----Phillips Seeds
FTLComm - Tisdale - July 20, 2000
Tisdale is the heart of Saskatchewan's specialty agricultural area with farmers deeply involved in developing better crops and working on diversification of the whole agricultural industry. The independent farm based seed companies play a remarkably important role in the process by providing the grower with alternatives to the large grain companies and providing services that in many cases can not be obtained any other way.

Phillips Seeds is located immediately West of Tisdale on highway #3 and has moved steadily from marketing farmer's specialty crops to providing them with new varieties. This year Phillips have displayed in neighbouring fields a huge variety of Canola, field peas and other specialty crops. The grower can look over the growing crop first hand and see the sort of product that he might like to plant in the coming year.
This crop of Bianca Canola caught my eye because of the creamy coloured flower that distinguishes it from other brilliant yellow varieties. In other fields at least five other varieties of Canola are in production. Long gone are the days when a farmer planted a specific crop, now it involved selectively finding the seed variety that suits his land and growing conditions but also keeping in mind the demands of the market. Canola seed tends to be expensive and with prices lower then usual this year farmers must weigh a number of factors in order to pick a crop that will produce a high yeild and keep the input costs down.

The issue of genetically modified crops is on everyone's mind with growing concerns from foreign markets that refuse to purchase these crops and even in North America where 60% of all foods on story shelves contains GMO material there is a strong lobby developing that is demanding labelling and restrictions. This clearly makes things difficult for the farmer who is just trying to get a good crop and keep up his loan payments.