November 30, 2016 Seed E-News
In This Issue
At A Glance
This month we're putting a spotlight on ASTA membership. How much do you know about your national association? Learn about the many ways that ASTA is working for you in our new video.
Are you heading to Chicago next week for ASTA's CSS? Be sure to download the ASTA meeting app to stay up to speed on the latest information and updates throughout the week. Once on site, join the conversation online by using the hashtag #ASTACSS and #JustGrowIt!  Also, be sure to attend the Opening General Session on Tuesday where we'll make a special announcement about a social media contest in the Seed Expo! See you next week! 

It's time to start working on those holiday wish lists! Did you know you can support First the Seed Foundation just by shopping on Amazon? Log in with Amazon Smiles  and select First the Seed Foundation as your charity, and a percentage of your sales will be donated to the foundation. Thanks in advance for your support! 

PS -- Do you know someone who would benefit from receiving Seed E-News? Have them  Sign Up!
Circuit Court Rules on County-level GMO Legislation in Hawaii

As you may remember, a vote in 2013 by the residents of Hawaii County, Hawaii banned GMOs on the island.  Several seed companies subsequently filed suit to prove that the state's counties do not have the right to regulate agriculture.  On November 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed that this is an issue of state jurisdiction.  The ruling would also affect similar legislation in Kauai and Maui counties.

In a related action, a state-funded panel of experts known as the "Joint Fact Finding Group" recommended buffer zones, pesticide-use disclosure and environmental and health testing after completing a year-long review process.  The State Legislature has appropriated $500,000 to support further monitoring and testing, but additional action is required to implement recommendations.
Oregon to See Changes in State Agriculture Leadership 

USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Alexis Taylor has been nominated to become the next Oregon Director of Agriculture Oregon. The appointment must be approved by the Oregon Senate.  If confirmed, Ms. Taylor will replace Katy Coba, who is leaving to become the state's chief operating officer, and director of the Department of Administrative Services.  She served in that position for 13 years.
Federal Court Upholds EPA Regulatory Review of Treated Seed

On November 22, a California federal court ruled in favor of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and an agriculture coalition, including ASTA and other industry and grower groups (Intervenors) in Anderson v. EPA, a lawsuit brought against EPA by a number of plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs had asked the court to order EPA to regulate seeds treated with pesticides as if the seeds were the pesticides themselves, which would have unnecessarily duplicated EPA's science-based regulatory review of the active ingredients used in treatment products.
"The court decision is welcomed by ASTA and a broad coalition of farmers and the industries that support them," said ASTA President & CEO Andy LaVigne. "The ruling will allow farmers to continue to benefit from the use of seed treatments which are a critical tool to minimize crop losses from pests and diseases in an economical and environmentally sustainable way. It's important to note that pesticides used to treat seed will continue to go through a thorough review by EPA before being approved for use as seed treatments."
Read more in AgriPulse
District Court Blocks DOL Overtime Rule

Last week, the U.S. District Court in Texas blocked the Department of Labor's (DOL) overtime rule from going into effect on December 1. The emergency motion was granted at the request of 21 states, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other association and business organizations.
The overtime rule would have effectively doubled the minimum salary level for the executive, administrative and professional exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), making millions of workers across the country eligible for overtime. As a result of the court's ruling, employers will no longer need to raise these employees' salaries to maintain their exempt status.
The U.S. District Court ruled that the regulation exceeded the authority granted to the DOL by Congress. While the decision is temporary, it delays the implementation from taking place as planned this week. The DOL will very likely appeal the injunction. 
Chile Phytosanitary Issues Successfully Resolved

In March and August of this year an international delegation led by ASTA met with the Chilean National Plant Protection Office (SAG) to discuss several proposed phytosanitary measures that could have negatively impacted seed trade with Chile for vegetable, corn and wheat seed. Since that time, ASTA has remained in touch with SAG and provided additional technical and scientific information as a follow up to those discussions. We recently received good news that these issues, with one exception, have been successfully resolved. 

First, regarding high plains virus (HPV) and wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV), there will be no changes in phytosanitary requirements for maize seed imports into Chile.
Second, in regard to WSMV and its importation requirements proposed for wheat seeds (Triticum aestivum, Triticum durum), SAG confirmed they will only request official inspection during the active growth period.
Finally, regarding phytosanitary requirements for vegetable seed pathogens, we received the following information:
  • The burdensome requirement of sampling and testing of asymptomatic plants has been eliminated. The option of testing seed lots remains an alternative;
  • For Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum in carrots, SAG will postpone phytosanitary measures for this bacterium until further information is provided.
However, regarding cucurbit seed and cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV), SAG has decided to maintain its requirement for a phytosanitary field inspection coupled with sampling and testing of asymptomatic plants "....visual field inspection and analyzed (specify diagnostic technique"), OR a seed test (previously was AND a seed test   ).
ASTA will continue to work with SAG to encourage the elimination of the requirement for sampling and testing of asymptomatic plants in future discussions with SAG.  

2017 First Quarter Seed Congresses Announced 

Registration is now open for the African Seed Association Congress and the Indian Seed Congress.

African Seed Association Congress
February 28 - March 2, 2017
King Fahd Palace Hotel
Dakar, Senegal
Details and registration:
*Early registration rates are available through January 11.
Indian Seed Congress
February 12 - 14, 2017
Novotel Kolkata Hotel & Residence
Kolkata, India
Details and registration:
Meetings & Education
SIPA to Host Technical Education Unit in Conjunction with ASTA CSS

Join the Seed Innovation & Protection Alliance (SIPA) for a technical education unit in conjunction with ASTA's CSS 2016 and Seed Expo in Chicago. Held December 6 from 8:00-11:00 a.m., the unit will focus on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. Presentation topics include:
  • the basics of enforcing IP;
  • standard operating procedures for IP enforcement;
  • audits, including royalty audits of distributors, retailers and users;
  • detection methods for varieties and traits (markers, PCR assays, kits etc); and
  • settlement options.
The unit is open to all. To reserve a spot, RSVP to to James Weatherly by December 1. Hotel information is available on the ASTA  website .
Member News 
Tom Strachota Passing

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of a longtime seed industry leader and friend of ASTA. Tom Strachota Dairyland Seed, of West Bend, Wisconsin last week of a sudden heart attack.

Tom and his family have been active members of ASTA for many, many years. The funeral service was held on Monday. Please keep Tom's family in your thoughts and prayers.

Sonny Beck Honored as Indiana's Business Leader of the Year 
Indiana Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year Sonny Beck was honored at the Chambers' annual awards ceremony earlier this month. The organization described Beck, CEO of Beck's Hybrids in Atlanta, Indiana, as an agriculture titan.
Read more about Beck in BizVoice
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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