Seeds of civilization
It’s no overstatement to say that the journey to a sustainable food future begins with the tiny, seemingly nondescript seeds that grow into every harvested crop and morsel of food. Dedicated seed breeders such as Joe Sierens spend their careers using the latest scientific advances to make seeds more nutritious and resilient to the stress of a changing climate, allowing farmers to grow the high-yielding crops we need to feed a growing world.
After graduating with a Diploma in Agriculture, Joe returned to help on the family farm in Somerset, Canada. A few years later, he and his brother Chris took over its operations from their grandparents and began growing seeds in 1982. Today, they farm 900ha and breed wheat, oats, flax, canola and yellow pea seeds as well as provide agronomy and crop protection products to local farmers.
“What makes us unique is the fact that our farming challenges are no different from the growers we serve,” says Joe. “This gives us a real advantage as we continue to learn and find solutions each year and our small farm allows us to do a lot of trials.”
Sustainability at the source
Joe’s connection to seeds runs deeper than the practicalities of food production – it represents a belief that we can grow a better future. “Sustainability is everything when you’re producing food for the world,” says Joe. “It’s really hard to be successful in farming and not look ahead to be sure what you’re doing today is right for the future. We have everything to lose if sustainability is not our focus.”
And a sustainable future is grounded in sustainable inputs. For years, Sierens Seed Service has used UPL’s products such as Everest, Interline and Roxar to improve the productivity of its operations. With these tools in hand, Joe says his partnership with UPL has supported his business and the growers he works with, adding: “A lot of that support comes down to our UPL representative Kern Clayton, which has been appreciated.”
Community at heart
Community and sustainability are united at the heart of Sierens Seed Service. “We raised our children in the community and the people in our area are considered friends. Our goal is to have integrity in our business and to always put our customers first. We hope that the next generation can continue for years to come,” says Joe.