January 26, 2016 Seed E-News
In This Issue
At A Glance
ASTA Office Schedule

The ASTA office will be closed Jan. 28-Feb. 3 while staff participate in the  55th Vegetable & Flower Seed Conference in Anaheim, California.  

Follow ASTA on Facebook and Twitter (@Better_Seed) for live news from the meeting!  #ASTAVegFlo
ICYMI: Digging for Seed s of Truth in GMO Debate

Did you catch the recent CBS Sunday Morning  feature story on  GMOs?  In case you missed it, click here for correspondent Barry Peterson's  in-depth  look at GMO safety and the labeling debate.

In this edition of Seed E-News, we cover ASTA's brand-new domestic newsletter, a change in China's Seed Law, the upcoming ASTA Management Academy, and much more!  

PS --  Don't forgot to follow @Better_Seed on Twitter for real-time news from the Vegetable & Flower Seed Conference next week in Anaheim! 
State Governmental Affairs Working Group Hits the Ground Running

More than 50 members have participated in each of the first three meetings of the ASTA State Governmental Affairs Working Group. Created last fall, the Working Group provides a forum for identification, discussion, and resolution of state and local seed issues, in coordination with the ASTA Legislative and Legal Concerns Committee. 

The Working Group kicked off with a November conference call to review objectives and to discuss ASTA's state legislative priorities and regional activities. In December, the group convened in-person and via conference call during the ASTA CSS 2015 & Seed Expo in Chicago, with agenda items including seed preemption, seed libraries, and federal GMO labeling legislation. In January, the group met in conjunction with the Southern Seed Association's Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, where attendees received updates on ASTA's communications initiatives, federal GMO labeling, state labeling harmonization, state regulatory funding, regulations of biological seed treatments, and the AASCO Seed Sampler Training Program. During the January meeting, the Working Group voted to join the ASTA Seed Treatment & Environmental Committee in the establishment of a Joint Biologicals Working Group.

All ASTA members are invited to participate in the State Governmental Affairs Working Group. To be added to the distribution list, email Director of State Affairs
Pat Miller .   During the next call, scheduled for February 10, the group will receive a comprehensive overview of all state legislation.

Seed Advocate Logo
Don't Forget to Register for "Storm the Hill"March 14-15!

Join seed advocates from across the nation at ASTA's "Storm the Hill" legislative fly-in, March 14-15 in Washington, D.C.! This is a unique opportunity for all sectors of the seed industry to join together with a unified voice on Capitol Hill. 

The event will open the afternoon of Monday, March 14 with an issues briefing and a preparatory session for the legislative meetings. On Tuesday, March 15, attendees will head up to Capitol Hill to meet with legislators on the latest issues impacting the seed industry -- from innovation in plant breeding and international trade, to labeling standards, funding for agriculture research, and environmental conservation. 

Registration is open through February 14. Click here for more information and to register.
Get the Latest Seed-Policy News Delivered Straight to Your Inbox!

ASTA has a brand-new domestic newsletter!  Distributed on a quarterly basis,"Poli-SEEDS" offers ASTA members an in-depth look at the latest legislative and regulatory issues impacting the seed industry, both at the national and state levels.  To sign up, email Associate Director of Domestic and Government Affairs Virginia Houston with your full name, affiliation and email address.  The first edition hit inboxes on Friday, January 22; if you missed it, email Virginia to request a copy.  

Collaboration for Plant Pathogen Strain Identification

Did you know there's a collaborative body dedicated to consistent identification of plant pathogen strains and races in U.S. markets? With financial support from ASTA, and ongoing endorsements from APS and ISF, the Collaboration for Plant Pathogen Strain Identification (CPPSI) provides value to seed industry, regulatory agencies and academia by:
  • Providing a tool for consistent identification of pathogen strains;
  • Complimenting and collaborating with existing efforts in Europe;
  • Building confidence and clarity in disease resistance claims; 
  • Giving early warning of new/emerging pathogen strains that overcome resistance; 
  • Allowing improved "due diligence" for resistance claims which may reduce liability; 
  • Providing a reference baseline of pathogenicity for plant pathogen strain research and resistance plant breeding; and 
  • Serving as a repository for differential host and pathogen collections of retiring experts 
The CPPSI working group has developed a working structure that consists of differential plant host sets with verified disease resistance reactions, reference plant pathogen strains and races, and instructional guides to identify plant pathogen strains used in claims of disease resistance. These tools can be accessed at  

While the initial focus has been U.S. and European vegetable markets, the scope will expand to vegetable markets in Asia as well as additional cropping systems as CPPSI grows. For more information, including how to join the CPPSI working group and/or become a sponsoring member, contact CPPSI Director Phyllis Himmel.

China's Seed Law Amended

The National People's Congress recently approved an amendment to China's Seed Law. The changes, which went into effect on January 1, 2016, include reducing the number of crops subject to variety registration from 28 to five, establishing a variety record-system, and strengthening China's intellectual property rights protection.  This is the first change to the law since the legislation was enacted in 2000.

ASTA has been actively providing comments throughout the Chinese Seed Law process and many of ASTA's suggestions were incorporated into the final draft.  An unofficial translation of the new seed law and the Annual Planting Seed Report from the Foreign Agriculture Service staff in Beijing are available on the ASTA members' only 
website .

Meetings & Education

Disneyland's Director of Horticulture and Resort Enhancement to Keynote ASTA Vegetable & Flower Seed Conference!

Heading to Anaheim for ASTA's 55th annual Vegetable & Flower Seed Conference? Don't miss the General Session where Adam Schwerner, Director, Horticulture and Resort Enhancement, Disneyland Resort, will discuss contemporary public garden design and the integration of art into public parks and gardens. Schwerner is responsible for designing and maintaining the living beauty of the Disneyland Resort, overseeing the landscaped and flower-filled lands, as well as the holiday, building and attraction décor teams at the Resort.

The General Session will also feature a presentation by Don Goodwin, Owner and President of Golden Sun Marketing, which provides strategy, business development and marketing services to the fresh produce supply chain from seed to retail. Goodwin's broad spectrum of clients includes seed companies, grower/shippers, wholesalers, retailers and the Walt Disney Company.

If you can't make it to the meeting in person, follow @Better_Seed on Twitter (#ASTAVegFlo) for real-time updates throughout the week.

Speakers Announced for Seed Treatment and Environment Committee Meeting

The next meeting of ASTA's Seed Treatment and Environment Committee (STEC) will be held on Monday, February 1 in conjunction with the Vegetable & Flower Seed Conference in Anaheim, California.  This is a unique opportunity to hear from experts about biological seed-treatments and strategies for improving pollinator health when using commercial pollination services.  For more information on the STEC meeting, and the full schedule of events taking place next week:

ASTA Management Academy, March 7-11 - Drivers of Change in Agriculture

Income is a bigger driver of food demand than is population growth, which has supply implications for all of agriculture-including the seed industry. As incomes grow, so does demand for animal proteins. Meeting that demand means generating a steady supply of plant-based energy to feed livestock.

According to Allan Gray, Director of the Purdue University Center for Food and Agricultural Business, that's going to mean a shift in the way agriculture looks at crop yields and food supply. While there is still potential to improve yields with genetics, it likely isn't enough to feed a growing population. Making up the difference will have to come from farming practices.

"For the seed industry specifically, that means learning how to execute on research and development, then translate it to the farmer," Gray said. "There will always be a farmer between input suppliers and yield. The seed industry has to identify what it can do to better market improved management practices to the growers."

Read more of Gray's thoughts on drivers of change in agriculture here

Gray will present about drivers of change and how they apply to the seed industry at the 2016 ASTA Management Academy, March 7-11 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Learn more and register at http://agribusiness.purdue.edu/asta.

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 | info@amseed.org | http://www.amseed.org
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