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Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD)

The SOD, formed in 1998, exists primarily to represent certified organic producers in Saskatchewan; however, organic processors and traders are also eligible for membership. The main purposes of SOD are to assist in the development of the organic industry and initiate activities that provide professional development and technical assistance to producers, processors, and consumers. In addition, SOD attempts to form strategic alliances with government agencies and organizations, with the goal of furthering organic agriculture and promoting the expansion of markets. An example of this is the creation of the Organic Agriculture Protection Fund (OAPF), a subsidiary of SOD, which seeks to protect organic markets that may be eliminated as a result of the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops.

Membership in SOD is often achieved through association with organic certification bodies in Saskatchewan. The main certifiers in Saskatchewan are: Pro-cert Organic Systems (Pro-cert); the Saskatchewan Organic Certification Association (SOCA); the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA); and the Canadian Organic Certification Co-operative (COCC). However, at present not all of these bodies are strongly associated with SOD, and this is reflected in low producer membership numbers for these certifiers. In addition to producer memberships, SOD attempts to obtain representation from other industry stakeholders; typically, these include corporate groups, consumers, and membership-at-large.

As with many agricultural organizations, funding for SOD is obtained through membership fees. Although many organic producers currently pay a check-off on their production, none of this money goes to SOD because it do not have a development commission (or board) legislated under the Saskatchewan Agri-Food Act to support development programs such as research, the provision of information to producers, policy development, and promotion.

Gary Storey

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