July 5, 2016 Seed E-News
In This Issue
At A Glance
Better Seed, Better Life

Did you know seed improvement means a better environment, more nutritious food, and a healthier economy? Get to know Jessie, a real-life mom, gardener and plant breeder who is helping to make the world a better place!  Join the conversation online and help spread the word about why better seed means better life #BetterSeedBetterLife.
CSS 2016 & Seed Expo Housing Scam Alert

ASTA recently received notification of members being contacted by an outside company offering hotel reservations for CSS 2016 & Seed Expo without ASTA permission.  As a reminder, no official ASTA housing channel will contact you to solicit a hotel reservation.  We maintain a strict privacy policy regarding registration information and do not share it with third parties.  For questions, contact Jennifer Crouse.

ASTA is bringing plant breeding to life! Get to know Jessie, our very own mom, home gardener and plant breeder in our new video trailer. Join the conversation online and help spread the word about why better seed means better life #BetterSeedBetterLife.  Feel free to use ASTA's template social media posts from our Better Seed, Better Life initiative found  here


PS -- Do you know someone who would benefit from receiving Seed E-News? Have them Sign Up!
ASTA Supports Roberts-Stabenow Agreement on GMO Labeling  

Late last month, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow reached a bipartisan agreement to provide consumers with additional information regarding the presence of genetically engineered ingredients in food.  ASTA applauds Senators Roberts and Stabenow for reaching a common sense agreement which will allow for federal preemption of costly state-by-state labeling laws, while providing food companies flexibility with options for disclosure.
"The bipartisan proposal is a practical solution to prevent a costly and confusing patchwork of state food-labeling laws from being enacted across the nation," said ASTA President & CEO Andrew LaVigne.  "We commend the Senators for their efforts in reaching a common-sense agreement that works for the agriculture industry and consumers alike.  The Roberts/Stabenow proposal will bring much-needed consistency and transparency to the marketplace, and we urge the Senate to pass it as soon as possible."
With Vermont's labeling law set to take effect on July 1, urgent action is needed. The Senate must pass the bill, so the House can do the same when it returns from recess on today. Please call your Senators and urge them to support the Roberts/Stabenow GMO labeling agreement!

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Clears International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources 

Following the successful hearing in May, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture during a business meeting on June 23.  ASTA is now calling on Senate leadership to bring the Treaty to the floor for ratification.
One of ASTA's top legislative priorities, the Treaty is a simple and non-controversial solution to enable the exchange of plant materials globally.
"It's no secret that our global food system is highly interconnected," said ASTA President & CEO Andrew LaVigne.  "Newly published research shows that more than seventy percent of the food we eat and grow comes from crops that are not native to the U.S.  American researchers need access to global plant materials as they work to develop the next generation of plant varieties to prepare for future challenges like evolving plant pests and diseases, changing climates, and feeding a growing population."

For more information, see ASTA's  briefing paper   and  testimony   from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in May.
Planning Underway for International Seed Movement Workshops - Seeking Feedback  

ASTA is in the initial stages of planning its sixth annual U.S.-Mexico border workshop and second annual import-export workshop.  The workshops are designed to address problems with moving seed across the U.S. border.

The U.S.-Mexico workshop will be held in a to-be-determined location in Mexico, offering ASTA members the opportunity to engage with officials from APHIS and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, as well as their Mexican counterparts.  Held at either the Port of Seattle or Takoma, Washington, the import-export workshop will include participation by APHIS and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. 

Both workshops are free for ASTA members, and space is limited.  If you are interested in attending either or both workshops, please help us select dates by participating in the Doodle polls below:

The agendas will be member-driven based upon your feedback.  To learn more, or to offer suggestions on specific topics for discussion, email Michelle Klieger or Kelly Crist.  
Meetings & Education
Seed Industry Leaders Gather in Portland for ASTA-OSA Annual Convention

More than 470 seed industry professionals from across the nation gathered in Portland, Oregon, June 18-22 for a joint Annual Convention of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and the Oregon Seed Association.  This was the highest Annual Convention attendance since 2007 (including the 2008 convention which was ASTA's 125th anniversary!). 

Photos from the week are available for download on the ZimmComm Flickr page.  To listen to on-site interviews with ASTA leadership and convention speakers, visit the AgWired site

If you attended the convention and haven't yet filled out the post-convention survey, please take a few minutes to do so here.  Your feedback is extremely valuable in our future planning efforts.

Thanks, again, to all of the ASTA-OSA Annual Convention sponsors!

ASTA Honors Seed Industry Leaders 

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 ASTA Awards, announced during the General Session ceremony at the Annual Convention in Portland!

Larry Nees, Office of Indiana State Chemist, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award which recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the association and the seed industry. For more than 35 years, Larry has served as the seed control official for Indiana, responsible for enforcement and administration of the Indiana Seed Law, the Indiana Seed Arbitration Law, the Indiana Legume Inoculants and Plant Growth Substances Law, and the Inspections Under Seed Contracts Law.

Mike Gumina, RiceTec, Inc.,  received ASTA's Lifetime Honorary Membership Award.  This award is one of the highest awards given out by the association and is in recognition of untiring service to the association as well as the seed industry.  Mike has been an active participant in ASTA for years, including service as Chairman of the Board from 2011-2012 and as a key creator of ASTA's current Strategic Plan which is still in use. He has served as the ISF representative to the ASTA Board and remains a key international figure in forwarding the interests of the American seed industry.

Owen J. Newlin, DuPont Pioneer
, was presented the inaugural Lifetime Industry Achievement Award.  The award acknowledges exceptional professionals whose career contributions to the seed industry span more than 50 years.  Owen is active both in and out of the seed industry.  A longtime ambassador and advocate for Iowa State University, and has served as a member of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, for 12 years, with eight years as president.  Owen was also President of the American Seed Research Foundation (ASRF) from 1982-84 and remains an active ASRF Board Member to this day. Owen is the longest running ASTA Past President who remains an active participant on the ASTA Board of Directors to this day.

ASTA Announces New Officer Team

During the 2016 ASTA-OSA Annual Convention, ASTA  elected its 2016-2017 officer team which will continue to drive the association's five year Strategic Plan, focusing strongly on advocacy, efficiency of operations, and internal and external communications.
The 2016-17 ASTA Officer Team is: 
  • Chair: Mark Herrmann, AgReliant Genetics
  • First Vice Chair: Tracy Tally, Justin Seed Co.
  • Second Vice Chair: Jerry Flint, DuPont Pioneer 
"The seed industry today faces both unprecedented challenges and opportunities," said incoming Chair Mark Herrmann. "Whether it's the threat of regulatory uncertainty, international issues impacting the movement of seed, or simply a lack of understanding from the public about the importance of the work
we do-it's never been more important that we proactively drive a strong and unified industry to address the issues we will face in the future."
Herrmann vowed to continue ASTA's strong commitment to be the voice of the American seed industry, to have an open and ongoing dialogue between members and leadership, and to have efficient internal operations to ensure the association is prepared to address whatever issues or threats emerge in the future. He stressed that one of the most pressing issues facing the industry is the general lack of understanding--by the public, legislators, and regulators-about how the seed industry operates and why innovation in plant breeding is vital, not only to the seed industry, but to virtually every aspect of life.
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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