My Trip to the International Seed Federation (ISF) World Seed Congress in Calgary

This week I attended my first ever International Seed Federation World Seed Congress which was held in Calgary.  This was a great honor and privilege for the Canadian seed industry to host such an event.  There was just short of 1000 delegates from around the world in attendance and in Calgary for the week.  In total there was 1200 people involved in the event and it was a massive success.

The event was incredible because it is the meeting annually where many seed companies from around the world sit down and do business over a very concentrated three days. Below is  a picture of the trading room which I refer to as the speed dating room.  Companies book time with each other and essentially move from appointment to appointment throughout the day.

trading room

Much of the business that is done at the ISF meeting is in the area or forages but probably all crop types in the world are discussed at this meeting.  Plant breeders, seed brokers, genetic dealers, distribution companies, production companies all participate in this three day business session. Many you are probably thinking that this is just a meeting of the large biotech companies but it is not. The delegate list was full of people from around the world that are from small family seed business’.   It was amazing to see and participate in so many discussions regarding the seed industry and in this format.  It truly did feel like the business should be.  All size seed companies coming together and trying to negotiate partnerships and contracts and buying and selling inventory.  Many discussions were exploratory and will lead to nothing but some conversations were fruitful and have potential in the long run.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the social party on Monday night at the Stampede Corral.  This gave everyone a chance to relax and enjoy the Calgary hospitality.    All 1000 delegates received white cowboy hats and got a chance to experience a live rodeo.  Many people enjoyed the rodeo  because it was their first opportunity to see it live and in person.   By the sound of the crowd, the cowboy poker (pictured below) demonstration was the crowd favorite.

ISF white hats

cowboy poker at the Stampede corral in calgary

It was a great meeting and I greatly enjoyed the event and the ability to meet fellow seedsmen from around the world.

I had a chance to talk to Dave Sippell, President of Syngenta Seeds Canada and also President of the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) about why hosting the ISF is so important to not only the Canadian seed industry but also our whole agriculture industry.

If you cannot see the video below, Click Here

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. @shaunhaney

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One Comment

robynne

Shaun was one of 140 volunteers who helped host the international seed industry in Calgary. Thanks to him and all of them for making people from around the world feel welcome.

While the forage business is a big part of the trading at ISF, there is also a huge representation of global seed companies every year, and this was no exception. When you consider that the seed industry has grown to about US$40 billion, and about $7 billion worth of seed is traded internationally, it is likely the relationships and meetings at this congress could have meant about $2-3 billion in business. Not bad for a week!

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