GrainsWest winter 2016 - page 12

treatment industry will have to change
some of the ways they operate, thanks
to new industry standards outlined by
CropLife Canada, an industry-led advo-
cacy group focused on sustainability and
biotechnology. The new guidelines were
released to the public in 2014, but oper-
ators will have until 2017 before they are
required to implement them. While most
operators should be able to make the nec-
essary changes, there are concerns that
some will find compliance too onerous,
thus reducing farmers’ access to com-
petitive seed treatment options. Another
worry is that farmers’ ability to treat their
own seed could be affected over time.
“What we’ve really tried to accomplish
is to standardize the process in terms of
how seed-treatment products are handled
and applied,” said Russel Hurst, executive
director of sustainability and stewardship
for CropLife Canada.
The new guidelines are industry stand-
ards, rather than government regulations,
and will be enforced by an independent,
third-party auditor. Once the guidelines
are in place, all seed-related companies
will be audited every two years.
As of 2017, designated seed-treatment
products can only be handled by accred-
ited operations. Groups affected by the
implementation of the new standards
include seed-treatment companies, agri-
cultural retail facilities, seed growers who
treat commercial seed, and seed-cleaning
According to Hurst, the changes will
not affect average producers and what
they do on their farm. He said producers
will benefit because the standards for how
seed is to be treated will ensure a more
consistent product. Hurst is expecting the
new seed-treatment guidelines to create a
more level playing field for everyone in the
seed treatment industry.
“There are sites that far exceed what
we’re looking for, but there are also sites
where there are opportunities for them
to improve their operations,” said Hurst.
“I think it gives them an opportunity to
understand where their peers are at and
modify their operations.”
The new standards consist of 76 proto-
cols; 66 are based on existing regulations,
which are mainly federal or provincial
laws, and the remaining 10 were devel-
oped from industry best management
practices. A number of parties helped to
develop the guidelines, including industry
and government stakeholders; members of
the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association;
various representatives from provincial
The new seed treatment guidelines are designed to create a level playing field for everyone in the industry, but some operators are worried about negative effects.
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