True North Seed Potato Company

Company History

True North Seed Potato Co. Ltd. (True North) is a high generation seed potato operation formed in 1997 by a group of investors from the Outlook and Broderick districts of Saskatchewan. True North is owned by two distinct groups; HB Management Ltd. (HB) and Green Valley Farms Ltd. (Green Valley). HB is owned by Harry Meyers and Barry Akins, who are also the owners of Barrich Farms Ltd., a large commercial seed potato operation at Outlook. Green Valley is owned by six irrigation farm families in the Outlook and Broderick districts.

True North produces primarily E2 and E3 generation seed of many of the most popular varieties of potatoes grown across North America for other seed growers. These seed growers will produce seed used by commercial potato farms in Canada, the United States and Internationally.

The first phase of the business began in 1997 when 22 acres was planted with 13 different varieties of Nuclear and Pre-Elite seed. This produced the necessary seed for phase two which began in the spring of 1998. In Phase two the acreage was increased to 320 acres. Phase three, implemented in 1999, saw 400 irrigated acres under production.

Seed Potato Generations and Uses

There are over 150 different varieties of potatoes registered in Canada, each with different traits and properties to satisfy different growing and market conditions. Each variety starts from disease free mother plants maintained by a limited number of highly regulated propagations. Nuclear stock is mostly propagated in laboratory and green house conditions. This nuclear stock, often referred to as mini tubers, are grown under controlled field conditions.

In Canada the names used to differentiate the generations of potato seed, from earliest to the oldest generation are: nuclear, Pre-Elite (PE), Elite 1 (E1), Elite 2 (E2), Elite 3 (E3), Elite 4 (E4), Foundation and Certified. The harvest from one generation is one level older than the parent seed. See the Field Planting Equivalency Table.

True North, operating as a high generation seed producer, multiplies varieties from nuclear, PE, E1, E2 and E3 generations each year. From these plantings, all PE and some of the E1 are retained for the next year's planting requirement. The remaining E1 and all of the E2 and E3 are sold to other seed producers.

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