Seed World

CSGA Makes its Pitch to Reintroduce Two Membership Classes

Doug Miller is CSGA Executive Director.

At its virtual annual meeting held June 26, the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association made it pitch to reintroduce two membership classes in what Executive Director Doug Miller said is partly meant to clear up the misconception that only seed growers are members of the association.

Last winter, the CSGA board engaged with provincial branches during their annual general meetings to discuss the proposal. The feedback garnered during these discussions has been instrumental in refining a proposal aimed at reintroducing two membership classes: affiliate and associate memberships, he said.

“We are not creating something entirely new here,” Miller said. “This is about reintroducing affiliate and associate membership classes that have existed in our recent past.” The goal is to build an inclusive seed certification system, a vision that CSGA has been championing through its CSGA 2.0 business plan launched in April 2021, and the Seed Regulatory Modernization (SRM) initiative.

Why now?

According to Miller, the proposal is all about inclusivity.

“Our current role as Canada’s national seed crop certification authority is evolving,” he said. “We believe there’s a real opportunity to have a discussion about creating a system that includes everyone who benefits from CSGA services.” This move aims to streamline the seed certification process, reduce red tape, and maintain the trusted system that CSGA has built over the last century, he said.

Understanding the Membership

“Who is a member?” Miller asked. Over the years, this concept has become somewhat unclear, he said. “Our membership is as diverse as the varieties we certify,” he explained, highlighting that it includes contract growers, independent seed businesses, seed companies, variety developers, and plant breeders. “There’s a misconception that only seed growers are members. In reality, seed companies, especially those producing hybrid crops, have been CSGA members for many years.”

Affiliate membership is defined as a member who supports the production of pedigreed seed, Miller explained. This could encompass seed analysts, crop inspectors, and operators of Registered Seed Establishments (RSEs), as well as seed companies not producing breeder or hybrid crops. Affiliate members would be able to attend member-to-member sessions and submit member proposals and attend and vote at AGMs on relevant topics, but would not be eligible for voting on membership,
acreage fees or the board of directors. They could, however, attend and vote as a membership class at
CSGA’s special meeting.

The associate membership, on the other hand, is for industry associations involved or interested in pedigreed seed production. “This provides a pathway for industry associations to engage with CSGA,” Miller said. They could attend member-to-member sessions and submit member proposals as well as attend and vote at AGMs on relevant topics, but would not be eligible for voting on membership, acreage fees or the board of directors.

“We want to ensure that the existing rights and privileges of regular members are not diluted,” Miller said.

Next Steps

The consultation process for this proposal began earlier in June, with feedback being solicited from members and stakeholders. “We’re looking for your input,” Miller said, emphasizing the importance of member and stakeholder feedback in shaping the final decision. If the proposal is adopted, it will require a Special General Meeting for regular members to vote on the changes.

For more information and to provide feedback, members are encouraged to review the framing document, FAQ, and proposed bylaw revisions distributed during the consultation period.

“As CSGA looks to the future, member and stakeholder engagement will be crucial in shaping an inclusive and efficient seed certification system,” Miller added.