Growing Common Faller Wheat in Canada Comes with Significant Legal Risks


It is no secret that around 80% of farmers use common wheat seed every spring.  Farmers have the right to save seed.  They key is that this common seed be from a registered variety in Western Canada.  Enter the issue surrounding common Faller Wheat.

Someone has sold a large amount of common Faller wheat seed to Manitoban farmers with some empty promises.  As you can hear in my interview with Lorne Hadley, Executive Director of the CPTA, above or read in the press release below, Canadian farmers exporting Faller into US elevators can expect more than they bargained for.

May 10, 2013 (SASKATOON) – Those who sell ‘common’ Faller wheat seed, or those who grow wheat from ‘common’ Faller seed, be warned: it may end up costing much more than you think.

Faller is a red spring wheat variety which is well-adapted and in demand by producers in southern Manitoba. It was developed by the North Dakota State University (NDSU) and assigned to the NDSU Research Foundation (NDSURF).

In Canada, NDSURF has granted distribution rights for this seed variety to Seed Depot Corp. Although Faller is not yet registered in Canada, Seed Depot Corp. has entered it into trials and has received approval for market development in closed-loop contracts in coordination with two Canada grain companies, Richardson International Limited and Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd. All of the acreage under these contracts will be planted using pedigreed seed.

It is a violation of U.S. law for anyone to directly or indirectly export seed of Faller outside of the United States without authorization from NDSURF. NDSURF has and will continue to enforce its rights against any U.S. seller of unauthorized Faller to anyone other than Seed Depot Corp. which is planted as seed in Canada.

NDSURF has stated that it intends to enforce its rights over the harvested material of unauthorized production of Faller in Canada. For any grain that is produced from ‘common’ Faller in Canada where the producer of the grain cannot prove there has been a seed royalty paid by the grain producer (i.e. a purchase of certified seed), NDSURF may sue for damages and legal and investigative costs. Lawsuits of this nature will be filed on the person who has ownership of the grain at the point of discovery in the U.S. In recent settlements, standard damages have been three times the normal seed royalty plus legal and investigative costs. For this reason, producers planting ‘common’ Faller seed may have difficulty selling their grain, especially for shipments intended for US markets.

Seed sellers are reminded that the sale of ‘common’ wheat seed of an unregistered variety is a violation of Canada’s Seeds Act.

Seed Depot Corp. and NDSURF have already taken actions to stop sales of ‘common’ Faller in Canada. To date, a significant financial settlement has already been negotiated with one Canadian seller.

“CPTA regards this situation as very important,” said Lorne Hadley, Executive Director of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency. “Seed sellers and growers are advised to steer clear of possible legal action by avoiding the purchase of ‘common’ Faller wheat seed.”


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