Soy Canada fights to save key soybean program

Soy Canada recently faced a significant setback with the impending closure of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)’s renowned Harrow Soy Quality Program.

The program, operating for three decades, has been a cornerstone in developing Canada’s reputation for high-quality food-grade soybeans, significantly contributing to the industry’s success.

Soy Canada’s Executive Director, Brian Innes, expressed disappointment at the closure of the Harrow Research and Development Centre, a program known for its innovative food-grade soy quality measurement, which has greatly benefited soybean exporters, seed developers, and farmers and is seen as a loss to the Canadian soybean sector.

The Harrow program’s significance extends beyond research; it has been integral in introducing new food-grade varieties to farmers, aiding the sector to flourish. Over $1. 5 billion worth of food-grade soybeans are exported annually, supporting numerous Canadian seed developers and exporters.

Soy Canada emphasizes the program’s value and urges the Government of Canada to collaborate in maintaining this essential aspect of the nation’s food-grade soy sector.

The meeting at Harrow, attended by key figures like Jason McNaughton, Jeff Stonehouse, Ernie Sirski, Daryl Domitruk, Brendan Byrne, Josh Cowan, Andrew McVittie, and Brian Innes, highlighted the unified stance of the industry in preserving this invaluable resource.

Innes remarked, “The Harrow soy quality program is a gem.” This statement reflects the industry’s hope that the federal government will recognize the program’s importance and continue to support it.

Founded in 2014, Soy Canada represents a diverse group, including Canada’s 30,000 growers, seed companies, exporters, and processors. The organization is dedicated to leading market access and development efforts, advocating for the sector’s growth, and coordinating research nationwide.

The potential loss of the Harrow Soy Quality Program presents a critical challenge for Soy Canada and its stakeholders. The collective call for government partnership is not just about preserving a program; it’s about safeguarding a crucial component of Canada’s agricultural prowess and global standing in the soybean market.

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