Workshop Proceedings


The Board of Directors of the Canadian Seed Trade Association has placed a very high priority on the development of broad coexistence plans for organic, conventional and GM production systems in Canadian crops .   The objective of the process is to ensure that Canadian farmers continue to benefit from a diversity of markets and the production systems that are required to participate in those diverse markets: whether organic, conventional or GM production systems.

It is the Board’s opinion that CSTA’s broad membership base, which includes members with interests in all three production systems, mandates that our Association play a leading role in this effort.  The first steps were taken when CSTA facilitated a working session to develop coexistence principles and plans for alfalfa hay Eastern Canada.

45 participants, representing the seed sector across Canada, farmers, academics, forage specialists, agronomists, the organic sector and technology developers and marketers spent the day in Kitchener, Ontario to gain a better understanding of each others’ concerns and objectives and to outline the necessary elements of a coexistence plan for alfalfa hay in Eastern Canada.

Following are the proceedings of the workshop.  It is a compilation of formal presentations, speaking notes, transcripts and the conclusions as captured by the meeting’s facilitators.


1. Workshop Participants

2. Workshop Presentations

Project Overview – Stephen Denys, CSTA President

Overview of the Alfalfa Industry in Canada – Jack Kyle, Canadian Forage and Grasslands Association

Status of GM Alfalfa in the United States and Canada – Mike Peterson, Forage Genetics International

Development of Coexistence Planning for Alfalfa in the United States – Beth Nelson, National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance

The Science of Coexistence in Alfalfa Hay

Perspectives on Coexistence: Organic Sector – Chris and Martin Boettcher (transcript and notes taken while they were speaking)

Perspectives on Coexistence: Producers (where all three systems exist)

Bob Haberman, Number 9 Hay,  Conventional and GM Hay Producer and Exporter, Washington State

Laura Schlenker, Organic, conventional and GM Hay Producer, Washington State (notes taken while she was speaking)

Perspectives on Coexistence: Developers and Commercializers –  Mike Peterson, WL Research

3. Transcripts of the Open Mike Session

Kurt Shmon, Imperial Seed, Manitoba

Kevin Einarson, Forage Seed Canada

Phil Woodhouse, Canadian Organic Growers

Weldon Hobbs, Alfalfa Seed Producers Commission of Alberta

Jodi Koberinski, Organic Council of Ontario

Les Eccles, Ontario Beekeepers Association

Reports from Breakout Sessions (facilitator’s notes)

Group #1Coexistence principles for alfalfa production for domestic markets

Group #2 Coexistence principles for alfalfa produced for on-farm consumption

Group#3 Coexistence principles for alfalfa hay for export

Additional Points and Next Steps (facilitator’s notes)