March 23, 2016 Seed E-News
In This Issue
At A Glance
Calling all musicians! 

Join the "Seed Industry Jam Band" for a special performance at the Opening Reception.  Whether you play an instrument or sing, this is your night to shine and have some fun! Members, spouses and family members are all invited to join.  Tie-dye shirts are welcome! For more information, contact Michael DeMasi by April 1. 
ASTA Conference Proceedings

Did you know ASTA has  conference proceedings  available online?   Catch up on sessions you missed,  or watch your favorite  ones again! Dan  Basse's economic 
outlook was one of the 
most popular sessions at  CSS 2015. View it on the  members-only website .
Future Giant of the Seed Industry
Future Giant of the seed industry is an annual award that recognizes an individual who is currently employed in the seed industry and is seen as a rising leader or is in the graduation year of his/her post-secondary program with plans to enter the seed industry.

Powered by Seed World and ASTA's Future Seed Executives (FuSE), the award is given to an individual who shows the potential to make a significant contribution to the industry. To nominate a Future Giant of the seed industry, download the nomination form.

Spring is here and things are busy in the seed industry! Let Seed E-News be your first and most reliable resource for industry news.  Enjoy!   

PS -- Do you know someone who would benefit from receiving Seed E-News? Have them Sign Up!
State of the States

Of the 53 bills that ASTA is currently tracking at the state level, two have been delivered to the Governor's desk:
  • Tennessee HB 1946 by Rep. Ron Lollar: This bill specifies the commissioner of agriculture is solely invested with authority to regulate seed in this state, except as otherwise specifically provided by law; and requires the commissioner to maintain a scheme for regulating seed that is uniform across the state. In layman's terms, that's seed preemption. Special thanks to the Southern Crop Production Association and the Biotechnology Industry Association for their efforts in getting that bill through the legislature.
  • Washington HB 2478 by Rep. Strom Peterson: This bill directs the state noxious weed control board to conduct a pilot project that evaluates the options, methods, and costs of purposefully replacing pollen-rich and nectar-rich noxious weeds, such as knapweeds and nonnative thistles, which are productive forage plants for honey bees, with either native or noninvasive, nonnative forage plants that can produce similar levels of pollen and nectar with a similar bloom succession to support populations of honey bees and other pollinators. The goal of the pilot project is to develop optional guidance and best practices for landowners and land managers faced with the removal of noxious weeds. The pilot project must be developed to maximize the dual public benefits of reducing noxious weeds in Washington and supporting agricultural production through the maintenance of access to seasonally balanced pollen-rich and nectar-rich plants for honey bees and other pollinators.
As always, we'll keep an eye on the states and let you know if any issues arise that could potentially impact your business.
Seed Industry "Storms the Hill" 

Seed advocates from 20 states participated in a total of 85 meetings on Capitol Hill as part of ASTA's "Storm the Hill" Legislative Fly-in, March 15 in Washington, D.C. "Storm the Hill" is a unique opportunity for seed-industry partners from every sector and every part of the nation to join together with a unified voice on Capitol Hill.

"ASTA's broad membership includes companies of all sizes, production types and varieties--from alfalfa to zucchini and everything in between," said ASTA President & CEO Andrew LaVigne. "While our industry is diverse, we share the common goal of producing better seed for a better quality of life. From ratification of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, to GMO labeling and funding for critical research and conservation programs, Congress is debating serious issues that will impact the seed industry's ability to continue improving seed in the years ahead. Seed is the foundation of life, and the decisions that Congress makes today will have an impact on almost every aspect of society in the future."

For more information on "Storm the Hill" and seed industry legislative priorities, see ASTA's press release. View photos from the event on ASTA's Flickr page.

Coalition Urges Ratification of International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources 

More than 70 organizations representing the public and private sectors recently sent a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urging swift ratification of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The treaty creates a specialized, global system for the management and exchange of valuable plant genetic resources-the key to solving threats from drought, plant diseases and insects.

The U.S. was integrally involved in negotiating the finalized treaty and signed it in 2002 during the Bush administration. However, ratification is still pending in the Senate. Today, 139 countries have ratified the Treaty, many of which are key competitors with the U.S. in international seed markets. Even without ratification, U.S. companies, universities and government agencies are being impacted by the treaty, and must abide by its legally binding material transfer agreement in order to access critical, international germplasm. No U.S. laws would need to be changed and no additional appropriations would be needed to implement the treaty. The treaty will not diminish existing intellectual property protections.

"As agriculture is asked to do more, it is important that U.S. researchers are not left behind in their ability to access the most basic materials needed to improve seeds and food," the groups stated in the letter.
Senate Fails to Move Forward on Roberts' GMO-Labeling Bill   

A group of commercial beekeepers, growers and environmental activists recently filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for not regulating seeds treated with neonicontoids as pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.  These groups allege that dust from the coated seeds has harmed the environment, including honey bees and birds.  

On Wednesday, March 16, the Senate failed to get the 60 votes necessary to move forward on Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts' bill to provide a uniform, national food labeling standard.

Despite the recent vote, there continues to be a strong bipartisan consensus to protect American consumers from the increased food costs and confusion of a 50-state patchwork of labeling laws. ASTA is urging the Senate to continue working towards a solution in the near future.

ASTA has long advocated for a uniform, national food-labeling solution based on sound science. Consumers and the food and agriculture community alike deserve consistency and transparency in the marketplace.

Farmers Urged to Participate in Cover Crop Survey 
A nationwide survey is seeking insight from growers around the country on whether or not they plant cover crops, and why.

The process takes less than 15 minutes and all answers are anonymous. Participants can enter a drawing for a chance to win a $100 gift card.

This is the fourth annual cover crop survey conducted by CTIC in conjunction with USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) with help from Penton Farm Progress. Sponsors within ASTA include Albert Lea Seed, CHS, The CISCO Corporation, LaCrosse Seed, Mountain View Seed, Allied Seed, Curtis & Curtis Inc., Grassland Oregon, Justin Seed and Seedway.

Special Webinar Opportunity: NSHAPP - Attention Cucumber, Melon, Watermelon Seed Company Representatives!

Are you responsible for phytosanitary compliance or the international movement of seed at a company that producers cucumber, melon or watermelon seeds? Join ASTA and USDA APHIS on March 30 at 2:00 p.m. EST for a special webinar on the National Seed Health Accreditation Pilot Program (NSHAPP).

To RSVP, email ASTA Manager of International Programs & Policy Kelly Crist by March 23 with your name and affiliation. NSHAPP offers a unique, voluntary opportunity for the seed industry to showcase effective self-regulatory procedures already in place, thus helping avoid unnecessary or duplicative future federal regulations. Learn more here.

APHIS Enhances Permit Process for non-eAuthenticated Applicants

As of December 2015, APHIS is allowing non-eAuthenticated applicants to electronically respond to Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQs) requests to review and approve "draft permit conditions" and/or to complete the "applicant inspection questionnaire." This enhancement is intended to streamline the process to capture responses directly into ePermits and therefore do away with the manual process of uploading such documents onto ePermits which increase permit processing times.

When required, non-eAuthenticated applicants will receive draft permit conditions and inspection questionnaires from APHIS by email. Applicants respond to the request(s) by email after obtaining a secured electronic pin number via email. Responses are transferred electronically to the application and captured directly into ePermits.

PPQ safeguards U.S. agriculture and natural resources against the entry, establishment, and spread of economically and environmentally significant pests, and facilitates the safe trade of agricultural products. Click here for more information.

Meetings & Education
Registration Now Open for ASTA's Annual Convention!

Registration for attendees and exhibitors is now open on ASTA's website for ASTA's 133rd & OSA's 47th Annual Convention, being held June 18 - 22 in Portland, OR. We look forward to this unique and valuable opportunity to bring together the members of the American Seed Trade Association and the Oregon Seed Association for education, networking and working together to move our industry forward.
This year's conference features an outstanding schedule of topics and special events, including:
  • Sessions on cover crops, innovation in plant breeding, moving seed across borders, legislative issues, organic seed and much more
  • A special OSA Field Tour of area agriculture
  • Golf Tournament and Gary Arthur Memorial 5K Fun Run/Walk
  • Welcome Reception at McMenamins/Edgefield
  • Tours of the Portland Rose Gardens, the Portland Foodie Tour and Multnomah Falls
  • OSA Silent Auction and Gala Banquet featuring a live band

Be sure to reserve your hotel room ; reference the "American Seed Trade Association" room block if reserving by phone (877) 229-9995 as soon as possible at The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel. The cut-off date is May 26, 2016, for the ASTA group rate of $219 (rate includes Internet access).

Together, ASTA and OSA will "Blaze Trails" to our industry's future. We look forward to seeing you in Portland!
Operation Student Connection Program Now Accepting Applications 

The American Seed Research Foundation (ASRF) is now accepting applications for its Operation Student Connection Program! The program is a unique opportunity for graduate students in seed related disciplines to attend and participate in the ASTA Annual Convention where they'll gain first-hand insight into the industry and establish valuable professional contacts.

Completed application forms must be submitted to Ann Jorss by April 8. To learn more, visit ASRF.
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.

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