Seed E-News 
May 18, 2017
Watch our New Video from Planter Demo Day!     

ASTA recently joined with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and National Corn Growers Association to host representatives from US EPA and USDA for a demonstration of planter technology and precision agriculture. Check out our video to learn more about the successful event, and the modern agriculture practices that are making farming more efficient and sustainable than ever before.  Just goes show - It all starts with the SEED! 
In This Issue
Seed Bills Stall in Texas Legislature 

On Monday, May 8, the Texas Legislature reached a critical point in its session: as of that date, bills filed but not passed out of a committee will not have enough time to be heard by the House. A number of bills of interest-both good and bad-were left pending: 
  • HB 4222 would have placed the seed authority, currently with the state department of agriculture, to a certification agency within the purview of the Vice Chancellor of the College of Agriculture at Texas A&M University. The goal would be to create a seed certification agency (crop improvement association) for the purpose of performing those services more cost-efficiently.  The Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee indicated he will request an interim study.
  • HB 4118 would have limited the Agriculture Department to fee increases not-to-exceed 10-percent of the amount of the fee at the end of the preceding state fiscal year. 
  • HB 1535 would have directed the Agriculture Department to prohibit the application of a neonicotinoid pesticide to the right-of-way of a public road or highway.
  • HB 2023 would have required GMO labeling of all food products.
All in all, it's been a busier year than usual for the Texas seed industry.

ASTA Hosts Meeting to Discuss Palmer Amaranth, other Weed Issues

On May 9, ASTA hosted a meeting of grower groups, seed companies, and Iowa state government officials to discuss a collaborative approach to addressing Palmer amaranth and other weed seed issues. The meeting, which took place in Des Moines, Iowa, served as a productive information-exchange and strategic dialog about potential short- and long-term solutions. 
The meeting raised awareness about the importance of state seed regulatory systems. When it comes to purchasing seed, meeting participants underscored the need to communicate with growers the importance of buying professionally produced seed from a company licensed to do business in the state, and specifically checking if the seed was tested both for performance and for presence of Palmer amaranth and other weeds.
Read more here.
USDA Announces Reorganization, Elevated Focus on Trade, Rural Development

On May 11, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), citing the department's "recognition of the ever-increasing importance of international trade to American agriculture."

As part of the reorganization, Perdue also announced the standing up of a newly-named Farm Production and Conservation mission area to have a customer focus and meet USDA constituents in the field.  Finally, Perdue announced that the department's Rural Development agencies would be elevated to report directly to the secretary of agriculture in recognition of the need to help promote rural prosperity.
Learn more

ASTA Debuts Pest Risk Database 

ASTA's new Pest Risk Database has been populated with data for more than 60 key pests of concern, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and parasites. The database is available to all ASTA members. To access the database, or provide feedback on additional pests to be included, contact Kelly Crist.    
Meetings & Education

ASTA's Annual Convention Offers In-Person Visits to Member Companies

Capitalizing on the strategic Minneapolis location for ASTA's upcoming 134th Annual Convention , special tours are being offered to three local ASTA member companies during the convention. Two packaging companies, El Dorado Packaging  and  Hamer-Fischbein , will host tours on Tuesday, June 20, demonstrating how packaging can impact strategic management objectives for seed companies. On Wednesday, June 21, Syngenta will provide a tour of their Seedcare Institute  in Stanton. All tours are complimentary and are scheduled to allow participants to attend all other convention programming.
Registration for ASTA's 134th Annual Convention, "Voyage of Better Seed," features a variety of exhibitors  and a full schedule  of important industry policy sessions. Register by May 26  before early registration prices expire!

What are Students Saying about ASTA? 

We love having students participate in ASTA conferences! At the 2017 Vegetable & Flower Conference, we had the unique opportunity of hosting Challenge 2050 Project students from the University of Florida, thanks to the generous support of HM.Clause.
Find out what they had to say about the experience in our conference testimonials


ASRF Operation Students Announced  

The American Seed Research Foundation (ASRF) is pleased to announce the group of graduate students selected to participate in the 2017 ASTA Annual Convention as part of the ASRF Operation Student program. The ASTA Annual Convention offers the students--majoring in seed biology or seed science and technology-the opportunity to gain valuable insight into the seed industry, while establishing valuable personal connections.
Congratulations to this year's ASRF students: 

Narinder Singh, Kansas State University

Degree Sought: Ph.D., graduating Fall 2017

Title of Study:  Mining Novel Genetic Variation in Wheat wild and relative, Aegilops Tauschii

Vivian Bernau, The Ohio State University

Degree Sought: Ph.D., graduating December 2018

Title of Study: Exploring Drought Tolerance in Diverse Chile Peppers of Southern Mexico

Jorge Venegas, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Degree Sought: Ph.D. plant breeding and genetics, graduating December 2017

Title of Study:  Biofortification of hard red winter wheat for protein, iron and zinc by incorporating low phylate and Gpc-B1 traits.

Brian Pfeiffer, Texas A&M University

Degree Sought: Ph.D. Plant Breeding, graduating December 2017

Title of Study: Long-term selection in hybrid sorghum breeding programs.

Mei Zhao, University of Georgia

Degree Sought: Ph.D., graduating May 2019

Title of Study:  Factors that Affect Host Preference and Virulence of Acidovorax citrulli, the Causal Agent of Bacterial Fruit Blotch of Cucurbits.
Qiang (Richard) Chen, Rutgers

Degree Sought: Ph.D., graduating May 2018

Title of Study:  Seed Transmitted Bacterial Endophytes from Cool Season Turfgrass Benefit Hosts by Providing Nutrients and Producing Antagonistic Compounds

If you are interested in sponsoring a student this year, please reach out to Ann Jorss

Registration Now Open for the International Society for Seed Science Conference, Sept. 10-14 in Monterey 

The 12th Triennial Conference of the International Society for Seed Science will take place September 10-14 in Monterey, California.  The meeting is being held in the U.S. for the first time since 1989 and will bring the top international seed scientists to interact with the U.S. and California seed industry.

Abstracts are due June 1, and early bird registration closes June 30. Don't miss out! The conference is limited to 300 attendees. 

View the preliminary conference program here. 
A MSAC Annual Convention Scheduled for Aug. 10-11 in Merida Yucatan

The Mexican Seed Trade Association's (AMSAC) annual convention will take place August 10-11in Merida Yucatan, Mexico. Key items on the agenda include: NAFTA policy reviews, phytosanitary issues, international trade and plant breeding innovation (PBI). For more information and register, visit the website For questions, contact: .
Other News
Welcome to ASTA's Newest Member!  

Mainfreight, Inc.
Portland, OR
Global supply chain business with over 240 branches around the world, offering sophisticated logistics solutions in and out of the most dynamic economies in the world.
Seed Industry Mourns Passing of Douglas Walker, Northampton County Seed Company

H. Douglas Walker, 66, of Lower Nazareth, Pennsylvania passed away unexpectedly on Monday, May 8, 2017. He was the son of the late Harry S. and Agnes (Stump) Walker, Jr. Owner and president of the Northampton County Seed Company of Lower Nazareth, Doug thought of his customers as friends and himself as anything but a salesman.
He is survived by daughters, Barbara Crase (husband Jim Crase) of Fairland, IN and Elizabeth Walker (husband Joel Zingone) of Stockertown; sister, Patricia, (husband Keith Wilson) of Tampa, FL. He was pre-deceased by a daughter, Rebecka in 1997. Read his full obituary  here .