Seed E-News 
March 9, 2017
ASTA Brings the Magic of Seed to Walt Disney World!

Last week was an exciting one for ASTA, as we participated in the opening week of the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World! ASTA member-company speakers delivered presentations at the festival center and an ASTA garden was unveiled outside of the Land Pavilion. Read more about it, and much more, in this edition of ASTA's Seed eNews!
In This Issue
Member Alert
ASTA Leadership Seeking Member Feedback 

ASTA's leadership team will be reaching out to members over the coming weeks and months to solicit feedback about the association's current activities and priority areas. Your feedback will be instrumental in ensuring the association is meeting your needs and is poised and ready to address new and emerging issues of importance to your companies. We thank you in advance for your participation as we build a successful future together! 
Hearings Kick off 2018 Farm Bill Discussions 

It's that time again! Formal Farm Bill discussions have officially kicked off with a series of Congressional hearings. On February 23, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee held a field hearing 
at Kansas State University to get local perspectives on the 2018 Farm Bill.
On February 28, U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittees held Farm Bill hearings: focused on conservation programs and international market development.  

ASTA and the seed industry have specific interests in seven of the 12 Farm Bill titles. The association has formed a Farm Bill Working Group under the leadership of Bryan Gerard, chair of the Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee. The first full working group call will be held on Wednesday, March 15. ASTA members who are interested in participating in the working group should contact Virginia Houston.

ASTA Delegation Travels to Brazil for Import Regulation Discussions 

On February 21 and 22, ASTA Sr. Director for Seed Health and Trade Ric Dunkle and several ASTA member-company representatives met with Brazilian plant protection authorities, APHIS, and the Brazilian Seed Trade Association (ABRASEM) in Brazil. The discussions focused on new phytosanitary import regulations for commercial and research/breeder seed-Normative Instructions (NI) 16 and 52-that went into force at the beginning of March.

Of the new phytosanitary requirements for pests outlined in NI-16, at least 12 do not appear to be technically justified and the group is recommending they be removed from the list. In addition, the new provisions for importing small seed quantities under NI-52 will make it difficult to get this seed into the country and cleared through quarantine in time to meet critical planting windows to support breeding efforts. NI-4 also lists two corn seed pests which may no longer be technically justified. Alternative scenarios were jointly explored, leaving the door open for future discussions and possible pilot projects.
In addition to concerns with new phytosanitary import regulations, the group discussed several APHIS initiatives that are being developed in close partnership with ASTA and its members. These meetings were timely as a technical bilateral meeting between APHIS and the Brazilian authorities is scheduled for the end of March where final decisions on these and other seed issues will hopefully be made.
Join ASTA's Working Group on Seed Trade

In preparation for potential actions by the new administration on trade, ASTA is forming a working group to focus on international trade policy and the seed industry. The purpose of the group is to solicit feedback on particular trade policy issues of importance to ASTA members.
As these issues move from hypothetical proposals to action-whether it's a renegotiation of NAFTA, a border adjustment tax, etc.-the working group will be instrumental in formulating ASTA's official positions. The group will meet via conference call on an as-needed basis. The first call will take place during the week of March 13.  
If you are an ASTA member interested in participating, please email Michelle Klieger or Virginia Houston.
Meetings & Education
ASTA Shares Story of Better Seed, Better Life at Walt Disney World!

ASTA representatives were at Walt Disney World last week sharing the "Magic of Seed" at the 24th Annual EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival! The festival has grown in popularity in each of its 20-plus years to an audience that is now over 7 million visitors! 

Plant breeders Jessie Alt, DuPont Pioneer, and Eric Hoeft, HM.Clause, delivered a series of four 45-minute presentations in the festival's opening week. The presentations discussed the connection between better seed and better life, and the role of plant breeders as problem-solvers - addressing everything from farmer to home-gardener needs, like combating pests, weeds and disease; environmental challenges, like the wise use of natural resources; and consumer needs, like better taste, nutrition and appearance.

The audience, primarily made up of home-gardeners, was very engaged and asked questions about everything from how to get rid of pests in their home-grown tomatoes, to the use of pesticides, and safety of GMOs. Better Seed, Better Life story boards were prominently displayed in the festival center and every audience member went home with a specially-branded Tomatosphere  seed packet

The 2017 festival also features an ASTA garden visually depicting the evolution of popular vegetables and flowers over the years, thanks to plant breeding. The garden will be displayed outside the Land Pavilion through May. ASTA's Communications Committee is planning promotions around the event, including a meeting in Orlando at the end of April to increase awareness. Initial photos from the event are available in the ASTA Flickr album, as well as facebook, and twitterClick here for a video of the full presentation.
Member News
Clayton Yeutter, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Passes Away at Age 86 

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of former U.S. secretary of agriculture and friend of ASTA, Clayton Yeutter. Clayton passed away on March 4, at the age of 86, after a long battle with cancer.

Clayton served as  United States Secretary of Agriculture   under President  George H. W. Bush   from 1989 to 1991 before serving as Counselor to the President in 1992. He served as  United States Trade Representative   from 1985 to 1989 and as  Chairman   for the  Republican National Committee   from 1991 until 1992. Yeutter was most recently employed as a Senior Advisor at the international law firm  Hogan Lovells   in  Washington, D.C. Clayton was an unrelenting advocate of American agriculture and will be sorely missed.
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, April 8 in Bethesda, Maryland. For more information, see his obituary  in the Washington Post.
Welcome to ASTA's Newest Members

Sustainable agronomic research and testing, grower consultation, and international seed development

Innovative Seed Solutions
Zionsville, IN
Innovation and market access for sorghum
Other News
Registration Now Open for International Society for Seed Science Meeting, September 10-14

The 12th Triennial International Society for Seed Science (ISSS) meeting will take place September 10-14 in Monterey, California. Held in the U.S. for the first time since 1989, the meeting will bring the top international seed scientists to interact with the U.S. and California seed industry.
For more information and to register, visit the webpage
All-America Selections Announces Newest Winners

All-America Selections (AAS) recently announced eight new winning varieties. Each was trialed in North America by professional, independent, volunteer judges who grew them next to comparisons that are considered best-in-class.
Visit the website for more information, including the full list of winners and judges.