– Eric Sagan, Melville, Sask.

I have just received my 2014 Saskatchewan Seed Guide. I have counted approximately 70 different wheat varieties and approximately 24 different barley varieties which are mostly Plant Breeders Rights protected which really means farmers have to pay more

There is also a so called “new” farm organization calling itself “Partners in Innovations.”  Upon closer examination this group is hardly anything new.  It is just another collection of the same old astro turf farm groups and their industry spokespeople using a new alias.  None of their front people has won an open and fair vote to claim to represent farmers.

Why in the world do producers need so many costly private varieties when we as producers only seed one or two varieties at a time? What is wrong with so called farm groups that lobby against democratic producer organizations and push insane farm policy on behalf of seed companies?  Why are groups like this out to destroy the publically owned varieties that we have now? These varieties were very common and are slowly being deregistered and replaced with PBR varieties, which farmers will have to pay royalties on.

If Ritz gets Bill C-18 passed, it will put producers under the authority of the UPOV 91 treaty.  When that happens if producers do buy their PBR seed not only will they pay a big price when they buy the seed but the seed companies are given rights to collect royalties on the crops that farmers want to sell that are grown from that seed. These “end point royalties” could amount to $1- $4/tonne for the next 20 years on the grain that is harvested! And there is no guarantee that the seed companies will spend these huge windfalls on new development or new varieties.  I will bet that most of that money will go to their shareholders. So I guess I just answered my own question about why astro-turf groups are around.

This insane Bill C-18 has to be stopped by producers. They cannot sit idly by anymore and must take action against the federal government by talking, phoning or emailing their MP’s and voicing their opposition to this Bill!  Remember your Conservative MP will retire with a fat life-time pension while we and our grandchildren will go on paying for UPOV 91 forever.

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