Each June, SaskWheat holds its semi-annual meeting at Canada’s Farm Progress Show at Regina. It’s a chance for the board to meet with the farmers they represent and for all attendees to hear from interesting speakers on timely topics.
Dallas Carpenter, communications manager for SaskWheat, says they had an interesting and informative meeting planned for this week’s meeting, and then last week there was a discovery of genetically modified wheat on an access road in Alberta and everything got a lot more interesting.
In light of the unapproved genetically modified wheat discovery, there has been an addition to the agenda, Carpenter says. Mitchel Japp from Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture will give an update on the latest information available and answer any questions farmers may have.
Carpenter says that they have been in contact with other commodity groups and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and they are being kept abreast of the latest developments.
Last week, a small number of plants were discovered on the side of an access road in Alberta. Carpenter says the wheat did not get into the food system, “It was an unfortunate situation but it just shows the system works and,… that people around the world should still be very confident in using Canadian wheat.”
Japan and now Korea have suspended wheat imports in light of this discovery. Carpenter says the CFIA is providing test kits to Japan and any other export market seeking to verify that the wheat in the Canadian system meets all stringent international standards. Japan is sending representatives to Canada to follow up with Canadian officials later this week, and it’s hoped that the inquiry will be short, and the suspension temporary.
Laura Reiter, chair of SaskWheat, will also be on the agenda to give updates on communications, market development, advocacy, and research. Also on the agenda are: Barb Ziesman, provincial plant disease specialist; and, James Tansey, provincial specialist, insects/invertebrate pests.
You can catch the SaskWheat meeting Wednesday, June 20th, starting at 8:00 am. Registration is free and includes breakfast and admission to the show for the day. Click here for more details.