Forwarded from the BC Food Systems Network
Please circulate widely!
Action Alert – Public Input on Regulations Amending the Seeds Regulations, Canada
Gazette Part 1 VOL. 147, NO. 10 — MARCH 9, 2013
Deadline for submissions — May 23, 2013
The National Farmers Union is calling upon all concerned farmers and allies to submit comments about significant regulatory changes to Seed Variety Registration.
The proposed regulatory change has been posted in the Canada Gazette Part 1 and will be passed into law as is unless large numbers of citizens make their opposition known.
The changes proposed will have two critical effects: move registration of soybeans and all forages from Part I to Part III of Schedule III under the Seeds Regulations; and permit registrants to cancel the variety’s registration. This will make seed sales of that variety illegal and require that crops grown from that variety be classified as sample or lowest price and quality.
Crop kinds under Part I will continue to be treated the way all varieties have been until now; before a new variety is registered it must meet merit criteria (i.e., it must perform as well as or better than reference varieties for one or more criteria established for that crop kind); and it must be recommended by a Recommending Committee of experts familiar with the crop. Under Part III, a variety can be registered without field-testing or proof of merit. The registering company only has to provide basic variety registration information to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
The proposed change in regulation will also allow companies that have registered a variety to de-register it without giving reasons or notice.
The implications of these regulatory changes for farmers are far-reaching. If adopted, the regulation will:
- Permit companies to take varieties off the market whenever they like, which will increasingly force farmers to use only varieties subject to royalties under the Plant Breeders Rights Act or varieties with gene patents, and thereby pay more for seed.
- Empower companies to introduce new varieties of soybeans and forage crops – including alfalfa – that have not been field-tested for merit and which therefore may not provide any benefit to farmers.
- Allow seed companies to transfer to farmers’ shoulders all risks of poor seed/crop performance when planting varieties that have not been field tested by independent third parties.
- Transfer decision-making about which new varieties are introduced, and when, from a transparent, publicly accountable process based on expert advice offered by Recommending Committees to a behind-closed-door process controlled by private seed companies.
- Letting companies de-register varieties will permit companies to unilaterally stop farmers from accessing and using perfectly good varieties developed through long-term collaboration among farmers, public plant breeders and international seed collections.
For more information about Seed Variety Registration:
- The National Farmers Union’s submission to CFIA: http://www.nfu.ca/story/nfu-comments-regulations-amending-seeds-regulations
- The National Farmers Union 2009 press release and backgrounder on the variety registration system: http://www.nfu.ca/story/government-ignores-concerns-variety-registration-change-and-plows-ahead-anyway
- The Proposed Regulations: http://canadagazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2013/2013-03-09/html/reg1-eng.html#reg
- The CFIA’s Regulatory Impact Statement: http://canadagazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2013/2013-03-09/html/reg1-eng.html#rias
Deadline for submissions is May 23, 2013
All submissions must:
- cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and
- the date of publication of the notice (March 9, 2013), and
- be addressed to:
National Manager, Seed Section,
Canadian Food Inspection Agency,
59 Camelot Drive,
By Nadine Ben-Rabha
There is a proposed clause in the draft Official Community Plan for RDCK Area B which would reduce the minimum lot sizes of agricultural land by 50%. Many local farmers and residents are concerned about the adverse affects this would have on agriculture and our community.
The new proposed lots of 4 hectares (10 acres) would be poorly suited to agriculture given Lister’s micro-climate and soil type which are better suited to more land intensive field crop and livestock operations. Smaller lots would undermine current area farmers who rely on the availability of large lots which they lease to raise their crops. It could also lead to more conflicts between agriculture and residential members of the community, as farms become surrounded by greater subdivision, pressuring farms out.
In the long term, smaller lot sizes would make farming in Lister untenable for future farmers, due to a lack of available farm land. This would be a loss for the whole community, harming its rural character, damaging the economy to which agriculture is a significant contributor, and undermining local food security and sovereignty of our food growing lands.
If you have questions or concerns about this proposed clause in the draft of the Area B OCP which “directs that subdivision of [Lister & Rykert] lands within the Agricultural Land Reserve are to be a minimum lot size of four hectares and lands outside the Agricultural Land Reserve a minimum lot size of one hectare” (Draft Bylaw No. 2316, Sec 15.15), please address in writing:
1) Attn: RDCK Chair & Board, Area B Director John Kettle, and RDCK Senior Planner Meeri Durand
The Regional District of Central Kootenay
Box 590, 202 Lakeside Drive,
Nelson, B.C. V1L 5R4
or by email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
2) You may also copy/cc Agricultural Land Reserve Regional Planner
Roger Cheetham Roger.Cheetham@gov.bc.ca
There are also two petitions available for download, one for residents of RDCK Area B, and one for non-residents. If you would like to collect signatures, that would be much appreciated, and filled petitions may be scanned and sent to ListerFarmLand@gmail.com.
Please download and circulate the appropriate petition:
Please join us for our March Public General Meeting
Monday March 4th at 7:00 PM at the COTR Greenhouse Classroom.
Each meeting will have a short business introductory agenda and then will move into a major presentation. We have a full line up of great speakers for our spring meetings helping to bring our Valley’s food producers and consumers together. We hope these entertaining and educational presentations and panels will give everyone a reason to attend and participate as much as possible. We hope to see you there!
Welcome and introductions:
Up-dates on our major projects: The latest Farmers’ Market information and Farm Fresh Guide activities
Membership Program: Join the FAC starting in May and receive local benefits package
Producer’s announcements/products for sale: What’s new!
March Featured Program:
SOIL! There is a revolution happening in how we treat our soil!
Frank Orosz is a neighbor of Percy Schmeiser in Bruno Saskatchewan and will share his experience as a farmer transitioning from traditional agricultural practices to a more organic focus and Erin or Wayne Harris will share their knowledge and concerns for the future of our soil. Bring your ears and ideas!
Upcoming Program Topics: (all meetings held in COTR Greenhouse Classroom)
April Meeting: Monday April 1st, at 4:00 PM
Program Topic: “Consumer/Producer relations” – What consumers can do to support producers and how our involvement needs to be cooperative for everyone’s ultimate benefit.
May Meeting: Monday May 6th, at 7:00 PM
Program Topic: “You get what you pay for!” A look at why small farm products cost more but are worth every penny you pay.
Contact Len Parkin for further details at 250-866-5405 or CrestonFoodAction@gmail.com
This years Seedy Saturday will be March 16th, 1-4pm, at the New Life Christian Church Basement on 1281 Elm Street, Creston.
For more information about the event or to book a table, please check out the attached poster in the link below:
Volunteers would appreciated
Coined Food Freedom Day by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), February 14, 2013, is the calendar date when the average Canadian will have earned enough income to pay his or her grocery bill for the entire year.
“Food Freedom Day is a chance to acknowledge the abundant, safe and secure food supply we enjoy in Canada. It can also serve as a time to consider our individual role and impact we have in the food system, whether that be as a consumer, farmer, processor or retailer,” said CFA President Ron Bonnett.
“While Canadian farmers are making continuous efforts to improve productivity, there are several angles to sustainability to consider. The sustainability of our food supply and making our dollar go as far as possible is a concern we all share and a solution we can all be a part of. One way we can have significant impact is in reducing food loss at the production and consumption level,” Bonnett added.
In 2009, total Canadian food waste amounted to $27 billion; this equates to $774.07 in food dollars wasted per person, according to a study done by the George Morris Centre. The proportion of food loss along the Canadian Food Value Chain breaks down as follows (see chart below).
Without any food waste along the food value chain, the date for Food Freedom Day would have been February 5 this year.
“From the farm to the dinner table, far too much food is being wasted and the consequences are serious. With an ever increasing global population and depleting natural resources, wasting food makes no sense – ethically, economically or environmentally,” Bonnett added. “The good news is that we can do something about it. We can take responsibility as individuals and follow basic tips to save food. To improve industry efficiency along the food chain, government and industry must work together to develop a food strategy for Canada. The industry-driven National Food Stategy® can be a starting point for discussion and includes several key objectives addressing efficiencies in the food system.
“Together we can minimize wasteful practices and make sure our strong agriculture and food heritage is maintained for this generation and generations to come,” Bonnett concluded.
For the website and information source:
SNEAK PEAK: Get a sneak peak of Michael Ableman in this video recorded at the Future of Food Conference
On April 1, 2013, B.C. will be returning to a provincial sales tax (PST) system. The PST transitional rules describe how and when PST applies to transactions that straddle April 1, 2013, when B.C. returns to the PST. The ministry of Finance is conducting seminars across the province to assist businesses in transitioning to the PST. Seminars are presented through local Chambers of Commerce.
The Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce is hosting a FREE workshop on Tuesday, February 19, 4 – 6 pm at the Ramada Inn. This will be the only such workshop in Creston. Space is limited. Register by calling 250 – 428 – 4342 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.