GFM Network News


Plant Breeders’ Rights Commissioner Anthony Parker (r) and Carla St. Croix, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s director of the Innovation and Growth Policy Division spoke about royalty proposals at Ad Days in Brandon Jan. 23.

Seed royalty costs discussed at Ag Days

Wheat deregistration as an anti-competitive tool is on regulators’ radar

There’s more word on just how big the bill could be under proposed new royalty models intended to fund variety development. A slide presented at Ag Days Jan. 23 showed a range of $1 a tonne or $1.30 an acre to $3 a tonne or $3.90 an acre. A farmer who grows 300 acres of

Comment: Farmer push-back on cereal seed royalty proposals

Most people don’t like change or paying more but a lack of trust could be a factor too

Western Canada’s wheat, barley and oat grower commissions say it’s unlikely farmers will accept either one of the two options to get farmers to pay more royalties for cereal seed. Some push-back was to be expected, but the seed industry no doubt was, and likely still is, hoping its arguments, including that farmers will gain


Opinion: The backstory on Seed Synergy

Over the last two months farmers have become aware of an ominous drive, co-ordinated by elements of Canada’s seed industry and financially aided by our federal government, that is attempting to eliminate our right to freely save and reuse our own seed. This story actually begins in 1990, when the Canadian government adopted the UPOV

Private sector seed research spending trends.

Federal consultation on new seed royalties will stretch into next year

Public meetings are over but smaller-scale discussions will continue in the coming weeks and months

After four public meetings with farmers and the seed industry, a federal consultation on proposals for changes to plant breeders’ rights is moving to individual discussions and group sessions. Following the last public meeting Nov. 30 in Ottawa, officials from Agriculture Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will spend time assessing all the input

One royalty example is estimated to add $250 to $500 in extra costs to an average 1,700-acre Saskatchewan farm.

Seed royalty meeting leaves unanswered questions

Farmers fear handing 
a blank cheque to private breeders

How much more will cereal seed cost Canadian farmers? That’s what those at the first federal government consultation on the proposed new cereal seed royalties were most interested in. The answer? It depends on how much the royalty is — and how it’s applied. Who sets the royalty — government or breeding organizations — hasn’t


Minto farmer David Rourke told KAP’s advisory council meeting Nov. 12 he’s reluctant to support one of the two royalty options being proposed when there could be a third option. Rourke said the publicly funding cereal variety development system has served farmers well and said he’s skeptical about how much more value the private sector can deliver.

KAP has no position on proposed seed royalty options yet

Delegates raise concerns about higher seed costs ahead of the first consultation meeting in Winnipeg Friday

The Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) is still working out its position on a proposal for seed companies to collect more royalties from farmers on cereal seed, which proponents say will aid farmers by encouraging more variety development. Meanwhile, the first of the federal government’s four consultation meetings on the proposal is being held at the

Farmers have long sown saved seed, but that could start coming with a price tag under two proposed royalty systems.

Royalty shift could equal more costly seed for farmers

Proposal proponents tout farmer access to better varieties because of market incentives

Nobody likes paying more. But it’s also often said you get what you pay for. That’s the dilemma facing Canadian farmers being consulted about new options for paying higher royalties on cereal and pulse seed. It’s said those royalties will encourage foreign and domestic investment in variety development, which supporters of the options say will

SeCan says PBR enforcement will ensure farmers get the best possible varieties by rewarding the breeders who develop them.

Saskatchewan farmer pays up after breaching plant breeders’ rights

Seed companies warn infringers potentially face significant costs, not only for unpaid royalties 
but also the investigation and court costs

Canada has had plant breeders’ rights (PBR) regulations for 25 years, yet some farmers still breach them. Dustin Hawkins, who farms near Kincaid, Sask., is the latest to be penalized for the unauthorized advertising and sale of durum wheat varieties AC Transcend and AC Strongfield, whose rights are held by FP Genetics and SeCan, respectively.


SeCan is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The not-for-profit company is Canada’s biggest distributor of certified seed.

SeCan celebrates 40th anniversary

Canada’s largest certified seed distributor is even more relevant today, says general manager Jeff Reid

SeCan was ahead of the curve when founded in 1976 — and still is today, says general manager Jeff Reid. “I think it is interesting that 40 years after SeCan was initiated, it seems in many respects to almost be just coming-of-age now, with all the talk about public, private and producer partnerships,” Reid said

Claudia Schievelbein and Guy Kastler spoke about Europe’s experience with UPOV ’91 at the University of Manitoba Feb. 22 at a meeting organized by the National Farmers Union with funding from Growing Forward 2 and Interlake Forage Seeds Ltd. Schievelbein is an organic farmer and farm reporter in Germany. Kastler is an organic farmer in France and advocate for farm-saved seed.

Analysis: Rising seed costs on farmer radar

There are different options for producers to consider

There are no crops without seed. It’s as essential to production as air, soil, water and sunshine. Seed is also increasingly expensive ranking in the top three “operating expenses” for Manitoba crop producers along with fertilizer and pesticides. (Operating costs do not include fixed costs such as land and equipment or labour.) The National Farmers