GrainsWest winter 2016 - page 13

agriculture and environment ministries;
CropLife Canada members, registrants,
seed dealers and distributors; and rep-
resentatives from the Pest Management
Regulatory Agency.
Four hundred sites across Canada have
received pre-audits since the standards
were released in 2014. Pre-audits help the
operations to identify any changes that
they will have to make in order to comply
with the new standards. Many of the
standards are designed to minimize the
operation’s environmental footprint and
raise environmental standards.
In order to comply with the standards,
Hurst said some operators might need to
make adjustments to building siting and
structure. “An example of this would be
asking for appropriate ventilation in the
treatment area. If they’re treating seed
on a dirt floor, we probably want them to
change the floor to a cement or an imper-
meable floor base in the event of a spill.”
Operators will also need to increase
their documentation, and provide training
and education to all employees. Documen-
tation must be in place for a host of poten-
tial issues, including health emergencies,
chemical spills and fires.
Hurst acknowledged that the new
standards will require more paperwork,
but said they should help the operations
from a management standpoint.
Will Van Roessel runs Specialty Seeds
in Bow Island and has his doubts about
the proposed standards. He received a
pre-audit and will have to make a number
of changes to his operation to meet the
“Some of it is of questionable benefit,”
he said. “The interesting thing is that
none of these things that we’re asked to
do will be a benefit to the customer—
the people we’re selling seed to. It will
definitely increase some of our costs, but
it’s not going to make things better for
the people who are buying seed from us.
That’s one of my concerns.”
While some of the new guidelines make
sense, other protocols seem to be geared
to large indoor operations, where seed
is being treated year round, he added.
At Van Roessel’s operation, all the seed
treatment is done with portable equip-
ment outside, so the risk of fire is mini-
mal. He plans to look at the time and costs
involved, and if the numbers do not work
for him, he might consider contracting out
the seed treating to another operation.
“If I was in a situation where I was set-
ting up a new seed-treatment facility and
was planning to be in it for a considerably
long time, it wouldn’t be a big problem
to incorporate some of these ideas into a
new setup. But when you’ve already got
something that works well, does a good
job for customers and doesn’t seem to have
any safety hazards, then you wonder if it’s
worth changing,” he said.
Warren Sekulic, a farmer from the
Rycroft area is also concerned. “As it
stands now, the concern I have is lack
of access to good seed treatment and to
new products. As we move forward under
this new regime, I’m scared that I won’t
be able to access new products, and that
they’ll keep all the good, new ones under
the commercial label,” he said.
Sekulic and his family sell pedigreed
seed, and do seed treating for their own
operation. Under CropLife’s proposed
guidelines, he’s worried that he might be
forced to use third parties to do his seed
treating. He wants to ensure that farmers
like him continue to have access to new
technologies. Up in the Peace country,
many large farms do treat their own seed,
because there aren’t a lot of seed growers
that do custom treating in their area.
“Down south, you have more seed
growers, and they do their own treating
and there’s more of a culture of buying
certified seed. That might affect them a
little more than us,” he said.
Sekulic also expects that seed treaters
will have to maintain a higher standard
of documentation and shoulder a larger
regulatory burden.
“The people at CropLife say that the
impact on us will be minimal. It will only
be for treatments labelled commercial, but
the concern is how the labelling will be
made in the future. Will we be restricted
to products that aren’t as good?” he said.
Rick Stamp of Stamp Seeds in Enchant
sat in on some of the talks when the new
seed treatment guidelines were being
“I’m a little bit concerned because it’s
a big undertaking to meet some of these
regulations,” he said. “We’re not against
what they’re doing.”
For the past five years, the Stamps have
been in the process of updating their own
seed treatment system and facility.
“We were already in the process, so
that’s good. It doesn’t scare us too much
because we knew it was coming, so we
have been trying to prepare for it,” he said.
His family has been slowly updating
their own operation over the last five years
in preparation for the changes and he does
see an effect on certain types of produc-
ers, depending how it is deployed.
“The average farmer who uses the same
products will have to follow the same pro-
tocols that we have to, which means that
they will have to do a lot of record keep-
ing, paperwork and audits, no different
than what we have to do on a pedigreed
seed operation,” he said.
Some farms won’t be able to purchase
certain products, and will need to get that
seed treated by commercial application
or by a facility that has been set up to do
that. The program may also have conse-
quences for mobile seed treaters.
But Stamp said that being in the pro-
gram is part of farmers’ social licence to
operate, and shows that farmers are being
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