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Flax industry to discuss options for planting seed this week

March 15, 2010 (SASKATOON) Ever since September 2009, when genetically modified materials were confirmed in Canadian flax shipments to Europe, the market for flax has faced several challenges. Saskatchewan producers, who grow almost 40% of the world’s flax, are concerned about the future of the industry and how Canada will clear the system of CDC Triffid, a genetically-modified flax variety that was deregistered in 2001.

The Flax Council of Canada recently released new information indicating that there have been trace amounts of CDC Triffid detected in flax breeder seed at the University of Saskatchewan. This calls into question the supply of non-GMO certified seed that will be available for planting this spring. The Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission (SaskFlax), Flax Council and members of the flax trade have worked together to develop a domestic flax grower stewardship program that will allow producers to use farm-saved seed that is sampled and tested to the same standards as certified seed.

SaskFlax is leading two initiatives this week to help inform growers of their options for planting seed as we head into spring. The first is an open conference call on Thursday, March 18, and the second is a discussion of the flax market situation on CTV's Farmgate program on Saturday, March 20.

The conference call, similar to two others which drew more than 300 participants in February, will allow growers to ask questions and share views on the situation with other stakeholders in the flax industry. While the call will include a few minutes presenting the new seed stewardship program, it will mainly consist of an open question-and-answer forum.

On Saturday, March 20, Dave Sefton, SaskFlax's representative to the Flax Council of Canada will talk about the new seed stewardship guidelines as part of CTV Saskatchewan's "Market Prospects" segment on Farmgate. Also featured will be market analyst Larry Weber on the flax price outlook.

Details are as follows:

Flax Seed Conference Call
Thursday, March 18, 2010
1:00 PM CST
Call 1- 877-723-9523
Please call 5 to 10 minutes in advance

Flax Situation/Outlook on Farmgate
Saturday, March 20, 2010
12:30 PM and 6:30PM CST
all Saskatchewan CTV stations
Bell ExpressVu (ch. 235)
Star Choice (ch. 315)

Read our Questions and Answers on the EU market.

For more information, contact:

Linda Braun, Executive Director
Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission
Saskatoon, SK
Tel. 306-664-1901