by SUSAN MANN
Ontario’s certified seed business continues to have a big financial impact of close to $1 billion in the provincial economy, concludes a study by the George Morris Centre.
Funded by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, the study also found that the industry employs almost 15,000 people. Their wages and salaries are estimated at slightly more than $430 million, and that generates taxes of about $21 million.
The report, called Ontario Pedigreed Seed Industry Economic Impact Study: An Update, is a followup to a 2002 analysis of the industry.
Dale Connell, president of the Ontario Seed Growers’ Association, says he wasn’t surprised by the dollar value of the industry’s economic impact but was amazed at the number of jobs the industry generates.
The study is important so the industry understands its impact on the provincial economy, he says.
About 195,000 acres of Ontario farmland was used for inspected seed production in 2012, and that generated certified seed revenues of more than $462 million and contributed an estimated $648 million to Ontario’s GDP.
“The 2013 study estimates economic values of the seed industry on a basis that extends beyond the farm gate to reflect its fundamental role as a support industry for crop production,” the Soil and Crop Association’s press release says. The 2002 study, by way of contrast, used a survey of farm gate sales to estimate the economic value of the seed industry.
Connell says it’s important for farmers to use certified seeds because when they do they are putting money back into research and development for new crop varieties and “you’re updating genetics so crops are resistant to diseases.”
The study was done by Al Mussell, senior research associate with the George Morris Centre and Irena Rajcan, research analyst. BF