Second Seeds Canada merger vote to proceed sans CSGA

Seed Growers membership had voted against amalgamation deal

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A proposal to combine Canada’s seed industry groups into a single organization, to be dubbed Seeds Canada, will be subject to a new vote, this time with one less group on board.

The Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA), Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA); Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC) and Canadian Seed Institute announced plans Tuesday to seek approval from their respective boards and memberships for a four-way amalgamation.

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No longer in the Seeds Canada hopper is the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA), whose membership “did not vote in favour” of a five-way amalgamation proposal during a vote held over six weeks ending in late August.

The amalgamation proposal dates back to a 2015 brief from the CSGA and CSTA, followed by a 2017 “green paper” on the “core ideas and context for the next-generation seed system.”

A 2018 white paper from the five organizations pointed out that, among other issues facing the seeds sector, the groups have “overlapping memberships and even directors, creating a significant draw on member time and resources.”

The CSGA, which would have been the largest participating group in a five-way merger, represents pedigreed seed producers, with a membership made up mainly of farmers. It also has statutory power to certify pedigreed seed.

The CSTA, meanwhile, represents seed companies including major multinationals such as BASF and Bayer as well as smaller seed grower/retailers. CSTA president Ellen Sparry said last month it’s hoped the CSGA would co-operate with a separate Seeds Canada organization, possibly through a formal agreement.

The four other organizations said Tuesday they now plan to build on the momentum from their previous votes in favour, and update the Seeds Canada ratification package before undertaking a new membership vote.

“The goal is to ensure that members and stakeholders, including seed growers, will see value in the new amalgamation package,” they said in a release.

Implementation work on the new plan will take place “concurrently,” with the goal of bringing Seeds Canada into existence in February 2021 pending board and membership approvals, the groups said.

“While there may be one less amalgamating partner, the vision for Seeds Canada to become the voice of the seed sector, including seed growers, analysts and the seed trade, remains the same,” the groups said.

The new plan’s goal, they said, is for Seeds Canada’s membership to eventually include national and provincial seed associations, “as well as seed growers from across the country.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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Dave Bedard

Editor, Daily News, Glacier FarmMedia Network. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.

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