June 15, 2016 Seed E-News
In This Issue
At A Glance
Membership Update Forms Due

In May, the Principle Representative of each ASTA member company should have received a letter from President & CEO Andy LaVigne requesting organization and committee updates for company participants in ASTA activities.  Completed forms were due June 10.  If your company has not yet returned the form to ASTA, please do so as soon as possible so we can ensure your information is up to date in our database.  For questions, contact Director of Administrative Services Barbara Surian.

ICYMI: Washington Post 

A new study from the 
International Center for 
Tropical Agriculture 
(CIAT) highlights the interconnected nature of our global food system. The data further underscores the importance of ratifying the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food & Agriculture. 

Read more in the June 8 Washington Post article, "How the world's most popular foods have traveled all over the planet."
Join us in Sharing the Positive Story of Seed Improvement!  
 
You may have seen a recent negative video campaign spreading misinformation about the seed industry. Join us in telling the TRUTH about our industry and its integral role in our daily lives by posting positive messages online with the hashtag #BetterSeedBetterLife.  Feel free to use ASTA's template social media posts from our Better Seed, Better Life initiative found here

You may have seen a recent negative video campaign spreading misinformation about the seed industry. Join us in telling the TRUTH about our industry and its integral role in our daily lives by posting positive messages online with the hashtag #BetterSeedBetterLife.  Feel free to use ASTA's template social media posts from our Better Seed, Better Life initiative found here

Enjoy!   

PS -- Do you know someone who would benefit from receiving Seed E-News? Have them Sign Up!
State
Illinois Legislature Passes Seed Library Bill

A bill introduced in the Illinois legislature was designed to authorize seed libraries within the state.  SB 3130 included language specifying that the law "would not apply to the distribution of noncommercial, interpersonal seed sharing activities." However, there were concerns that this language could have been interpreted too broadly, thereby including activities outside the intent of the bill.  Therefore, the bill was passed in the Senate with the sponsor's agreement to amend the language in the House to prevent unintended consequences. 
 
The Illinois Seed Trade Association, the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association and the Illinois Farm Bureau, worked with the sponsor, the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, and the Illinois Department of Agriculture for an amendment in the House.  The amendment addressed the intellectual property, noxious weeds, record-keeping aspects, and redefined the definitions to ensure the exemptions only applied to "seed libraries" and "seed swap events."  With those amendments, the bill passed the House and was concurred by the Senate.  At press time, it is awaiting action from the Governor.
Federal


Congress is Nearing Deadline on GMO Labeling Solution
 

Congress only has a few days left to prevent Vermont's mandate on labeling genetically engineered foods from becoming the de facto standard for the entire nation.  Unless an agreement is reached before July 1, Vermont's law will take effect, disrupting America's food supply chain, disparaging safe technology and increasing costs for consumers, farmers and manufacturers. 

As of press time, talks between Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow are ongoing, but they have yet to reach a compromise that is workable for the industry and can get the necessary votes to move the bill forward.  A failure to act is an endorsement of Vermont's law, and sets the stage for a patchwork of confusing state labeling mandates across the nation. Even if the Senate finds a compromise and passes it, that legislation must also pass through the House before heading to the President. With the House in recess the last week of June, the Senate effectively is left with only a handful of days to get this critical legislation passed.

In order to prepare for Vermont's mandate, companies have already been forced to make changes that could have a dramatic impact on our nation's agricultural economy. It's likely we'll see more announcements from companies that are reformulating their products and moving away from using ingredients derived from GMOs.  As a member of the Coalition for a Safe and Affordable Food Supply, ASTA is continuing to be closely engaged in this issue, putting pressure on Congress to take action before it's too late!
National Organic Standard's Board Nominee


ASTA has nominated Maury Johnson, founder of Blue River Organic Seed, for the open handler position on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).  Mr. Johnson has a long history in the organic seed industry, and currently serves on ASTA's Organic Seed Committee.  After completing a feasibility study for NC+ Hybrids in 1999, he went on to develop NC+ Organics.  When NC+ Hybrids was sold in 2005, he founded Blue River Organic Seed.
 
Mr. Johnson has broad industry support for his nomination and ASTA is confident that his expertise will be extremely valuable as the NOSB continues to address seed purity and excluded methods within the organic program. 
 
International 
ISF Publishes FAQs on Plant Breeding Innovation

The International Seed Federation (ISF) recently published a set of Plant Breeding Innovation FAQs . These FAQs are the first part of a Plant Breeding Innovation Toolkit that is in development. The next step is to develop talking points to assist organizations to speak publicly about the different aspects of innovation in plant breeding.  ASTA will share additional resources as we receive them. 
Meetings & Education
ASTA Annual Convention Kicks off in Less Than a Week! 


We hope to see you in Portland, Oregon, June 18-22, for ASTA's 133rd and OSA's 47th Annual Convention!
 
Recently added to the lineup for the Opening General Session is Debbie Wells, program manager for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)--which manages NASA's International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory.  Currently, Wells is leading collaboration with the First the Seed Foundation to expand the Tomatosphere education program within the U.S.  She will provide an overview of the CASIS strategy for Tomatosphere, and a brief introduction to the use of microgravity for agriculture applications. 

If you're a student, be sure to check out the Student Preparation Workshop on Tuesday morning. Led by seed industry experts, the session will cover resume-writing, interview tips, and best practices for starting a career in the seed industry.  Whether you're seeking a summer internship or a fulltime career, this presentation will give you the tools you need to start your career on the right track!
 
Click here  for other Convention highlights you won't want to miss!  For the full schedule of sessions and special events, visit website !   Can't be there in person?  Keep up with all the convention news by following @Better_Seed on Twitter. Follow us on Twitter
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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