Soy boom boosts bulk pedigreed seed storage

Executive director of the Canadian Seed Institute reports on recent accreditation and training activity

An increase in the number of bulk pedigreed seed storage facilities in Western Canada is keeping inspectors busy, says the executive director of the Canadian Seed Institute (CSI).

“We are seeing an increase in bulk storage facilities right now. We believe this is largely due to the increase in the movement of soybeans in Western Canada. We are seeing a lot more facilities handling soybeans in bulk,” Roy van Wyk told the recent Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) annual meeting here.

CSI is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1997 by the CSGA, the Canadian Seed Trade Association and the Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada.

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It is recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and has been given the mandate to be the single point of contact for all seed establishments, labs, operators and graders who are seeking registration, licensing or accreditation.

“CSI helps the pedigreed seed industry maintain the highest level of quality during the handling, processing and packaging of seed,” van Wyk said. “Currently, there are about 563 approved conditioners that we look at in Canada, 859 bulk storage facilities and about 80 authorized importers, 32 labs and on the personnel side, there are about over 1,600 accredited operators and almost 1,000 accredited graders.”

Although CSI is seeing most of the growth in bulk storage, van Wyk says the institute has also been seeing a steady demand for other training programs.

“We have been very busy in the last four years delivering grader training to new graders. There seems to be an ongoing and steady appetite for training,” van Wyk said.

CSI has been actively delivering accreditation and monitoring programs in Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick and van Wyk says the organization is looking to expand its offerings.

“We are looking at developing programs for refresher training for operators in both the conditioners and storage facilities,” van Wyk said. “We have the outline and template of those training programs done right now. We have one more review to do and then we will have discussions about delivery.”

CSI is looking at offering the new training with in-person sessions, but also through webinars and self-help sessions in order to minimize expense.

Van Wyk noted that CSI also acts as an organic certification body, and the sector has been keeping him busy lately.

“The increase in our client base is coming largely from new clients and new people who are excited about the organic industry. This is certainly a sector to watch.”

About the author

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Jennifer Paige

Jennifer Paige is a reporter centred in southwestern Manitoba. She previously wrote for the agriculture-based magazine publisher, Issues Ink and was the sole-reporter at the Minnedosa Tribune for two years prior to joining the Manitoba Co-operator.

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