Seed E-News 
April 6, 2017

It's a big week for ASTA, as we welcome both our Executive Committee and International Executive Committee (IEC) to Washington D.C. for meetings, along with seed advocates from across the nation for our annual #StormTheHill17 legislative fly-in on Capitol Hill! Read about the Fly-in and much more in this week's edition of Seed E-News! 
In This Issue
State of the States 

ASTA is tracking 29 bills in nine states related to invasive species and noxious weeds.
A majority of these bills are seeking additional funding for state-level control and eradication programs. Some bills focus on the structure of these programs and the ability to list problem weeds, and others specify specific weeds for listing, such as Japanese Yew in Idaho, Milkweed in Illinois, and wild Blackberry in Kansas.
In Minnesota, a bill has been introduced that outlines requirements for notifying an adjacent landowner when a noxious weed presence is confirmed. In Pennsylvania, legislation has been in the works for several years to establish a Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee under the Secretary of Agriculture. The bill would also provide for the permitting of controlled plants intended to be grown for biomass and biofuel production, or for other beneficial purposes.
We'll continue to keep you posted as issues and legislation develop. 

ASTA "Storms the Hill"  

Seed industry advocates from 19 states participated in more than 90 meetings on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, April 5, as part of part of ASTA's annual Storm the Hill Legislative Fly-in. Storm the Hill is a unique opportunity for ASTA members representing every crop and every part of the nation to join together with a unified voice on legislative issues impacting the seed industry.

ASTA members lobbied for a number of issues  including: trade, funding for key USDA programs, review of the Food Safety Modernization Act, innovation in plant breeding, and further cooperation between the Bureau of Land Management and ASTA members.
For an in-depth perspective on current policy issues being debated in Washington, D.C., check out ASTA President & CEO Andy LaVigne's Agri-Pulse Open Mic interview. LaVigne discusses biotech labeling, plant breeding innovation policy, global trade agreements, the 2018 Farm Bill, and more.
EPA Denies Activist Petition on Chlorpyrifos  

On March 29, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its decision to deny a petition by activist groups requesting a ban on the insecticide chlorpyrifos. The decision is a reversal from a November 2016 proposal from the EPA under then-President Barack Obama which would have effectively banned chlorpyrifos in agricultural uses.

EPA's move to deny the decision indicates a return to sound-science and predictable review, and sets a positive precedent for other pesticides facing registration-review.

Earlier this year, ASTA submitted formal comments both individually and as part of the Pesticide Policy Coalition, to the EPA expressing support for chlorpyrifos as an important and safe seed treatment, and urging EPA to base its decision on sound science under the statutory standards set forth in the Federal Insecticide Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and (FIFRA) Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).  It's important that farmers have a robust toolbox at their disposal to fight pests which can hurt yield and be vectors for disease.

EPA will now focus its attention on updating and revising its human health assessment for chlorpyrifos under the standard procedures of the ongoing registration review process, scheduled for completion on October 1, 2022, in order to support future decision-making.
ASTA Hires Industry Representative in China 

In March, ASTA hired a representative in China to participate in meetings with  Chinese partners when ASTA is not able to attend in person. Ms. Dan Fang is based in Beijing and is available as a resource for member companies visiting the country. During a recent visit to China, ASTA staff introduced Ms. Fang to partners at a number of key organizations, including the China National Seed Association, China National Seed Trade Association, Foreign Agriculture Service staff at the U.S. Embassy, and members of the CropLife China Seed Committee. Ms. Fang will focus her efforts on three priority areas: intellectual property rights, germplasm movement and phytosanitary issues, and plant breeding innovation.

For more information or to connect with Dan Fang, contact Michelle Klieger with questions.
Meetings & Education
Make Plans for ASTA's Annual Convention, June 21-24 in Minneapolis!

Register today for ASTA's 2017 Annual Convention, June 21-24 in Minneapolis, Minnesota! With the theme "Voyage of Better Seed," this year's meeting will focus on science and policy issues related to the development and free movement of quality seed worldwide. 

A number of special sessions and tours are being planned for the week, including an all-new cross-cutting policy session with ASTA Committee updates and speakers covering domestic and international policy issues, and an Opening General Session panel featuring representatives from several major food companies discussing consumer food trends.

On Wednesday, June 21, meeting participants will have an opportunity to visit Syngenta's Seedcare Institute in Stanton, Minnesota to see its state of the art research and training facility. The tour will include visits to high-tech laboratories, seed treating and application performance evaluation areas, and training facilities. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about the newest advances and best practices in application technology. Space on the tour is limited to 45 participants, so reserve your spot today! 

For more information and to register for the convention, visit the website.

Other News
The Five Steps for Stewardship of Treated Seed

As planting season begins across the country, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) reminds farmers to follow five basic steps for stewardship of treated seed:

  1. Follow Directions: Follow directions on treated seed container label for handling, storage, planting and disposal practices.
  2. Eliminate Weeds: Eliminate flowering plants and weeds in and around the field prior to planting.
  3. Minimize Dust: Use advanced seed flow lubricants that minimize dust.
  4. BeeAware: At planting, be aware of honey bees and hives located near the field, and communicate with beekeeper when possible.
  5. Clean and Remove: Completely remove all treated seed left in containers and equipment used to handle harvested grain, and dispose of it properly. Keep all treated seed out of the commodity grain channels.
For more information, visit the newly redesigned The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship is a partnership between ASTA, Agricultural Retailers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, CropLife America, National Corn Growers Association, and National Cotton Council.

Do you know an early-career individual who is passionate about the seed industry with the potential to make a significant contribution? Help them become the next Future Giant of the seed industry, an award given each year by Seed World in partnership with the American Seed Trade Association's (ASTA) Future Seed Executives (FuSE).
The 2017 Future Giant will be announced at ASTA's 134th Annual Convention June 21-24 in Minneapolis, Minn., and featured in the September issue of Seed World magazine. This is a great opportunity to showcase those who are relatively new to your company, organization or program, who bring a fresh perspective and who are seen as a rising leader.
The program is open to candidates who are:
  1. In graduate or undergraduate programs in post-secondary education and intend to pursue a career in the seed industry, OR
  1. Currently employed by a seed company, laboratory or university and seen as an up and coming leader.
  2. Based in the United States.
The nomination deadline is April 28. Nominations will be judged by Seed World's Advisory Board, a panel of industry experts.

Please return your nomination form to before April 28. The subject line should read "SW: Future Giant Nomination."

If you have any questions or concerns, contact Julie Deering