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


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: kelly@seedalberta.ca

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: kelly@seedalberta.ca

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



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


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 www.farmtechconference.com.



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.

Continuing Collaboration


ASG and AFSC working together to keep insurance options relevant for ASG members.afsc


In an effort to ensure seed grower members get the support they need during times of uncertainty, the Alberta Seed Growers and the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation are continuing to collaborate to keep insurance products up to date for seed growers.

The numbers speak for themselves as to how successful the collaboration between ASG and AFSC has been, according to ASG executive director Kelly Chambers.

So far this year, 157,855 pedigreed seed acres and 286 seed farms were insured by AFSC under the ASG program. That’s up from 140,554 acres and 265 farms the year prior. It’s clear that seed growers are benefiting from regular collaboration between the two groups. The recent development of a cost-of-production spreadsheet is continuing to show exactly how seed growers members benefit from coverage they receive through their ASG membership.

“We will continue to spend time and energy on this type of initiative to ensure we are providing value to our members,” Chambers says.

AFSC, in partnership with ASG, provides a number of insurance products to seed growers, the most recent being changes to alfalfa seed insurance. AFSC amended the Annual Insurance Program to include winterkill as a designated peril for pedigreed alfalfa seed production loss insurance. Coverage will be available for the year in which the winterkill occurs.

Previously, pedigreed alfalfa seed producers lacked access to an insurance product that protects them from losses attributed to winterkill. In the past, winterkill has caused alfalfa seed producers to suffer serious economic losses.

It’s just one of numerous insurance options offered to growers through AFSC, and AFSC research analyst Jesse Cole says they depend on input from the ASG to offer the best coverage they can to seed growers.

“We meet regularly with ASG to see if there’s any way we can improve things for seed growers, and one thing we really want to keep our eye on is the cost of production numbers,” Cole says. “Seed growers invest a lot of money into their businesses, and if they’re spending more money to keep things going, we need to make sure we’re offering them the kind of coverage they require to be protected.”

ASG provincial director Richard Stamp has worked to compile the cost of production numbers and is now taking this spreadsheet a couple of steps further and including seed cleaning and marketing. It’s valuable information for AFSC, which has worked hard to ensure the products it offers seed growers fit well with their unique needs.

According to Cole, AFSC’s pedigreed end use provision comes with the benefit of a germination guarantee. Pricing is a premium to commercial end use and varies by crop (e.g. canola and pulses are a 30 per cent premium, cereal crops are 20 per cent premium).

Germination guarantee levels are based on CFIA Certified No. 1 status which varies by crop (for example, canola is 90 per cent germ, HRS wheat is 85 per cent, durum is 80 per cent). The increased coverage raises premiums by the same percentage as the coverage is raised. The germination guarantee is not loaded into premiums.

Some crops have a separate product to deal with their uniqueness (alfalfa, timothy hay and hybrid canola).

“We try to make things as flexible as possible for the growers,” Cole says. “As a seed grower you can opt in to normal crop insurance as well. The goal is to get growers with regular crop insurance to opt in to the pedigreed insurance if it works for them.”

For more information on pedigreed seed insurance offered through AFSC, call 1.877.899.2372, email info@afsc.ca or find a local Branch Office near you.

Involved in Their Industry

Two new ASG board members are helping keep the Alberta seed sector vibrant and relevant.

The need to bring new blood into the Alberta seed industry is not lost on Glenn Logan. The president of the Alberta Seed Growers says being in the industry for many years is a definite asset, but the need for new perspectives and new ways of doing things is more important than ever.

“Technology changes so fast. The world is changing so fast. You need new people involved,” says Logan, who has farmed full-time on the family farm since 1972.

That rapid pace of change, and the need for new perspectives and ideas, is why he’s excited about the recent additions to the ASG board of directors.

Renee Hoyme, 30, works for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency as an animal inspector in the winter and as a crop inspector in the summer. She’s also heavily involved with the family business, DeWindt Farms Ltd., based in Thorhild.

“My goal was to go to veterinary school, but I got a full-time job with CFIA right out of university. I moved to Grande Prairie, but eventually back to the family farm. I’m a really lucky person to be able to do what I’m doing,” she says.

Last year she was asked to join the ASG board and is glad she did. She’s learning a lot and feels a sense of camaraderie with her fellow seed growers.

“If you show an interest in being involved in something, people will welcome you with open arms,” she says.

Perhaps more importantly, she’s found she can play an important role in shaping the future of the seed industry.

“Obviously, you can’t go on forever having the same people involved all the time. Bringing that new grower perspective I thought would be really helpful to the board and the members themselves,” she says.

Tim Macyk feels the same way. The 38-year-old seed grower is based in Radway, and admits he came onboard with ASG rather reluctantly.

“I got nominated, and to be honest I wasn’t all that interested in joining,” he says. “But my dad’s been involved in agriculture for quite awhile, and it dawned on me that being involved is a good chance to know what’s up and coming for new genetics, which benefits our farm, and I like the idea of being involved with decision making and planning for the seed industry’s future in Alberta.”

Macyk is a partner in MKM Joint Venture growing wheat, peas, barley and oats. He formerly worked as an agronomist.

“Tim brings to the board a good, common-sense perspective,” says ASG past-president Don Sendziak, who nominated him.

“When Don asked me if I’d stand for the nomination I almost said no,” Macyk says. “I know quite a few people in the industry, and they’re always encouraging my involvement, so I thought about it and decided it would be a good thing to do. I’m happy to contribute and I hope I can benefit the industry with my knowledge and background. I’m young and I have lots to learn yet.”

Sendziak nominated Hoyme because of her experience working in government, which he says gives her insight into forces that shape the seed industry in Alberta. She was with CFIA when Alternative Service Delivery (ASD) came into effect.

“With anything new, people are reluctant to change and ag as a whole can be reluctant to change. I think we’re moving forward as an industry,” she says.

As Logan points out, change is unavoidable. But he says having young people like Macyk and Hoyme on the board helps ASG to deal with that change, and decide how best to adapt to it and influence it.

For Macyk, the need to keep the Alberta and Canadian seed industry competitive with world markets is a topic that interests him, and something he’s able to gain insight into as part of the ASG board.

“It’s important to have a say in your future — everything the industry deals with influences things at the seed grower level,” he says. “If you have no say in policy or where your industry is headed, you have to live with the decisions others make for you. It’s crucial to have a say in where you’re going.”

Both Macyk and Hoyme encourage others to get involved, too.

“The board does a lot in the background that I would have never known otherwise,” Hoyme says. “Everyone puts a lot of time into it. A lot of effort is put into going to meetings and meeting with other groups. It’s important.”

Macyk agrees.

“Networking is a big benefit of joining — getting to meet some of the bright minds in the seed industry. I hope to gain some knowledge of the interconnectedness of the industry with some of the other boards and things going on in agriculture,” he adds.

2016 ASGA Board of Directors (missing: Richard Stamp)

2016 ASGA Board of Directors (missing: Richard Stamp and Rob Graf)

Leadership Focuses on Collaboration

IMG_0393-001It was an impressive setting for the 112th Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) Annual General Meeting at Clear Lake, Man. last week. CSGA’s new executive director, Glyn Chancey set the tone early in the meeting by stating that CSGA wants to be a leader in the seed industry. He wanted to know that the membership voice is behind him, and he called on the collaboration of the branches and industry to guide our future. This new transparency encouraged members to listen, consider other perspectives, and then voice their opinions.

The three-day meeting focused on understanding the state-of-the-industry. On Wednesday Harvey Brooks and Erin Armstrong provided a framework of issues and challenges facing the seed industry to consider. Day two included three panels: industry partners, CSGA staff, and seed growers. Each three-person panel presented their vision of the future. The resulting conversation was enlightening and it covered views from across the country. We were off to a great start; sparking several resolutions the following morning. Alberta motioned and Saskatchewan seconded a resolution that Circular 6 be updated to recognize new technologies in a clear and concise language for application to the 2017 crop production year. The discussion noted a desire to create some urgency to the current CSGA committee work on Circular 6, and the members approved.