December 21, 2016 Seed E-News
In This Issue
At A Glance

Were you in Chicago for ASTA's CSS 2016 and Seed Expo? If so, please take a moment to complete the convention survey to help us plan for and improve future events. Opinions on each session can be shared through the ASTA 365 app or by clicking here.  Download the app by searching "American Seed Trade Association" in your mobile store. 
Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 ASTA Student Poster Contest! The winners were selected by attendees during CSS 2016 & Seed Expo in Chicago:
  • First place: Travis Beckett, Purdue University
  • Second place: Brad Thada, Purdue University
  • Third place: Valerie Craig, University of Guelph
Thanks to DuPont Seed Treatment for sponsoring the prizes! 


Happy Holidays to all of our readers! We hope you enjoy this joyous season of celebration with family, friends and colleagues. Thank you for your engagement with ASTA throughout 2016; it's been a great year!  We wish you all the best for a happy and successful 2017!

PS -- Do you know someone who would benefit from receiving Seed E-News? Have them  Sign Up!
FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Regulations Could Impact Seed Production Facilities

ASTA has had on-going discussions with FDA regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations that may apply to seed production facilities that send screenings and discards to operations, such as elevators and/or farms, for animal consumption. In September 2015, FDA issued new regulations addressing "Preventive Controls" for animal food, which affect all FDA-registered facilities that send materials like screening and discards for animal consumption.  The final rule exempts facilities from compliance if they are solely engaged in "holding" raw agricultural commodities. Facilities that are not exempt must comply with FDA's regulations on (1) Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), and (2) Preventive Controls. 
ASTA has been working with FDA for several years to establish that the seed industry's activities fall within the definition of "holding," such that companies will be exempt from the new requirements. The agency's definition of what activities constitutes "holding" has been evolving during that time.  Recently, FDA published draft guidance entitled Classification of Activities as Harvesting, Packing, Holding or Manufacturing/Processing for Farms and Facilities. This guidance classifies "shelling" as falling outside of the "holding" definition - therefore, FDA's proposed interpretation would mean that corn facilities that engage in shelling would be required to comply because they don't fall within the exemption. It is important to note that this is just draft guidance and is non-binding, though it does reflect FDA's current position.
ASTA will be submitting comments to FDA on the draft guidance by the February 21, 2017 deadline, but the final guidance document is not expected to be finalized for some time. This creates some uncertainty regarding the regulatory requirements for seed facilities. However, indications from FDA are that seed facilities are considered low risk and are not a priority for inspection and enforcement in 2017. 

A webinar on FSMA for ASTA members will be held early in 2017 so that seed companies can assess how the regulations may impact their operations. In the meantime please contact Jane DeMarchi with any questions. 

USDA Accepting Applications for Conservation Stewardship Program 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation's largest conservation program. Applications are available in local service centers and will be accepted through February 3, 2017.

NRCS has made several updates to the program this year to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications will help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives. These new tools also allow producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.
More information is available on the CSP portal.
Registration Open for Asia Solanaceous Round Table

The second edition of the Asia Solanaceous Round Table (ASRT) is scheduled for February 23-25, 2017 at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand.
ASRTis a public-private partnership platform for scientists to work towards finding solutions for farmers' problems in the Asian region, focusing on the solanaceous family of vegetables - primarily tomato, pepper and eggplant.
Registration is open through January 31 and space is limited. For more information, click here .
Meetings & Education
CSS 2016 & Seed Expo Thrives 

ASTA's CSS 2016 and Seed Expo was a huge success with nearly 3,000 attendees and 162 companies participating in the Seed Expo.
Held December 5-9 in Chicago, the event featured popular sessions on plant breeding innovation, ag economics, sustainability, changes in the industry, and much more. During the event, ASTA rolled out a new video  bringing plant breeding to life, as part of its Better Seed, Better Life communications initiative.
Re-watch your favorite sessions, or catch up on the ones you missed, by viewing our proceedings here . Photos are available for download on our Flickr  page, and comprehensive news coverage from the week is available on AgWired
We hope to see you back in Chicago next year for CSS 2017 & Seed Expo!
Early Registration for ASTA's Vegetable & Flower Conference Ends This Thursday

Are you registered for ASTA's 56th Vegetable and Flower Seed ConferenceRegister by this Thursday, December 22 to take advantage of early registration pricing and special hotel rates.  For more information, click here.
Held January 27-31 at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort next to EPCOT Center, the 2017 Vegetable & Flower Conference will bring to life the innovation in today's agricultural science, including exclusive tour opportunities at Disney's trial gardens, greenhouses, and a very special version of the Behind the Seeds tour. With sessions on topics including innovation in plant breeding, phytosanitary issues, organic seed, communications, and much more, this is an event you don't to miss! Check out the full schedule of events online.  
Join SIPA for the Next Technical Education Unit, Jan. 29 in Orlando

The Seed Innovation and Protection Alliance (SIPA) will host a Technical Education Unit January 29, 2017 from 8:00 - 11:00 a.m. in conjunction with the ASTA Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort.  The session will include an update on the SIPA program, the basics of patents, and use of the SIPA best practices checklist - with a focus on patents in the vegetable and flower seed industry.

To reserve a spot, RSVP to James Weatherly by January 15, 2017. Hotel information is available here .
U.C. Davis to Host Seed Production Course in February  

The U.C. Davis Seed Biotechnology Center is hosting a Seed Production course February 14-16, 2017 at the U.C. Davis Conference Center.
This three-day course is designed to enhance participants' knowledge of the underlying biology of seed production and the key roles of bees and other insect pollinators, how to manage seed crops from agronomic, quality control, and genetic integrity standpoints, and how to meet new challenges through seed production research. The course is being offered again after a very successful initial offering in February 2016.
The number of participants is limited. For course and registration information, click here or contact Sally Mohr.
Member News 
ASTA Welcomes New Members!  

Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Australia's only ASX listed hybrid plant breeder, Abundant Produce develops Australia's world class agri-science research into commercially valuable intellectual property.

Mansfield, Texas
Custom-made package solutions to meet the ever-changing retail, industrial and shipping environment.

White Cloud, Kansas
Independent, family-owned seed company specializing in matching the best genetics & traits to maximize yield potential.

White Cloud, Kansas
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 | |
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Alexandria, VA 22314