Canaryseed growers focus funds on food

Saskatchewan’s canaryseed growers say they’ll be able to focus some research on feeding not just canaries, but people, by using their checkoff funds to raise additional federal cash.

Following its meeting last week during Crop Production Week in Saskatoon, the Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan announced plans for “major investments” over the next two years in a bid to secure “novel food” status for their crop.

“Canada dominates the world market for canaryseed, but the crop is used solely as a bird feed” so far, the CDCS said in a release Monday. “Gaining approval for human food use and developing that market is the main activity of the CDCS.”

To that end, the commission said, checkoff funds have been used to lever a $747,000 pledge from Ottawa’s Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Saskatchewan (ACAAFS) program to “pursue new uses.”

Canada exported 185,100 tonnes of canaryseed in 2007, worth over $94 million, according to Statistics Canada. Almost 430,000 acres of Canadian farmland were seeded to canaryseed that year.

The CDCS re-elected Andrew Schaefer of Riceton, southeast of Regina, as its chair and Glenn Byrnes of Eston as vice-chair. Joining the commission board for the first time is Larry Frisky of Arborfield.

Among other Saskatchewan commodity groups meeting last week, the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission also named new executives. Baine Fritzler of Govan, about 100 km north of Regina, was re-elected as SMDC chair, Patrick Ackerman of Chamberlain was elected vice-chair and David Pederson of Hawarden was named treasurer.

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