The Saskatchewan Pulse Growers dealing with a hotly debated issue during their AGM yesterday.
A resolution put forward by the NFU opposing the use of Variety Use Agreements ( or farm-saved seed royalties ) on new varieties garnered a lot of discussion with producers on both sides of the issue.
Sask Pulse currently has a plant breeding partnership with Limagrain Seeds that would see the two share in future royalties from the sale of new varieties.
Chair at the time of the agreement Shaun Dyrland said there was alot of discussion around the decision, noting that when they put out the call for proposals they had no interest from breeders that didn't involve a royalty of some kind and more often a VUA.
Lyndon Stoll from Delisle introduced the NFU's resolution which read 'Be it resolved that pulse varieties funded fully or partially by levy-payers will not have Variety Use Agreements (VUAs) attached.'
"Simply put, a VUA represents a loss for growers seed control, and we know what happened with canola seed prices after technology use agreements came in and stopped farmers from using farm-saved seed. Additionally, it's concerning to have been a pulse grower that has paid levies to support the industry, and then have those historic levies used in part to create and operate a VUA system that restricts access to seed and enforces per acre fees per year."
Corey Loessin a farmer from Radisson just finished serving over ten years on the SPG board and spoke against the motion noting that while pulses are a big crop here in Saskatchewan, globally they aren't.
"There's just no big amount of money going to come in and start breeding some of these relatively small crops. So incentives like are being put in place with this agreement and others are sort of one way to continue breeding endeavors and hopefully provide some solutions to some of the really serious production problems that we're facing."
One of the key production problems facing the industry is aphanomyces, while other pathogens like fusarium are a growing concern.
The resolution was defeated with 53 per cent of producers voting against it and 47 per cent in favor.