Q&A with Curtis Boychuk, Manager of the Central Peace Seed Cleaning Association Ltd

The genesis of the Central Peace Seed Cleaning Association Ltd was not unlike that of any other business: it saw a felt need. For all the early settlers that had moved into the Central Peace area, farming was the means with which they made a living. They farmed as they cleared land. Over time, the old fanning mills used to clean the seed on farm were getting too small and too slow as the farms started to grow in size. They needed a facility to clean seed, so they formed a co-op in 1960 and built a seed plant. The old plant sat next to Highway 49 just east of Highway 2. As the old plant became too small, it was time for the association to build another one. In the late 1980’s a share drive was put forth to help raise funds to build a new seed plant. With the fund drive and money from the government as well as the municipal districts, the new plant was built.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up on the family farm, which I have now taken over. Shortly after high school I began working in the grass cleaning plant at Peace Valley Seeds (Brett Young). After a few years, the Central Peace Seed Cleaning Assocation Ltd had a position for a second man. I started as an operator in June 1996. In June 2004 the previous manager quit, and the board offered the position to me. From then on, I have been managing the plant. I’m coming up to my 15th year as manager in June 2019.

What makes Rycroft an ideal location for a seed-cleaning plant?
Rycroft is centrallly located; it is the hub of the Peace. Inland terminals are also close by.

Describe the current state of the seed-cleaning business in Central Peace and what its future looks like?
Cleaning will be down from the adverse weather we experienced in fall 2018 – poor germinations from the frost. The future looks bright, as there has been a push towards using certified seed, and with more growers in the region numbers should climb.

Describe some of the latest in farming technology that has been a great driver in your business?
The color sorter stands out to me. The color sorter is able to see and remove foreign material and seeds that a person would normally be putting back into the ground. With the equipment, there is less-clean out-of-product – 15-20% before the advent of the sorter to currently 8-13%. It is better for producers.

How much of your business is driven by farms within Central Peace?
A hundred percent of our business is driven by farms within the Central Peace. If not for the farms in our area there would be no seed plant.

How do you plan to grow the business in the next five years?
As the farms are increasing in size, storage has become an issue. We are currently looking at putting up more bins to accommodate the larger lot sizes and to help with booking logistics in the plant. As plant breeding progresses, there will be earlier maturing and better agronomically developed specialty crops like lentils, soybeans, and other challenging varieties.