August 4, 2016 Seed E-News
In This Issue
At A Glance
ASTA President & CEO Featured in Agri-Pulse  


ICYMI: Agri-Pulse recently featured a column by ASTA President & CEO Andy LaVigne in support of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Read the column, Better seed for a better life: the Senate should ratify the plant genetics treaty , here.
ASTA Vegetable & Flower Reservations

ASTA is now accepting reservations for the Trading Room at the 56th Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference, January 28-31, 2017 in Orlando, Florida.  Don't miss out! Click here to reserve your spot today! 

ICYMI: On Friday, July 29, President Obama signed into law the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.  The bill creates a national standard for the labeling of foods made with genetically modified ingredients, and protects farmers and consumers from a confusing and costly patchwork of state labeling laws.  Coverage of this and other federal policy issues can be found in ASTA's quarterly domestic newsletter, PoliSEEDS, which hit mailboxes last week. Did you get your copy? If not, email Virginia Houston to be added to the distribution list, and stay up to speed on the latest policy issues impacting your business!  

PS -- Do you know someone who would benefit from receiving Seed E-News? Have them Sign Up!
State
State Labeling Bills Nullified

Officially signed by the President on July 29, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act renders the Vermont GMO labeling law null and void.  Similar laws in Maine and Connecticut are negated as well.  These 'trigger' laws would have required surrounding states to adopt GMO labeling laws before their state law would go into effect.  Many state labeling bills have been introduced over the past decade without success, including failed voter referendums in California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. 

The Vermont bill went into effect several weeks before the Congressional bill passed, causing food manufacturers to struggle with compliance.  Some companies were able to adjust; others pulled their products from Vermont food store shelves to determine their next steps.  Another issue that will not be resolved relates to the lawsuits filed by groups claiming the Vermont law violates the First and Fifth Amendment and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  Once Congress passed the preemption bill, continuations of those lawsuits became unnecessary.
Federal
Cover Crops Survey Reflects Enthusiasm for the Soil-Saving Practice


Insight from 2,020 farmers from across the country reflected enthusiasm for cover crops and-for the fourth year in a row-found a yield boost in corn and soybeans following cover crops.
 
The   survey was conducted in March 2016 by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and the Conservation Technology Information Center with help from the American Seed Trade Association and Purdue University.  The survey offers data unavailable elsewhere, providing a vital glimpse into farmers' use of and perceptions about cover crops. 
 
The multi-year data shows the yield boost increases as cover crops are planted year after year, a revelation that points to an appealing long-term benefit of the conservation practice.  Acreage planted to cover crops continued its steady rise among survey participants, reaching an average of 298 acres per farm in 2015 and projected to grow to a mean of 339 acres in 2016. Those figures are more than double the acreage survey participants said they planted in 2011.
To view the full report, visit: www.sare.org/covercropsurvey.
Fall 2016 NOSB Meeting Set for Nov. 16-18



The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will hold its next meeting November 16-18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The NOSB will collect public comments on current proposals until October 26, and will listen to oral public comments via a webinar on November 3 and at the meeting in St. Louis.

For more information, including the draft agenda, visit the fall 2016 NOSB Meeting webpage . The website will be updated with additional details over the coming months.
 
The NOSB is a federal advisory committee established by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and administered through AMS. The NOSB recommends whether substances should be allowed or prohibited in organic production, handling, and processing, and advises the Secretary of Agriculture on other aspects of the organic regulations.

 
International 
IPPC Releases Second Draft International Seed Standard 


The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) recently released a second draft  of the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) for Seed.  ASTA plans to submit comments prior to the September 30 deadline.
 
The seed industry at a global level has been advocating for a seed ISPM for years.  With the release of the second draft ISPM, ASTA is hopeful that adoption of a final standard is on the horizon.  
 
Over the last several years, many National Plant Protection Offices ( NPPOs) have been publishing new, usually more restrictive, phytosanitary import requirements for seeds.  A seed ISPM will significantly help NPPOs develop phytosanitary requirements that are more consistent and technically defensible.  Seed companies strive to comply with the phytosanitary requirements of NPPOs, but difficulties often arise when different NPPOs have different requirements for the same pest, use different seed testing methodologies (increasing chances of false positives or false negatives), or have several requirements for a given pest where one is usually sufficient.  In the area of Pest Risk Assessments (PRAs), there are sometimes cases in which different NPPOs interpret the same scientific information differently, which results in wide variations of phytosanitary requirements.
 
The IPPC is expected to release a final standard as early as the spring of 2017. The draft ISPM for Seed is available here.
ASTA Explores Opportunities in Cuba 

 

ASTA Director of International Programs & Policy Michelle Klieger participated in a fact-finding and trade mission to Cuba from July 17-21.  The trip was organized by the Independent Professional Seed Association with help from the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba.
 
During the trip, delegates met with Cuban officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, the agriculture cooperative responsible for producing and selling seed, and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment Trade Policy.  The group also met with representatives at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, visited with a local organic farmer and toured a seed farm.
While Cuba offers opportunities for the U.S. seed industry, it also presents a number of challenges.  ASTA is working with members to further analyze this market and determine the best path forward. 
Meetings & Education
Registration Now Open for ASTA's 2016 CSS! 

 

Registration is now open for ASTA's CSS 2016 & Seed Expo, held December 5-9 in Chicago, IL!   Click here  to register online.  Information on America's largest seed industry conference, including hotel blocks, schedules and offers, can be found  here . Seed Expo booth personnel can  register here.  
Fred Mohr Elected Honorary Lifetime Member of Atlantic Seed Association

Congratulations to Seedway Turf Seed Business Manager Fred Mohr who was recently elected as an honorary lifetime member of the Atlantic Seed Association.  The announcement was made  during the Atlantic Seed Association's Annual Convention held July 13 - 15 in Canandaigua, New York.
 
A 30 year employee of Seedway, Mohr is responsible for the company's 11-state turf seed business which includes purchasing of all seed and related products for the turf division, sales program development, manager of five salesmen throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

Seeds in Space!

The recent launch of SpaceX-9 marked the expansion of the Tomatosphere program into the United States.

With support from First the Seed Foundation (FTSF) and Center for the Advancement of Science In Space (CASIS), the seeds will allow educators and students across North America to conduct their own plant biology experiments in their classrooms. Using the Tomatosphere curriculum, students will compare the germination rates of two groups of seeds-spaceflown and a control group that hasn't been in space-and submit their results at the end of the experiment as a notable contribution to space science.

Learn more about the mission here .
Seeding Success
 
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