February 23, 2017 Seed E-News
In This Issue
At A Glance
A grant from the American Seed Research Foundation (ASRF) was recently used to conduct cutting-edge research on germination processes and delay (dormancy). The study took place at the University of California, where researchers tracked over time the depletion and conversion of sugars, fats and oils to other forms that provide the energy to drive the germination process.
 
The research focused on a wide range of metabolites, and shed light on processes that can be useful to the seed industry in understanding seed quality and dormancy. More information is available to ASRF members. 
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit organization addressing food and agriculture challenges through innovative science, has launched the Pollinator Health Fund with a $10 million commitment toward reversing the pollinator population decline in the United States. 

The first grant opportunity available through the Fund invites i nstitutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations and businesses to submit research pre-proposals addressing the following issues:
  • Understanding Multiple Interacting Stressors
  • Developing Best Management Practices and their Increasing Application
  • Accelerating Technology Transfer
  • Enhancing Outreach and Education
 
Pre-proposals will be accepted through April 17. More information is available here
Colorado State University's (CSU) Seed Technology Educational Program (STEP) is offering eight courses  in seed technology to train seed analysts to work in State or Commercial Seed Laboratories.

Offered online through the Continuing Education Department at CSU, the program is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants a career in seed technology, or for current analysts working to become a Registered Seed Technologist (RST) or a Certified Seed Analyst (CSA). 

For more information, contact 
Karen Allison or (970) 491-6905.
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Looking for communications resources on plant breeding innovation? Check out seedinginnovation.org - a new public-facing educational resource developed by ASTA. The plant breeding innovation micro-site is a multimedia platform that houses FAQs, a blog, plant breeder profiles, videos, one-pagers and other resources about the evolution--and future--of plant breeding. Please help us spread the word by sharing the link with your friends and colleagues and linking to the site from your own channels!
 
Also, if you're an ASTA member, you can access our PBI Communications Toolkit available on the members-only site (under issue areas - communications), where you'll find a template industry presentation, discussion guide, and message map. 


PS -- Do you know someone who would benefit from receiving Seed E-News? Have them Sign Up!
State
State Legislatures Introduce Bills on Pre-emption, Seed Treatments, Arbitration and More 

The state legislatures have settled into business. Bills have been filed, committees have been appointed, staffs are beginning to work long hours, and issues are starting to surface. ASTA is supporting legislation on arbitration and testing in Washington; legislation on pre-emption in Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, Montana and Utah; and several state bills to re-align or clean-up  state seed laws. We'll also be keeping an eye on quite a few bills dealing with the regulation of neonics and seed treatments.

A number of bills have also been introduced to add regulations to genetically engineered foods and crops. It's interesting in light of the law passed by Congress last year that will establish labeling rules and pre-empt states from passing similar laws. ASTA's policy supports all types of seed production technologies. All in all, it's shaping up to be a very busy few months in the state legislatures! We'll keep you posted as things progress.
 
 
ICYMI: New DNA Test Now Available for Palmer Amaranth

 
As a follow up to the 2017 National Native Seed Conference last week in Washington, D.C., ASTA is continuing to communicate with industry and government stakeholders about a new DNA test now available to detect palmer amaranth in seed.

Developed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and Eurofins BioDiagnostics, with support from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Plant Protection Division Seed Program, the independently validated DNA sequencing method differentiates palmer amaranth from other amaranth and weed species. While still available on a limited basis, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Seed Unit recently announced it will accept the test for labeling purposes, as palmer amaranth has been declared a prohibited noxious weed in the state. Palmer amaranth is also designated a noxious weed in Ohio. In addition to the DNA test, seed producers may also use a growout method from Illinois Crop Improvement Association to evaluate whether weed seeds are palmer amaranth.

Testing seed for weeds and providing those results to customers are one of many steps taken by seed producers to ensure quality of their products. Click here  for best management practices for native seed production. For more information, including a list of members supplying native seed, visit our website .

Federal

Register Now for ASTA's 2017 Storm the Hill
  
Time is running out to register for ASTA's annual Storm the Hill legislative conference in Washington, D.C.! Join fellow industry leaders from across the country as we advocate on behalf of the seed industry with Members of Congress and their staff on issues that affect your business. Storm the Hill will take place on the evening of Tuesday, April 4, and all day Wednesday, April 5. There will be an informal get-together on Tuesday evening at the conference hotel. Wednesday morning, we will hold an issues briefing and breakfast in the morning before heading to Capitol Hill for lobbying visits. Participants will be free to return home after 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.

In order to secure a room in the ASTA hotel block, you must register via the ASTA members-only website by March 7. If you are interested in participating or have any additional questions, please contact Virginia Houston.


USDA Extends Comment Period for Part 340 Rulemaking Proposal 


On February 10, USDA announced  it would extend through June 19 the comment period for proposed revisions to Part 340. ASTA has been actively engaged in discussions with the agency throughout the rule-making process, and is in the process of preparing comments for submission by the deadline.
In general, ASTA is pleased that the proposal recognizes that some applications of gene editing result in plant varieties that are essentially equivalent to varieties developed through more traditional breeding methods, and treats these varieties accordingly.

To ensure continued innovation and the movement of seed around the globe, it's critical that U.S. federal policy is clear and science-based, and that U.S. government officials actively engage with international trading partners throughout the rulemaking process.  

Read ASTA's January 18 press statement
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Trump Reiterates Support for Renewable Fuel Standard

President Trump reiterated his support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in a recent letter  to the National Ethanol Conference hosted by the Renewables Fuels Association in San Diego.
 
"Rest assured that your president and this administration values the importance of renewable fuels to America's economy and to our energy independence," stated Trump. "As I emphasized throughout my campaign, renewable fuels are essential to America's energy strategy."
 
The RFS provides a stable environment for investment in innovation. The seed industry is developing new varieties and feedstocks which will benefit a range of fuels from conventional ethanol to advanced biofuels. This technology, in part, is being developed due to the certainty provided by the RFS. Reducing the RFS would send the wrong signal to companies and communities that are working towards a future with a robust America-produced fuel supply.
International 
ASTA Closely Engaged in Trade Discussions 

The movement of seed around the globe is a critical piece of a successful domestic seed industry. In 2016, the U.S. exported $1.67 billion in seed exports. Our largest markets were Canada and Mexico which accounted for roughly $300 million each.

Since the new administration came into office, many questions surround the future of current and potential U.S. trade relationships. ASTA is staying closely engaged with the U.S. government and international trading partners to ensure policy that doesn't impede the seed industry's ability to do business around the world.

ASTA is actively participating in trade-focused food and agriculture coalitions, including the North America Food & Ag Trade Group which is closely following NAFTA developments. Several letters from a broad range of organizations, including ASTA, have been sent to the Trump administration regarding the importance of trade to agriculture. View the NAFTA letter here , a CEO Council letter here , and an Asia-Pacific letter here .

We will continue to provide more information as things develop.
Save the Date for Joint U.S./Mexico Phytosanitary Workshop-June 6 & 7

ASTA and the Mexican Seed Trade Association (AMSAC) are planning a joint workshop to address phytosanitary impediments to seed movement between the U.S. and Mexico. The workshop will be held June 6-7 in Mexico. The exact location is yet to be determined.

Seed testing and pest-risk assessments will be key issues of discussion. If you have an interest in a specific border crossing, please contact Kelly Crist as soon as possible.

The workshop is free of charge and is open to ASTA members only. To reserve your spot, please RSVP to Kelly by May 5

Meetings & Education

Join FuSE February 28 for Office Hours with Wayne Gale, Stokes Seeds
  
 
ASTA's Future Seed Executives (FuSE) is hosting an interactive "Office Hours" webinar on February 28 at 2:00 p.m. CT. The session will feature Wayne Gale, President & CEO of Stokes Seeds - the largest international distributor in Canada, and tenth largest in North America, of high quality vegetable, flower and herb seed. Wayne is a leader in the seed industry, having served in a number of high profile positions, including: President of the Canadian Seed Trade Association, Regional VP of ASTA, President of the All American Selection Garden Trade Association, and as a board member of the Canadian Seed Institute.
Web & Conference Call information:
800-250-2600
PIN: 54400568#
Login: 122467215
SIPA Technical Education Unit Scheduled for March 7

The Seed Innovation & Protection Alliance (SIPA) is hosting a members-only Technical Education Unit on March 7 at the California Seed Association Annual Meeting in San Diego. The session will be provided live and by webinar from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. PST.
 
The program will feature a 90-minute discussion and Q&A with Dennis Birtles of Agro Protection International on the topic of investigations and audits around seed intellectual property. To reserve your spot, RSVP to James Weatherly by February 28. Click here for hotel information.
Members News
Welcome to ASTA's newest member!

KOPESS AgTech, LLC
Okemos, MI
Biological Research
Seeding Success
 
It's your membership and financial support that allows ASTA to do this work and get you the information you need. Please encourage other seed industry colleagues to join ASTA and contribute to the success of the industry.


American Seed Trade Association | (703) 837-8140 | info@amseed.org | http://www.betterseed.org/
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