Shaping the Future Hallett was keen to meet people and learn more about the workings of the seed industry. As well, he saw the board as playing a key role. “Seed growers are at the leading edge of the latest varieties and technologies in crop production, and the board is a great spokesperson in representing the industry and guiding it forward.” In the process, the board must deal with issues unique to the industry. It’s a good time to have board members with different viewpoints, as “everyone’s perspective is valuable”. Rooted in Success One of those perspectives belongs to fellow new board member Tracy Niemela. Along with her parents, husband and other family members, she operates a seed farm near Sylvan Lake. Like Hallett, the business has deep roots in her family tree. “My sisters and I are the fifth generation on the farm and I am a third-generation seed grower. I guess you could say it’s in my blood. It's a lifestyle that I grew up in, fell in love with and want to raise my child in. I hope to keep the operation going for generations to come.” A University of Alberta graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree and an agronomy certificate from Olds College, Niemela worked for the health region as a systems consultant while helping on the family farm. Eventually she quit and went back to the farm full time. She finds the seed business challenging and rewarding at the same time and one that is constantly changing. That suits her just fine as it really keeps her on her toes. Also fitting well is her place on the ASG board. Although Niemela was hesitant when first asked to run, fearing she lacked the time and the knowledge of what the board did, she finally took the plunge. “All boards benefit from fresh ideas. I’m excited about being at the forefront of information, networking and helping to shape the future of seed growers in Alberta and possibly throughout Canada. It will not only benefit me and our seed farm, but others as well.” Moved to Action Part of that shaping includes addressing movements like gluten-free, organic and chemical reduction. “These aren’t necessarily bad things, but there is a lot of wrong and misleading information out there,” notes Niemela. “We need to stay ahead and promote what we do before all of this explodes and starts dictating the future for farmers and possibly seed growers.” Niemela has seen a lot of industry changes over the years, such as the increasing role of big business in taking control and ownership of varieties while “more and more seed is grown under contract. The questions going forward are critical: Where will pedigreed seed be in the future? Will the seed system still exist? Will it need to exist?” There’s a lot to tackle, but with farming in the blood and their hearts on their sleeves, Hallett and Niemela are pumped to take it on. Geoff Geddes 39 Advancing Seed in Alberta | fall.2017 Southern Alberta Seed growers growing for you! AAC Lacombe Pea Semi-leafless, high yielding yellow pea with mildew resistance AAC Chiffon Soft Wheat Outyields AC Andrew & Sadash, with a large kernal size, good straw strength & shattering resistance Guttino Hybrid Fall Rye Exceptional yields, very high falling numbers, strong straw AAC Gateway Winter Wheat High yielding with improved FHB resistance Cardale HRSW Semi-dwarf, good lodging, moderate FHB resistant with good yield Muskwa Barley 6-row, smooth awn, semi-dwarf, one of the top yielders in 2012 AB variety trials Sunray Triticale Short, strong straw, high yielding with improved Ergot resistance Our members also have CDC Precision Durum and so much more! Coming soon - new yellow flax, new yellow pea and spelt! AAC Lacombe Pea AAC Chiffon Soft Wheat Guttino Hybrid Fall Rye AAC Gateway Winter Wheat Cardale HRSW Muskwa Barley Sunray Triticale Visit us at www.seednet.ca for more information Email: info@seednet.ca Phone: 403-715-9771