Seed E-News 
April 21, 2017
Seeking Farmer Input!   

Our annual cover crops survey is now live! Please help us spread the word to your farmer networks. Responses will help guide policy, research, and education on cover crops nationwide.Read more about it in this week's edition of Seed eNews.
In This Issue
State
Oregon Pre-emption Repeal Fails

On April 14, the Oregon Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Committee failed to advance a bill (SB 1037) which would have allowed local governments and counties to create their own regulations or bans on genetically engineered (GE) crops. In other words, the bill would have repealed Oregon's local pre-emption law that was enacted several years ago.
 
The Committee found that local labeling requirements would be overly burdensome for seed companies, and difficult to enforce due to the complexity of the seed industry.
 
An identical bill in the House, HB 2469, will not advance either.
Federal
FDA Grants Request for Extension on Gene Editing Comment Period 

On April 12, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its decision to extend through June 19 the comment period  for a Request for Information related to new plant varieties developed using genome editing.  
 
ASTA and a coalition of organizations representing scientists, farmers, agribusinesses and food companies had requested the extension last month to allow time to address the complexities of the questions and topics posed by FDA . USDA published a proposed rule titled "Importation, Interstate Movement, and Release Into the Environment of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms" to update its regulation of genetically engineered organisms under 7 CFR Part 340 (APHIS-2015-0057-0016).  The comment period for this proposed rule is also June 19, allowing for greater alignment of the work of the two agencies.
 
ASTA, through its Plant Breeding Innovation Working Group, is drafting comments to submit by the deadline.
International
Long Awaited International Seed Standard is Good News for U.S. Seed Industry 

On April 6, a final International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) for Seed was agreed to during the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in Korea. 
ASTA has been advocating for a seed ISPM for nearly 20 years.
 
The need for a standard has become more apparent, as many National Plant Protection Offices (NPPOs) have been publishing new, usually more restrictive, non-science based, phytosanitary import requirements for seeds. The ISPM for Seed provides guidance to NPPOs on the criteria for harmonizing import requirements and export/re-export procedures, taking into account the unique needs of commercial seed as well as seed used for research, breeding and multiplication. 
 
Read ASTA's press release for more information.
Pictured From Left to Right Tracy Tally Justin Seed Company Inc._ John Schoenecker HM.CLAUSE_ Ambassador Cabanas_ Jane DeMarchi ASTA _ Bryan Gerard JoMar Seeds Inc._ Mike Gumina RiceTec Inc._ Jorge Chepote Monsanto Company.

ASTA's International Executive Committee Meets with Cuba Ambassador 

On April 3 in Washington, D.C., ASTA leadership and members of the International Executive Committee (IEC) met with José Ramón Cabañas, the Cuban Ambassador to the U.S., to discuss the Cuban seed industry and the potential for future collaboration. The IEC also met with representatives from the Brazil, Chile, and Mexico embassies, and staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Trade Programs and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The ASTA IEC is a group of ASTA members that represent ASTA's broad constituency to guide ASTA's international activities and set international priorities. For more information, contact Kelly Crist.


Reminder: Joint U.S./Mexico Phytosanitary Workshop Planned for June 6 & 7 in Nogales, Mexico

ASTA and the Mexican Seed Trade Association (AMSAC) are hosting 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 Nogales, Mexico.
 
Seed testing and pest-risk assessments will be key issues of discussion. If you would like to attend, please contact Kelly Crist by May 5 to reserve your spot. The workshop is free of charge and is open to ASTA members only.

Meetings & Education
Don't Miss the Longest-Running Event in the Seed Industry, June 21-24 in Minneapolis!

Register today for ASTA's 134th Annual Convention, June 21-24 in Minneapolis, Minnesota! Emerging in recent years as the premier ASTA leadership event, the Annual Convention serves as an essential conclave of policy discussions where all ASTA members, from all sectors of our industry, can come together on the most important issues that will affect your business. Joint us on our "Voyage of Better Seed," as we focus this year on policy issues related to the development and free movement of quality seed worldwide. 
 
This year, the normal joint session of all ASTA Divisions has been re-framed into the new "Cross-Cutting Policy: Domestic and International" session, a crucial and timely discussion illuminating for ASTA members the late-breaking trade and regulatory activity that will shape the future of our business. Join other ASTA executives in this important session that will help guide you through all of the impacts the new administration may have on our industry.
 
The ASTA Annual Convention is held in the Midwest every three years, in order to bring the opportunity for collaboration, education and networking on these important concerns to within driving distance of two-thirds of ASTA membership. This important leadership conference relies upon the voices of all ASTA members from companies regional to multinational in scope to help guide the work of the association; all ASTA member companies should plan to send at least one company representative to this annual membership meeting.
 
Registration, exhibit and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and to register for the convention, visit the website.


Other News
2017 Cover Crop Survey Now Live 

The American Seed Trade Association, USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Agency, and the Conservation Technology Information Center are seeking farmers to participate in the 2017 cover crops survey. Please help us spread the word within your networks - both to farmers who are using cover crops and to those who are not. We are working to reach as many farmers as possible in every state. 

This is ASTA's third year as a co-sponsor of the Survey through generous support of ASTA members. Responses will help guide policy, research, and education on cover crops nationwide which will be especially critical as a new Farm Bill is written.  Farmers can access the survey here . Responses will be evaluated at the end of May.

For questions, contact Chad R. Watts with CTIC at 
watts@ctic.org. Thanks in advance for helping get the message out about this important survey!