Southern Oregon Seed Growers Association (SOSGA) Form Association
Seed growers of Jackson and Josephine Counties have formed the Southern Oregon Seed Growers Association (SOSGA). Founded by practical farmers, the new organization will support those production and improvement of quality agricultural seed in Jackson and Josephine counties of southwestern Oregon.
ROGUE RIVER, Oregon ( July 11, 2013) - Seed growers of Jackson and Josephine Counties have formed the Southern Oregon Seed Growers Association (SOSGA). Founded by practical farmers, the new organization will support those production and improvement of quality agricultural seed in Jackson and Josephine counties of southwestern Oregon.
SOSGA is a non-profit association of pragmatic, professional seed growers that provides a forum for seed growers and contractors to share and coordinate seed plot locations on a cropby- crop basis. Timely, transparent communication between growers promotes high genetic purity in the region’s burgeoning commercial seed sector, and the information gathered will factor directly into individual members’ decision making and business planning processes.
SOSGA supports local, high-integrity seed production. Seed growers in any region share a common need: timely access to reliable information on the whereabouts of crop pollen, whether insect-borne or carried on the wind. Biologically speaking, crops of the same species can cross-pollinate; the offspring thus in some way come to reflect their parentage, that is, both the pollen parent and the receiving plant on which the seed fills. Of concern to seed growers, pollen from one location on the landscape may travel beyond that site and affect, usually detrimentally, the genetic purity of other nearby seed fields of the crop. The result of opaque, or non-existent, communication between a region’s growers? Lower quality seed and potentially misleading information for distributors and farmers downstream, and loss of the value of the seed grower’s crop.
Regional seed producer organizations in the Willamette and Skagit valleys have already begun “pinning” programs in response to this seed quality dilemma. SOSGA is modeled after these associations. We are announcing that Southern Oregon has now launched its own platform for the promotion and protection of seed quality, beginning with the growers and the spatial relations between pollen sites across our landscape.
Facilitated processes of “pinning” (i.e. placing pins in) detailed maps and GIS tools have been introduced as a means to accurately plot seasonal information, both geographic and botanical, so that local growers are equipped to make sound business decisions and investments and keep seed quality high. Cooperative regional pinning supports a goal shared by all specialty seed grocers: the spatial isolation of related seed crops at distances adequate to ensure maximal seed integrity and quality.
Growers began meeting early in spring 2013 to begin discussing isolation practices and the possibility of inaugurating a new organization. On June 26th, the prospective members ratified the association’s proposed bylaws, agreed collectively to incorporate as a 501(c)(5) under Oregon state law, and approved a Board of Directors.
Pinning maps for pollen year 2013 will be available to dues paying members this year. SOSGA will host its inaugural annual members meeting and the valley’s first full-season pinning procedure in the middle of February 2014. SOSGA is now open to member applications from Rogue seed growers at www.sosga.info and solicits the participation of all stakeholders in the local seed system at various levels of membership. The association and its members invite interested parties to contact the Board about how they can support high quality seed growing in southern Oregon.
Watch for future news about SOSGA seed growing education and outreach programs in Southern Oregon.