Seed World

As Seeds Canada Gathers in Edmonton, it’s Going to Tackle a Crucial Question

The future of seed is here — are we ready?

I ask that question not only because I’m interested in the answer, but also because it’s a fundamental one we’ll be addressing at our Annual Conference in Edmonton, Alta., from July 8-10.

Lorne Hadley is member relations director for Seeds Canada

It’s the theme of our meeting, and one born out of necessity. Our industry is at a tipping point, and it’s crucial to find out we’re ready for the future. If we’re ready, how do we ensure success? And if we’re not, how do we prepare ourselves?

The Seeds Canada meeting is an opportunity to come together and answer these important questions.

The challenge we face in our industry is that we often talk about the various aspects of the industry as separate entities. We tend to dissect regulations, technological advancements, market access issues, and so forth, as if they’re isolated components. But the reality is, everything is in a state of flux. 

Change is occurring in every facet of seed development, production, and marketing. So, instead of looking at these elements in isolation, we need to look at the interconnectedness, the holistic picture of how they all fit together.

The primary aim is to shed light on the multitude of changes that are taking place; not just one aspect like regulation or gene editing, but to understand how all these changes are intertwined. We want to emphasize that our progress will only be as fast as the slowest adoption within this complex ecosystem. From the integration of artificial intelligence to gene editing in breeding, from the use of drones for crop analysis to addressing market access issues, it’s all part of the evolving seed landscape.

At the heart of our meeting design is member engagement. Sure, we have expert speakers lined up to provide insights, but the real essence lies in members sharing their experiences and knowledge with each other. Whether it’s through panel discussions or informal conversations during coffee breaks, the goal is to foster an environment where everyone leaves feeling informed and energized.

We’ve carefully curated our agenda to ensure that each session builds upon this theme of collaboration and continuous learning. From discussing emerging issues to reflecting on past successes and challenges, every segment serves to enrich our collective understanding and drive the industry forward.

We’ll open our conference with Andy LaVigne, president and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association and over 25 years of experience. His expertise spans not only nationally in the U.S. but also across North America and globally. In his expansive career, he’s witnessed a lot and truly understands the intricacies of the interconnected nature of the industry.

He’s exactly the kind of person we want to hear from as he highlights the critical role of innovative research and practice in shaping a more sustainable and productive future. Participants will be encouraged to rethink traditional approaches and embrace the transformative potential of seed innovation to build a better, more sustainable future for generations to come. 

As we dive deeper into the agenda, we will also be focusing on the establishment of an independent Inclusive Seed Standards Body (ISSB). We will present a progress report on the ISSB development, first announced in 2022. The independent consultant will present on key areas of the report, such as a review of existing advisory bodies and their effectiveness and interviews with a wide range of stakeholders in the seed sector. We will outline a comprehensive mandate, scope, representation, and structure and governance model for establishing an ISSB.

We’ll tackle policy, politics, and of course, have an important discussion on Seed Regulatory Modernization. 

We’ll also devote time for member feedback and reaction sessions, ensuring that tour members’ voices are heard, and your questions addressed. This will also include input from non-members who continue to be pivotal to our discussions.

And let’s not forget about our annual general meeting, where members have a direct say in the direction of the organization through elections and discussions on key matters. It’s all about empowering our members to shape the future of our industry.

With a diverse range of topics and perspectives, we aim to make this conference the go-to platform for anyone invested in the seed industry. Our goal is simple: to create an environment where learning never stops and connections really do flourish.

So, are we ready to meet the future? Let’s talk about it! See you in Edmonton.

So, are we ready to meet the future? Let’s talk about it! Click here to register now for the meeting and see you in Edmonton.