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In this issue:
ASTA Hosts Successful Farm and Lawn Seed Conference 
ASTA members met in Kansas City November 8 - 9 for the annual Farm and Lawn Seed Conference, held in conjunction with the Western Seed Association's Annual Meeting.   The event included an exhibit hall where 17 companies hosted booths and networked with attendees. 

During Sunday's program, ASTA Lawn Seed Division meeting attendees heard from Dr. Bill Kreuser, Assistant Professor, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska, about water conservation related to turf health and from Pat Miller, Director, State Affairs, ASTA, about the impact of building codes and standards on turf.

At the highly attended cover crops session, more than 100 attendees received updates from Dr. Nick Goeser, Manager of Soil Health and Sustainability, National Corn Growers Association; Jerry Kaiser, Plant Specialist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Scott Wohltman, Cover Crop Lead, LaCrosse Seed; and Dave Robinson, Forage and Cover Crop Manager, Legacy Seeds.

The ASTA Farm Seed Division Meeting included updates from Jeff Vogel, Program Manager, Plant Protection and Weed Control, Kansas Department of Agriculture, on wheat flag smut, and from Dan B. Gardner, Vice President of Breeding Genetics, S&W Seed Company on alfalfa innovations.

Finally, at the Environment and Conservation Seed Committee meeting, Mike Tupper, Deputy Assistant Director for Resources and Planning, U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Patricia Roller, National Seed Coordinator, BLM, gave updates on implementation of the National Seed Strategy, and Dr. Val Anderson, Vice President, Society for Range Management, spoke about criteria for eligible plant materials used in rangeland settings.

Attendees at Monday's popular issues summit and breakfast received briefings from ASTA staff on the association's current policy and communications initiatives, and heard updates from partner organizations including the Society for Range Management and the Oregon Seed Association.
Learn how to Expand your Business at ASTA's CSS 2015 & Seed Expo
Are you interested in expanding your skills in selling and negotiating? Mark your calendar for the Business Workshop at ASTA's CSS 2015 !

Led by Business Consultant Dr. Stephan Liozu, Value Innoruption Advisors, this unique two-part workshop is grounded in the latest value-based selling science following several years of academic research.   The interactive session proposes several exercises to support theoretical knowledge in the areas of value-based selling, negotiation for value, and value-capture confidence in the sales force.

Limited to the first 40 participants, this opportunity includes a drawing for three potential winners to receive a free 30-minute business consultation call with speaker Stephen Liozu.   For more information and to register, click here.
Communicators Gather in Kansas City

Pam Fretwell (right), Farm Progress, interviews ASTA Chair Risa DeMasi at NAFB Trade Talk. 
Members of ASTA's Communications Committee met in Kansas City on November 9 and 10 to discuss progress on current communications initiatives and to strategize for the future. Discussion included progress on the "Better Seed, Better Life" initiative, internal communications to ASTA membership, cross-industry message alignment, plans for future media outreach events and more.

The Committee had the unique opportunity to hear from Greg Peterson, Peterson Farm Bros, about his grassroots social media campaign to educate the public about agriculture, and from Pam Fretwell, a reporter with Farm Progress, about working with the media.   Attendees also received a legislative update from Jane DeMarchi, ASTA's Vice President of
Government and Regulatory Affairs.   Check out the Peterson Bros.' brand-new video here!

Following the Summit, ASTA Chair Risa DeMasi, Andy LaVigne and Bethany Shively attended the annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) conference, November 12, where they hosted a booth at the Trade Talk expo and participated in interviews with broadcasters from across the nation on topics including innovation in plant breeding, the GMO labeling legislation, "Better Seed, Better Life" communications initiative and more.
Science Fair Judging Spots Still Available 
There's still time to volunteer as a judge at the Annual Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS) science fair on Friday, December 11, immediately following CSS 2015 & Seed Expo.

Please consider taking advantage of this excellent (and fun!) opportunity to show support for our nation's rising ag professionals.   The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and ASTA will provide transportation to and from the school.  For more information and to RSVP, contact Ann Jorss at
Go Behind the Scenes at Disney with Custom Tour Opportunities - January 2016! 
Join ASTA at the 2016 Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference to grow something magical!  Held January 30 - February 2, 2016 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California, the conference offers atte ndees the opportunity to go behind the scenes of "The Mo st Magical Place on Earth."  Experts will share the Disney philosophy on food, nutrition, horticulture and agriculture sciences through custom tour  experiences offering insights into the Disney plant selection process and buying trends. 

Planting and design tour with Adam Schwerner & Ryan Childs - Disneyland Horticulture
February 1: 6:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.
February 2: 6:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. (includes Q&A)
Theming and Storytelling tour with Julie Bush - Walt Disney Imagineering Landscape Architect
February 1: 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Visit the website for more information and to register .  
State News: "State of the States" Report 
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has announced plans to increase fees for the state's Seed Quality and Certified Seed programs by 153-percent.  Similar increases will be imposed upon other agency-managed programs, including grain, feed, poultry, gas stations and supermarkets. Protests have been filed by affected industry organizations, including the Texas Seed Trade Association (TSTA). 

According to a letter from TSTA Executive Vice President Bryan Gentsch, if the current proposed fee increases are enacted, the average TSTA seed company member would see increased costs of more than $40,000. This proposal comes on top of doubling of fees in 2011, which also saw the closing of two of the state's three seed labs.

Seventy members of the Texas House of Representatives signed on to a letter to Commissioner Miller expressing their deep concerns and asking him to consider suspending the action until the need for the fee increases can be demonstrated.  In a press release, the President of the Texas Senate asked Miller to postpone the increases until he can explain the potential impacts on stakeholders.  The Ag Commissioner has refused, citing a budget deficit for the coming year. Thus, the fee increases will go into effect December 1.
Partner News: NCCPB Announces Graduate Student Awardees
The National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders has selected three graduate students to receive its annual Graduate Student Award .  The award recognizes outstanding students in the field of basic, applied or developmental research in genetics and plant breeding.   Congratulations to the winners:
  • Craig Beil, Colorado State University
  • Benjamin Campbell, University of Minnesota
  • Benjamin Stewart-Brown, University of Georgia

Beil, Campbell and Stewart-Brown will be recognized next month at ASTA's CSS 2015 in Chicago. 

Member News: ASTA Member Companies Leading the Way  
Syngenta Scientist Inducted into USDA Hall of Heroes

Mary-Dell Chilton, Ph.D., a distinguished science fellow at Syngenta, was honored on November 5 as an inductee into the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Hall of Heroes  in Washington, D.C.  Established in September 2000, the USDA Hall of Heroes recognizes those that have had a lasting impact on agriculture and related programs.
Dr. Chilton's work with plant biotechnology led her to produce the first transgenic plant in 1983 and demonstrated that plant genomes could be altered more precisely than previously thought. Her research at Syngenta has resulted in improving the ability of plants to resist insects and disease, tolerate extreme environmental conditions and deliver other traits that enhance the value of crops.
Gro Alliance Adds New Facility in Howe, Indiana

Gro Alliance, the nation's largest, independently owned seed corn production company, recently announced the start of construction of a new seed corn conditioning, treating and packaging facility at its Howe, Indiana location. 

The nearly $6 million expansion will add 5-10 full-time jobs as well as many seasonal positions during the packaging season.  Previously, the Howe location was a drying and shelling location with the conditioning, treating and packaging completed at Gro Alliance's Cuba City, Wisconsin or Mt Pulaski, Illinois locations.  Key features of the new facility are refuge-in-bag blending, batch treating and the most current technology for color sorting, kernel cleaning and seed quality.

DuPont Announces Excellence Awards Recipients
The 2015 DuPont Excellence Awards honor employees worldwide who have made extraordinary achievements in science, engineering, sustainable growth, and marketing and sales.  The 2015 Science Excellence Award winners are:
Lavoisier Medal for Technical Achievement
  • Ronald McKinney, DuPont Fellow, Central Research & Development (Wilmington, Delaware, USA)
  • Stephen Smith, DuPont Fellow, DuPont Pioneer (Johnston, Iowa, USA) 
Bolton/Carothers Innovative Science Award  
  • Jan van Meerveld (DuPont Protection Technologies, Contern, Luxembourg)
  • Corneille Schmitz (DuPont Protection Technologies, Contern, Luxembourg)
  • Dirk Hähnlein (DuPont Protection Technologies, Contern, Luxembourg)
  • Gregory T. Dee (Central Research & Development, Wilmington, Delaware, USA)
Stephanie Kwolek Inventor Award
  • Richard Hayes (Packaging and Industrial Polymers, Orange, Texas, USA)
  • Matt Smalley (DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, Iowa, USA)
All of the 2015 DuPont Excellence Awards will be celebrated on Jan. 13, 2016, at The DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware. 

Seeding Success


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