Hello again everyone, my name is Sarah Foster and I am the president and senior seed analyst with 20/20 Seed Labs Inc.
My responsibilities as a seed analyst include routine seed testing and monitoring seed quality. I am also very fortunate to have traveled this year going into Chile, Turkey and Kuwait. We certainly work in a global seed business as Canada is widely respected for technology and very high quality seed and this was apparent in these countries that I visited on business. Canada has done an excellent job of promoting its grain, oil seeds and legumes around the world and we have only just started to chip the tip of the iceberg as breeding programs and genetics will get stronger. We have many opportunities ahead of us if we continue to support intellectual property rights, breeding programs and with our young industry people of today we will build the pillars for the future generations. These statements seem to have been echoed several times in 2013 by people like Peter Entz, President of the CSTA, Donald Sendziak President of the Alberta Seed Growers Association, and more recently our Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz.
What does this mean to us at 20/20 Seed Labs Inc?
We heavily promote the use of pedigreed seed, whether we test it at the bench level with accredited tests that are used to apply a Canadian grade or through private crop inspection. We see the need for seed to be tested at a higher level and governance to protect our clients livelihood and encourage the use of genetically pure, clean and disease free seed, with a high germination. Recently we invested in a purpose built 10,000 sq. ft. seed testing laboratory taking possession and moving in January 2013.
In addition to our routine or core analytical business we have incorporated two large molecular labs. One of those labs predominately tests all of our commercial service offerings such as Canola for clubroot, flax for the presence of the Triffid variety, and Fusarium graminearum.
The other laboratory is dedicated to research and development of new tests, and is known as our molecular expansion laboratory managed by Dr. Kim Kenward Ph.D. We are currently focusing on building our repertoire by becoming authorized to test for specific traits, varieties and assisting plant breeders with their breeding programs. We understand the importance of protecting our seed and grain varieties in Canada and we all as an industry have several factors to consider as we go forward:
1. To remain a viable seed and grain industry we need to acknowledge that breeders do have rights and their efforts must be acknowledged through royalties.
2. Varieties must be enhanced to withstand our changing environment by being insect, drought and disease tolerant.
3. Continue to feed a rapidly growing population, I am troubled to know that we only have a 40 day reserve of grain.
4. Canada has a strong reputation for developing crops such as canola and soybeans with unique traits and in the near future wheat will enjoy the same limelight.
5. We need to recognize that we should be able to bring new varieties in from other countries, some of which offer improved characteristics and genetic traits already.
So in brief 20/20 Seed labs Inc is positioned to enter into a new phase of testing to meet the demands of the domestic and global marketplace.
Highlights of 2013.
20/20 Seed labs Inc Lethbridge became accredited, and was the first to announce that we had a fully accredited seed analyst Eunjoo Oh, and later Aimee Stamp becoming accredited for germination. 20/20 Seed labs Inc. Nisku announced its grand opening in April with a ribbon cutting by Councillor Clay Stumph of Leduc County. We are also pleased to announce Tanya Smith also became accredited in germination, successfully passing the CFIA exam with Aimee Stamp.
Kevin Zaychuk, Jill Himschoot and myself were in Chile for total period of three months, where we have a laboratory specializing in Canola contra-season seed production. Our responsibility is to test the seed before it leaves the country destined for Canada. Our involvement ensures that the seed is expedited and positioned for sale at retail outlets throughout Canada.
Lori Wallace and Shari Lafreniere both had new additions to their families as we welcomed two new babies.
Kevin and I traveled to Kuwait and had the opportunity to become a part the Public Authority of Agriculture and Fish Resources revegetation project focusing on the desert area affected by overgrazing and the Gulf war.
We are currently contracting Canadian agriculture experts to work with us to build a laboratory and seed testing program.
In June Kevin and I attended the ISTA conference in Antalya, Turkey where we presented a poster on vigour testing for canola, and met up with many old friends and seed scientists.
In July I was awarded the CSTA seed achievement award, this being truly the most memorable moment of my career and one I will always cherish. Thank you again to those of you who let my name stand and voted for me. We also attended the Farming Smarter field day and featured seed samples with various degrees of vigour and germination. We were pleased to see a strong correlation between the laboratory and field results.