New Model Launched for Access to CDC Pulse Varieties

Pulse licensing system gives Alberta growers access to CDC new varieties, but will raise seed costs for farmers.

In early 2016, the Alberta Pulse Growers pulled its research funding from the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre (CDC). Since then, members of the Alberta Seed Growers (ASG) have been concerned about access to new varieties of pulses, as there was only a limited amount of seed released to Alberta each year.

“When the research funding was pulled, many seed growers were left at a disadvantage for access to new varieties,” notes ASG national board member Ron Markert.

Things have changed, and the seed growers in Alberta have formal access to CDC varieties once again. Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG) has licensed the distribution rights for select CDC pulse varieties in provinces outside of Saskatchewan to SeCan and SeedNet for a 10-year period.

“This is a significant development for Alberta seed growers and farmers,” says Markert.

Here are the basic implications of the deal, which takes effect for the 2018 growing season.

It involves a royalty system and seed growers must be members of SeedNet or SeCan to access the seed.

By licensing the distribution of select varieties for sale in provinces outside of Saskatchewan, SPG is ensuring that growers in other provinces also pay for access to CDC varieties through a seed-royalty system. Licensing the distribution rights will not impact Saskatchewan growers’ ability to access these varieties royalty-free.

For seed growers outside Saskatchewan that are interested in accessing the varieties that have been licensed for distribution outside Saskatchewan, they can contact SeCan and SeedNet for more information.

Seed growers who are not a part of SeCan and SeedNet and have not previously purchased seed of the licensed varieties may contact each company regarding the potential to join and have the opportunity to access these varieties.

Seed growers in Saskatchewan are not permitted to sell seed of CDC-developed varieties to seed growers or commercial producers outside of Saskatchewan without an agreement in place with either SeCan or SeedNet.

“There was a lot of uncertainty on how these products would be handled, and having this settled now with a full list of products has been well received by all SeCan members,” says Todd Hyra, western business manager for SeCan.

With the added royalty, farmers will pay more for certified seed.

Saskatchewan pulse producers contribute significant upfront funding towards the development of CDC varieties,” says Carl Potts, executive director of SPG. “These contributions are made through SPG’s investment of pulse levy towards the CDC pulse breeding program. In exchange for this investment, SPG ensures that Saskatchewan growers are provided with royalty-free access to CDC developed varieties.”

“The new arrangement will result in higher seed cost for farmers in Alberta,” notes Elizabeth Tokariuk, general manager for SeedNet. “The arrangement represents one of the first value capture models being enacted via the royalty system.”

Seed growers may need to overcome price objections due to the royalty fee that will need to be built into the seed cost. Tokariuk says SeedNet is actively working with members to help them tackle potential challenges that arise from this.

“I think farmers recognize the value of CDC varieties and that quality is worth paying for,” she says.

Hyra agrees.

“It’s a shift. In Saskatchewan, a portion of the checkoff has been used to pay for the breeding. In Manitoba and Alberta there hasn’t been that consistent model. This provides a consistent way to flow back dollars from sales of the product and users of the product back to the breeding program. Obviously, no one likes paying more, but they recognize the value that CDC pulse varieties have been able to deliver over the years.”

For more information on the varieties licensed to SeCan and SeedNet, visit

Important: Government of Alberta Fusarium Survey

Message from Kelly Chambers, Executive Director

Hello ASG members!

I hope this message finds you all well as we near the holiday season.

I am sending this note because, as you know, this is a critical time in our industry as we all continue to face the Fusarium issue throughout the province. As we work to achieve mitigation strategies that satisfy all stakeholders, I am pleased to say that the Government of Alberta has decided to engage directly with our members to help determine a solution.

As part of this initiative, the provincial government has created a survey to solicit feedback from members of commissions, associations, and industry groups in Alberta.

The information collected in this survey (link below) will help determine how best to manage Fusarium graminearum in the future, as well as help improve programs and services provided by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

So, where do you come in?

Well, we need you to fill out this survey! The survey will open December 18, 2017 and be open for an extended period, until January 18, 2018.

The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to finish. A ‘save and return’ option is available that allows you to complete the full survey at a later date, as long as it is completed in advance of January 18, 2018.

Click here to access the survey.

Where do the Alberta Seed Growers stand?

As part of the FHB provincial working group, the Alberta Seed Growers have recommended the removal of Fusarium from the Alberta Agricultural Pest Act.

Fusarium exists throughout Alberta. This endorsement has been made to tackle this issue head-on by promoting increased awareness, greater access to best management practices, and surveillance.

Read more about our recommendations by clicking here.

Who should fill out this survey?

The survey is going to a number of targeted stakeholder groups impacted, or potentially impacted, by Fusarium in Alberta. If you are a member of the Alberta Seed Growers and have received this survey, we would love your feedback.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to lend your voice to this important matter. If you do have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at [email protected]

Happy Holidays!

– Kelly

Register for the 2018 AGM

Click here for the conference agenda


The Alberta Seed Growers are hosting our 89th annual general meeting at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity from Feb. 24-26, 2018.

Click here to register

Note to members: Click on the ‘Enter Promotional Code’ prompt in the top right window of the ticket window and enter the code ‘Member’ before selecting tickets and clicking ‘Checkout’.

Set against a picturesque mountain backdrop, our event will feature industry updates, informative speakers, networking opportunities, and the chance to get up close and personal with the Alberta Seed Growers’ board of directors. Come be a part of our meeting and participate in shaping the future of the seed industry!

The event will kick off on Saturday, February 24 with an optional family event – snow tubing at the Banff Norquay ski hill. For more information, click here: The shuttle bus will leave for the hill at 1:00 p.m. and return around 4:00 p.m. The day of tubing will conclude with a dinner afterwards at the Banff Centre’s Kinnear Centre – 103 around 6 p.m. If you are planning to attend, please select the ticket option for the “Family Event” when prompted.

If skiing is more your idea of winter fun, there are a variety of shuttle options from the Banff Centre. More information on the skiing shuttle options is available at If you are not planning on tubing, you are still very much welcome to join us for dinner and share some stories from your day. Just select the “Family Event – Dinner Only” ticket option to register.

The AGM will kick off on Sunday, February 25 with a “Partnerships in Agriculture” session followed by a reception, awards banquet and banquet speaker. We will be releasing an agenda soon outlining the sessions and speakers for the official AGM on Monday, February 26.

Event registration refunds will be provided until January 24, 2018. Following that date, registrations will only be transferrable.

Registration for this event closes at noon on Friday, February 16, 2018.

Banff Centre Reservations:

Hotel accommodation at the Banff Centre will be booked on a first-come first-serve basis and will fill up quickly.

Attendees are responsible to make their own hotel reservations. Rooms can be booked by clicking this link: or by phoning 1 (800) 884-7574 or (403) 762-6100. Reference Alberta Seed Growers’ Association AGM to receive a special group rate.

A block of rooms in Lloyd Hall (Queen bed) are available at $155 + taxes and fees per night. Self-parking is included in the fees. The hotel block rate is available until January 24, 2018 or until the room block is fully booked.

Note: If you are a registered participant at the Prairie Grains Development Committee, in order to keep your accommodation for the duration of both events, please email Kelly Chambers at [email protected]

For more information or if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact:

Kelly Chambers
[email protected]

See you there!




1:00 pm Board shuttle for Snow Tubing at Banff Centre – head to Mt. Norquay

4:00 pm Shuttle returns to Banff Centre from Snow Tubing

6:30 pm Kinnear Centre 105 Casual Dinner – Your day in Banff & Winter Olympic coverage on the big screen 


1:30 – 2:00 Sponsor Exhibit Move-in –  Kinnear 101

Kinnear Centre 101-103 – 2:00–4:30 p.m.

Registration Kinnear Centre 101-103 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Partnerships in Agriculture:

Alberta Seed Growers Board presents the 2017 seed industry activities and future direction facilitated by Shawn Brook, Issues Ink

Lois Schultz – 2017 Senior Champion of the Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture

Kinnear Centre 101 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Reception, Registration & Exhibits Open

Kinnear Centre 103 from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Dinner & Awards Presentation

Welcome Address – Honourable Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Keynote Speakers: Julie & Lowell Taylor – Amazing Partners

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2018 – Kinnear Centre 101-103 

7:00 – 7:45 a.m. Buffet Breakfast

7:30 – 8:00 a.m. Registration & Exhibits Open

Alberta Seed Growers AGM Business Meeting:            

8:00 – 9:30 a.m. Alberta Seed Growers Association – Kinnear Centre 103

Call to Order:

Approval of Agenda

President’s Address:  Ward Oatway

Disposition of Annual Minutes

Appointment of Nominations Committee: Glenn Logan

Appointment of Resolutions Committee:  Jason Welsh

Auditor’s Report

Appointment of Auditor


Disposition of Resolutions

9:30–9:45 a.m.  Alberta Seed Processors – TBD

9:45 – 10:10 Seed Institute Update – Jennifer Scott, Canadian Seed Institute

10:10–10:30 a.m. Refreshment Break & Exhibits Open

10:30 – 12:00 p.m. CSGA Reports:

Presidents’ Remarks – Kevin Runnalls

National Committee Updates – Richard Stamp & Ron Markert

Professional Designation & 2017 Production Stats – Caroline Lafontaine

Circular 6 – Mike Scheffel

Executive Director Report & Seed Synergy Project – Glyn Chancey

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Lunch

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Value Capture – What Method Works? Panel Facilitator – Shawn Brook, Issues Ink

Participants: Todd Hyra, SeCan; Erin Armstrong, Canterra Seeds; Tom Steve, Alberta Wheat & Barley; Lorne Hadley, Canadian Plant Technology Agency

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Global AG RISK Solutions – TBD

2:30 – 3:00 p.m.  Standardized Seed Testing – Alberta Seed Quality Morgan, President CSAAC

3:00 – 3:15 p.m. Refreshment Break & Exhibits Open

Sponsor Exhibit Move-out

3:15 – 4:30 p.m.  Alberta Seed Growers – Members Only Session:

Call for Nominations Election of Directors

Open Forum Resolutions

Adjourn (ASG Board Meeting – Executive Election)

NOTE: Agenda subject to changes prior to event

Thank you to our sponsors!













For information on Park Passes and transport to Banff from the Calgary International Airport, click here.

For Banff Area ski information, click here.

Wheat School: A new tool for assessing fusarium head blight risk

Check out this video from Real Agriculture regarding the new risk tool launched by the Alberta Wheat Commission and the Alberta Climate Information Service.


Alberta Seed Growers thank Glenn Logan, welcome new directors

(Lacombe, Alberta) June 5, 2017 – The Alberta Seed Growers (ASG) board of directors would like to extend a special thanks to past president Glenn Logan for his service to the organization, and welcome Tracy Niemela and Richard Hallett to the board as newly-elected directors.

Logan, who hails from Lomond, spent six years on the ASG board including two-year stints as president and vice-president. A select seed grower, he owns and manages Wheatcrest Farms Inc., a pedigreed seed multiplication farm and processing operation.

“Thanks to Alberta Seed Growers for the opportunity to serve as your President for the past two years,” said Logan. “Together with my board, we saw a 11 percent increase in membership, and a 44,000-acre increase in pedigreed inspected acres. We also initiated a process to review and update the regulations that govern the production of seed in Canada. I am so proud of the work we did, and look forward to an even brighter future for our industry.”

As outgoing president, Glenn Logan will remain on the executive as past-president for the next two years. The ASG board would also like to welcome it’s two newest members, Tracy Niemela and Richard Hallett.

Tracy and her husband Duane, work alongside her parents, Terry and Marilyn Niemela, and other family members to help run and manage Niemela’s Sandy Hill Seed Farm near Sylvan Lake.

“As a new board member, I am excited to learn more about the industry and help to improve the seed system so that it works for all Alberta growers,” said Niemela.

Richard Hallett runs Hallett’s Hay & Seed near Carstairs with his wife, Lacy, and his parents, Dale and Darlene.

“I am honoured to have this opportunity to represent our province’s world-class seed growers,” Hallett explained. “Thank you to the ASG members for their confidence in me.”

Niemela will serve a two-year term as director, while Hallett’s term will last one year.

About the Alberta Seed Growers

The ASG is one of seven branches of the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association. Each branch has its own board that works at a provincial level but also has representation at the national level to communicate the sentiments of the provincial membership.

For more information, contact:

Kelly Chambers
Executive Director
c: 403-325-0081
e: [email protected]

Alberta Seed Growers board elects new executive team

(Lacombe, Alberta) Feb. 13, 2017 – The Alberta Seed Growers (ASG) board of directors has elected Ward Oatway as president and Jason Welsh as vice-president following their annual general meeting on Jan. 30, 2017 in Edmonton, AB.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to represent our province’s seed growers,” said Oatway, who previously served as ASG vice-president for the past year. “As president, I will continue to uphold the values of our great organization and work on our issues of priority on a provincial and national level.”

A seed grower since 1984, Oatway farms with his wife, Lori, and daughters, Ezri and Brie, along with his parents, Grant and Lois, on the family farm south of Clive, Alberta. Together they farm approximately 1,300 acres of seed barley, wheat, peas and commercial canola. They condition the bulk of the seed on-farm, while also utilizing the local Clive Seed Cleaning Co-op.

“I am so honoured to be elected as vice-president,” added Welsh, who was elected to the ASG board in 2015. “I’ve learned so much over the past two years, and I cannot wait to apply that knowledge as we move towards an even brighter future.”

Welsh has been a seed grower for seven-plus years in Milk River, where his family operates Sleepy Hollow Seeds and grows pedigreed wheat, barley, peas and grass seed. He is a graduate of the University of Alberta, where he did a double major in crop science and agricultural business.

Oatway and Welsh will serve two-year terms in their executive positions. As outgoing president, Glenn Logan will remain on the executive as past-president for the next two years.

About the Alberta Seed Growers

The ASG is one of seven branches of the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association. Each branch has its own board that works at a provincial level but also has representation at the national level to communicate the sentiments of the provincial membership.

For more information, contact:

Kelly Chambers
Executive Director
c: 403-325-0081
e: [email protected]

NOTICE of the 88th Annual General Meeting

January 29-30, 2017, Westin, 10135-100th Street, Edmonton, Alberta

Members of the Alberta Seed Growers will receive a complimentary registration for the 2017 annual meeting. Registration fee for non-members and guests is $145 (plus fees + GST). An extra banquet ticket may also be purchased to attend the reception and awards banquet only for $70 (plus fees + GST). Pre-registration is required.

To register for 2017 ASG Annual General Meeting, extra banquet tickets, and to request Westin Edmonton accommodation (limited to ASGA members only), click here.

NOTE: members must use the promotional code: member before pressing ‘Checkout’. On-line payment includes: Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Cheques will be accepted at the door.

Your 2017 ASG Annual General Meeting registration includes:

  • Sunday afternoon session
  • Sunday evening awards banquet
  • Monday breakfast and lunch
  • Monday’s Annual General Meeting and speaker session
  • Women’s Program: Complimentary spa service
  • Member Option – hotel reservation (Limited number of rooms available until January 4th, 2017)



Resolutions are due by January 23, 2016. To submit a resolution use the online form. Resolutions will be discussed, debated and voted on at the ASG AGM January 30, 2016.

2016 Resolution Chair:

Ward Oatway


Clive, AB T0C 0Y0

(403) 784-3001

[email protected]


Shout Out for Director Nominations!

Are you…

  • Passionate and excited about the future of our seed industry
  • Resourceful in areas of governance, policy, finance, communication, marketing, research
  • Creative, thoughtful, and understanding when it comes to capitalizing on opportunities and discussing challenges facing our seed industry
  • Eager to expand your networking opportunities, enhance leadership skills, capture those “lightbulb” moments

If YES, we would love to have you join us on the ASG board of directors!! For further information please contact Don Sendziak, Chair of the Nominations Committee.

2015 Nominations Chair

Don Sendziak

1024-112A St. NW

Edmonton, AB T6J 6S1

(780) 434-1322

[email protected]

The term of office of the provincial directors shall be two years with one half of the directors retiring each year and retiring directors are eligible for re-election.

The term of office of the National Director shall be two years. The Alberta National Grower Directors shall be elected in alternating years at the Annual General Meeting. A director position may be filled for a one year term to establish alternating terms. Retiring directors shall be eligible for re-election.

ASG FarmTech Special Event

Join the Alberta Seed Growers on Thursday, February 2, 2017 for a special panel with speakers from Syngenta and KWS on: “Are Cereal Hybrids in Your Future?” The session will take place from 10:15-11:15 in Hall F. For more information on FarmTech, January 31-February 2, 2017, visit



Alberta Seed Growers Host 2016 Inter-Provincials

From Nov. 2-4, 2016, six of the seven branches of the Canadian Seed Growers gathered in Banff, Alta., for the 2016 CSGA Inter-Provincial meeting. Their mission — to move the industry forward. The issues at stake drew participation from beyond the Prairie branches — in fact, the entire seed industry sent their key leaders.

The stage was set with three major topics over the course of various sessions: Seed Synergy, the CSGA Strategic Plan and Circular 6. We had a room full of branch and national board members, along with representatives from all aspects of seed industry, and everyone contributed to the discussion. The level of participation and the creativity of ideas was impressive.

Seed Synergy is the collaboration of seed industry leadership to create a national next-generation seed system. The organizations represented include CSGA, the Canadian Seed Trade Association, Canadian Seed Institute, Canadian Plant Technology Agency, Commercial Seed Analysts Association, and CropLife Canada. Together they desire a strong, competitive and profitable sector that attracts research and investment in innovation and that is valued for it significant contribution to society.

It must also be a system, it was agreed, that meets the needs of all stakeholders — from farmers to plant breeders, seed growers, marketers, end users, government and society. The scope of the Seed Synergy project is to establish the role of each organization in the seed system, and to examine the regulatory framework. Meeting participants were asked, “If we could build a next-generation seed regulatory system from scratch, what would it look like?” Consultation with industry will continue and members of the Alberta Seed Growers will have the opportunity to contribute their ideas.

Next on the agenda was a discussion on the modernization of Circular 6. To start us off, Mike Scheffel, managing director of policy and standards for CSGA, provided a history of the standards for crop purity, including both general and crop-specific regulations. A couple of the regulations from 1949 drew a reaction from the audience — machinery could be used to clean seed, and not just for different crop kinds, but for noxious and other weeds too!

A discussion panel regarding Circular 6 was next: Roy Klym, president of the Saskatchewan Seed Growers’ Association; Richard Stamp, national director of the Alberta Seed Growers; and Dr. Rob Graf, research scientist, AAFC, and adviser to the Alberta Seed Growers. The panel suggested that Circular 6 imposes restrictions on seed production that do not meet the needs of growers today. Even the language is difficult to interpret, it was said. It was suggested that Circular 6 would be ideal if it was updated, made more crop- and variety-specific, and formatted for mobile viewing online.

Save the Date: 2017 Alberta Seed Growers AGM

Westin Edmonton, January 29-30, 2017

The Board of Directors invite you to attend the 2017 ASG AGM. This industry-renowned event offers informative speakers, networking opportunities, and the chance to get up close and personal with the Alberta Seed Growers’ board of directors. Join us and participate in shaping the future of the seed industry!

This event will kick off on Sunday, January 29 with “Champions of Alberta’s Agriculture Industry” followed by a reception, awards banquet and banquet speaker. We will be releasing an agenda soon outlining the sessions and speakers for the AGM, Monday, January 30.

Hotel accommodation at the Westin Edmonton will be booked on a first come first serve basis and will fill up quickly. The room block closes on January 4, 2017. Registration will be on-line this year, you will receive a link in the next ASG newsletter.