Seed World

How Seeds Canada is Navigating the Path to Innovation and Sustainability

As the seed industry continues to play a crucial role in the Canadian agriculture landscape, Seeds Canada remains at the forefront, spearheading innovation and sustainable practices. With an experienced team, including Executive Director Barry Senft and President Ellen Sparry, the organization is driven by the passion of its members and dedicated to shaping the future of the seed industry.

Senft and Sparry sat down last week at the Seeds Canada annual meeting in St. John’s to talk about their insights on the easiest aspects of their roles, the challenges they face, the state of Canada’s seed regulatory system, and the exciting innovations shaping the future of agriculture.

The Easiest Part: Embracing Passionate Members

For Senft, the easiest and most rewarding part of his role as executive director for Seeds Canada is working with passionate members. Having served in various sectors of the grain industry before, he emphasizes that the seed industry’s passion stands second to none. Working with a member organization becomes even more fulfilling when its members are committed to their organization’s mission and the work it does on their behalf.

The Greatest Challenge: Navigating a Merger

Both acknowledge that one of the biggest challenges they face stems from the recent merger of several organizations into Seeds Canada. With different objectives and priorities, keeping all stakeholders content and aligned is a considerable undertaking. Senft draws parallels with his past experience in a grain industry merger and highlights the importance of striking a balance among the diverse interests involved. Sparry concurs and stresses the need to represent members effectively amidst the complexity of the new organization.

Assessing Canada’s Seed Regulatory System

Canada’s seed regulatory system recently underwent a benchmarking study, comparing it with similar systems worldwide. The report shed light on the areas where Canada excels and areas that need improvement. While the study provided positive insights into the seed development environment, it also revealed the need for enhancements to make it more competitive globally, the pair said.

Looking Ahead: Seeds Canada’s Vision

A year from now, Senft and Sparry have ambitious goals for Seeds Canada. Senft hopes to see significant progress in the regulatory modernization process, ensuring the organization’s competitiveness and attractiveness to potential investors. He underscores the importance of aligning the regulatory framework with the rapidly evolving agricultural landscape. Sparry shares this vision and anticipates fruitful discussions on sustainability and other vital topics to propel Canada’s seed industry to the forefront.