January 13, 2016 Seed E-News
In This Issue
At A Glance
Corn Belt Seed Conference 
& ICIA-ASTA Leadership 

Registration is open for the  2016 Corn Belt Seed Conference  
and Leadership Workshop,  Feb. 2-4, 2016 in Indianapolis.

Hosted by ASTA and ICIA, the  Leadership
 will  cover best  practices for communication, conflict 
management, coaching & mentoring,  and team building within your organization. 
CSS Presentations Now Available Online

Presentations from ASTA CSS 2015 & Seed Expo are now available on the members-only website.  To access the presentations, click here and log in with your user name and password. 

We hope your 2016 is off to a great start!  In honor of the new year, ASTA is rolling out a new and improved Seed E-News format!  In this first edition of 2016, we cover the state legislative outlook, a seed treatment lawsuit filed against EPA, changes to Argentina's policy on U.S. seed exports, and more.  Enjoy!   

PS -- Do you know someone who would benefit from receiving Seed E-News? Have them Sign Up!
State Legislatures Gear up for 2016 Sessions

As state legislatures begin convening their 2016 legislative sessions, the seed industry can expect to see many of the same issues reappearing from 2015. GMO labeling bills are being filed; legislation banning neonics have come up in multiple states; agriculture related budget issues continue to be considered; and several states are looking to change noxious weed listings.

ASTA is closely watching two main issues that could impact the outcome of state GMO labeling bills. The first is a lawsuit filed against Vermont's mandatory-labeling bill that goes into effect in July. A decision is expected any day. The second is potential action by Congress to pass legislation that would preempt state GMO labeling laws. While the House has passed a bill, the Senate has addressed the issue to date.

A variety of other bills that could impact the seed industry have been introduced in various states. In Michigan, a bill would remove the requirement for the state to have a seed lab. A bill has also been filed in the state to extend cool season grass-seed labeling to 15 months. Bills to limit phosphorus fertilizers have been introduced in New York. A legislative proposal in New York would make seed purchased to grow food for personal consumption exempt from sales and use taxes. In all, ASTA is currently tracking 42 bills.

Seed Advocate Logo
Registration Now Open for ASTA's 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 preporatory 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.

This year's Storm the Hill event will be held in conjunction with the Environmental and Conservation Seed Committee meeting (March 14) and the spring Communications Summit (March 16-17). ASTA has reserved a room block at the Hyatt Place National Mall for attendees. Once you've completed the registration process, you'll receive an email confirmation with details on booking a room in the ASTA block. Contact Associate Director of Domestic and Government Affairs Virginia Houston with questions.
Groups Sue EPA over Seed Treatment Regulation

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.  

ASTA supports the federal government's current policy regarding treated seed, including EPA's longstanding "treated article exemption," which excludes seeds from being regulated as pesticides.  EPA currently regulates the pesticides used as seed treatments.  A seed may not be treated with a pesticide unless EPA has specifically approved the pesticide for use as a seed treatment on that seed. Seed is regulated by USDA and individual states. Regulating seed as a pesticide, as desired by the groups filing the lawsuit, would only serve to create an unnecessary, added burden for growers. 

Seed treatments deliver a precise application that shields seeds from the insects and diseases that exist in the soil during early developmental stages.  Seed treatments are a targeted application that reduces the environmental impact of the production process by decreasing the number of spray applications of agrichemical products, lessening exposure to non-target species, including humans, pollinators and the environment.  
Argentina Issues Revised Rule Opening U.S. Seed Exports 

Argentina recently released a revised rule recognizing the U.S. as an area free from Striga (excluding the states of North and South Carolina).  The change comes on the heels of a trip by Argentine  phytosanitary agency officials to the U.S. to learn about current Striga phytosanitary practices.  Facilitated by ASTA and APHIS, the trip afforded the Argentine officials the opportunity to meet with ASTA member companies in Iowa and Illinois, visit the USDA Striga (witchweed) eradication programs in North and South Carolina and tour the Iowa State University Seed Science Center. 

In July 2015, Argentina's phytosanitary agency changed its imported seed regulations to require a certificate stating that a field inspection was completed and the production field was "found free from Striga."  Prior to the change, the regulation allowed for seed to be imported if it was certified as coming from an "area free from Striga."  

A parasitic weed that infects corn and sorghum, Striga is present within the U.S., but can only be found in a few counties in North and South Carolina. While the revised rule excludes the states of North and South Carolina, it does allow for imports from counties within those states where Striga has never been found. According to the USDA, U.S. planting seed exports to Argentina topped $23 million in 2014. The change in Argentina's policy will keep the market open for U.S. companies.
Meetings & Education
Make Plans for ASTA's 2016 Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference

We hope you've made plans to join us for the 55th Annual Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference, Jan. 30 - Feb. 2, 2016 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California!  ASTA's fastest growing event, the conference offers unrivaled networking and educational opportunities for the global vegetable and flower seed industry.

For information on session highlights, tours, dining and other special events:
Don't Miss ASTA's Management Academy at Purdue University!

There's still time to register for the ASTA Management Academy , March 7-11 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  A partnership between ASTA and the Purdue University Center for Food and Agricultural Business, the program focuses on the practical application of general management concepts that are critical to the long-term success of seed firms.

The 2016 academy will feature keynote speaker Risa DeMasi, chair of ASTA, and co-founder, partner and director of marketing for Grassland Oregon.  DeMasi will speak about her personal management philosophy, as well as address key challenges and opportunities in the seed industry.  Joining DeMasi will be a group of expert instructors from Purdue University, Butler University, and the Center for Creative Leadership.  
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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Alexandria, VA 22314