the nature of our endeavours, the profound discipline and science underlying the development of genetics remain widely misunderstood. 

Seed School aimed to shed light on this, focusing on the journey from seed to field. Each presentation and field trip highlighted the fact that good seed is not just a commodity. It is a two-fold product — a testimony to the desired genetics and a set of instructions tailored for optimal growth in the field. It was clear that this process is far from random but rather a careful collaboration between science and practice, honed over years of Canadian agricultural innovation.

On the first day of Seed School, we focused on unravelling the mechanics of variety development. We explored how feedback from industry stakeholders — farmers, agronomists and end-users — shapes the goals and trajectory of crop development through engaging presentations and insightful discussions. Tours on the first day included visits to the Canadian Grain Commission and Cereals Quality Labs, providing a first-hand look at the scientific processes that drive our crop production.

On the second day we delved into the practical application of our knowledge — the science and best practices that support seed production. With presentations from industry experts and immersive tours of the 20/20 Seed Labs and Pitura Seeds seed processing laboratories, we gained invaluable insights into the physics and mechanics behind a truly efficient processing plant.

We also witnessed first-hand the meticulous measures in place to confirm seed quality.

As Seed School drew to a close, I reflected on the camaraderie that developed during our time together. It was heartening to witness the growing comfort  participants had with one another, fostering an environment ripe for curiosity and inquiry. The final day was a powerful reminder of our shared purpose  — to serve our customers with integrity and care, guided by a commitment to excellence and continuous improvement.

As we look to the future, our annual conference — to be held in Edmonton, Alta., from July 8-10 — will explore more of these issues under the theme “The Future of Seed is Here — are we Ready?” The success of Seed School is just the start of what lies ahead.

With feedback and collaboration as our compass, Seeds Canada will continue to refine and expand our educational efforts.

I sincerely thank Cereals Canada for their unwavering support and guidance throughout this Seed School journey. Their expertise and commitment have been instrumental in bringing our vision to life, and I am immensely grateful for their partnership. With strong partners like them, we are charting a course towards a brighter, more sustainable future for agriculture in Canada and beyond.