December 15, 2014

After Sunday Mass we were reminded to sign the petition at the back of the church concerning farmers saving seed. As a farmer, this caught my interest, and I went looking for more information.

The petition stems from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. The information on the website to support its position is misleading and contains incorrect statements, I suspect for the purpose of furthering an agenda which opposes modern agriculture.

Parliament is debating Bill C-18 which is amending the current plant breeders' rights legislation. Bill C-18 will bring our legislation in line with our trading partners.

With the proposed changes, farmers' right to save seed for planting on their own farm is enshrined, not put at risk as Development and Peace maintains.

With Canada conforming to international rules standardizing plant breeders' rights, we will have greater access to genetics to develop new varieties that are a better fit to our growing conditions.

A number of interested companies wish to enter the Canadian market, many of whom look to partner with farmer funding organizations.

Breeders of new varieties will

have greater protection and benefits from their work enhancing crops. Farmers will benefit, as will consumers who will continue to have access to an abundance of safe healthy food.

I have been a director and president of farm organizations which actively promoted the changes now before Parliament. Twenty farmer organizations formed a coalition, Partners for Innovation, and are working with the government to bring about these changes.

Farmers would not support these changes if their rights to save seed were at risk.

The petition is an attack on those of us working to prevent famine. As well, I am troubled by the Catholic Church promoting opposition to something which has the potential to deliver great humanitarian benefits.

Albert J. Wagner
Stony Plain

Letter to the Editor – 12/29/14

Letter to the Editor – 01/12/15