GFM Network News


(Jack Dykinga photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Prairie farm slapped with plant breeders’ rights infringement penalties

Farmers need to know who they are buying seed from to avoid potentially significant costs

Infringing on Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) has cost a large southern Alberta farm a record $737,597. “The settlement relates to unauthorized advertisements and sales of PBR-protected barley and wheat varieties,” Alliance Seed, SeCan and an unnamed seed company said in a news release Wednesday. The settlement “includes the royalties, plus legal fees and penalties,” Todd […] Read more

File photo of Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau speaking to media in Winnipeg in March 2019. (Dave Bedard photo)

Bibeau says government committed to federal plant breeding

Seed royalty consultations stalled

The Canadian government is committed to plant breeding, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau told members of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation on Tuesday. Some farmers and seed industry officials suspect Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) variety development work, along with many other programs, will be on the chopping block post-COVID-19 as the government tackles its […] Read more


Superstar or stinker? Merits of new seed varieties can all depend on your farm

Superstar or stinker? Merits of new seed varieties can all depend on your farm

There are lots of new varieties with ‘really, really good genetics’ but they might not be a fit for you

Reading Time: 6 minutes It’s that time of year again. With a pen in hand, you flip through the pages, circling what looks good, hoping you’ll get what you want and praying that what you get will be as good as it looks on paper. Poring over the new Alberta Seed Guide may feel a little like flipping through […] Read more

File photo of a rye field in Kazakhstan. (Stsmhn/iStock/Getty Images)

Beware of Kazakhs wanting to buy seed, agency says

Seed growers and farmers alike are being warned such sales breach breeders' rights rules

Western Canadian seed growers, seed retailers and commercial farmers are being urged not to sell seed to Kazakhs or their agents because it breaches plant breeders’ rights rules. “The basic fact is no Canadian breeder has given permission for their genetics to go to Kazakhstan,” Lorne Hadley, executive director of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency, […] Read more


There are multiple markets for soft white wheat — malting, milling, feed and as a feedstock for ethanol production, says Secan marketing rep Trent Whiting.

Malt driving demand for soft white spring wheat

Soft white spring acres in Alberta have rebounded thanks to the craft beer movement

Reading Time: 5 minutes Soft white wheat acres are starting to creep up in Alberta, thanks to the burgeoning craft beer movement. “There’s been a growing market for malting soft white wheat,” said Geoff Backman, markets manager with Alberta Wheat and Barley. “It’s been driven by demand from the craft brewing industry, and that’s a nice value-added market on […] Read more



(Dave Bedard photo)

PBR breach to cost Saskatchewan seed grower $150K

A Saskatchewan seed grower will pay $150,000 to SeCan — the largest penalty in the seed company’s history — for breaching SeCan’s plant breeders rights (PBR). Harvey Marcil of Pasqua Farms near Moose Jaw, Sask., has also agreed to stop making unauthorized seed sales and was expelled from SeCan’s membership, Todd Hyra, SeCan’s business manager […] Read more