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Quotes from Transcripts of CSTA Coexistence Workshop

A Sample of Quotes from Transcripts of CSTA Coexistence Workshop

“Developing a Coexistence Plan for Alfalfa Hay in Eastern Canada”, October 24, 2012, Kitchener-Waterloo

Click here to view the full proceedings.

The meeting minutes also note: “Some participants in all three breakout sessions wanted it made clear that they do not support the commercialization of Roundup Ready alfalfa in any region of Canada.”

Kelvin Einarson, Forage Seeds Canada:

“Coexistence between genetically engineered or herbicide tolerant varieties and conventional varieties will be impossible even with the most stringent and sound agronomic practices. Once our seed stocks are contaminated with GE traits, how do we ensure that our hay fields are not contaminated?”

“As mentioned early in respect to genetically modified seed, many of Canada’s export markets have a zero tolerance policy and zero tolerance means zero tolerance. It does not mean that there is tolerance for low level contamination.”

“Perhaps instead of a workshop on coexistence, the Canadian Seed Trade Association should look at a workshop on how we keep forages GM free in Canada until such time as these traits are accepted in our markets.”

Phil Woodhouse, Canadian Organic Growers:

“Another thing that I see here is that this puts at risk the Western Canadian seed industry. There is no checkpoint at the Manitoba Ontario border and I know myself that I have neighbours that have gone to Agribition and on a detour through Saskatchewan have picked up a tote of alfalfa seed and brought it home. Agriculture Canada didn’t know anything about that, and I’m pretty sure that seed can flow equally as well in the other direction.”

“I also know conventional hay producers who leave their hay crop standing full season. Instead of planting green manure or a plow down they’ll just use the hay crop in the final year and they’ll turn it under in September. It looks pretty ugly, but he’s a conventional producer and it works for him. He grows some incredible crops after that and it’s really helped out in his rotation.”

Kurt Shmon, Imperial Seeds:

“A lot of the contracts that we are currently starting to sign with our European customers do have clauses that state that if any GMO species are found in the seed, the seed will be returned at the seller’s cost and our contracts cancelled.”

“The value that Roundup Ready Alfalfa brings to a select few is tremendously overshadowed by the value of exports of alfalfa to non-GMO zones, the agronomic benefit of alfalfa and to the economic benefit of the organic value chain. The vast majority of Canadian farmers and our customers do not want this product. When will Canada listen to what Canadians want?”

Les Eccles, Ontario Beekeeper’s Association:

“… at least through the PMRA if there’s a [pesticide] incident you can report to the PMRA, there’s an investigation, it’s registered and there’s a form – a process – that you go through to investigate that. In this case there’s no real route. Like once this [contamination] happens, no matter how far along down the road it is, as far as I know there’s no repercussion, there’s nothing to say OK we made a mistake. It’s just well we made a mistake and that’s it, we just go ahead.”