February 18, 2016 Seed E-News
In This Issue
At A Glance
ASTA Annual Report Now Available

ASTA's FY 2014-15 annual report is now available online.  View the report for a detailed look at ASTA's efforts on behalf of the seed industry - from communications and state and federal advocacy, to facilitating the movement of seed internationally.
Connect with us on LinkedIn!

ASTA is now on LinkedIn! Connect with us to interact with seed professionals from across the globe and stay informed on the latest seed business news and opportunities.
Stay up to date on ASTA News! 

Did you know ASTA offers quarterly newsletters covering the latest domestic and international issues impacting the seed industry? To sign up for the "PoliSeeds" domestic policy newsletter, contact Virginia Houston.  Contact Michelle Klieger to sign up for the international newsletter.  You must be an ASTA member to receive these publications. 
Solanaceae Conference

Registration is open for the 13th Solanaceae Conference, "SolGenomics: Advances to Applications," September 12-16, 2016 at the University of California Davis.  This international conference brings together over 300 scientists and students to discuss the latest advances in genomics and applications for understanding and producing solanaceous plants and crops.

For more information, including abstract submission forms, visit the conference website.

We have lots to cover in the latest edition of Seed E-News!  Read below for information on USDA's recent Notice of Intent in support of new biotechnology regulations,  a recap of the Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference at Disneyland, lots of great industry educational opportunities, and much more!  

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GMO Labeling Preemption

The labeling of foods that contain ingredients from GMO crops continues to be a hot-button issue in Congress.  One of the main objectives of the agriculture and food industry is to pass legislation that would establish federal preemption over any state GMO labeling laws.  A patchwork of food labeling laws that differ between states would create a complicated compliance situation for anyone involved in the food and agriculture industry.  

In the same way that Congress is working on a legislative solution to preempt state labeling laws, 21 states have passed their own laws preempting any local labeling laws within their states.  For the current state legislative sessions, six states either have introduced or plan to introduce legislation for state preemption over local seed laws. 
New Hampshire GMO Labeling Bill Fails

A proposed bill in the state of New Hampshire (HB 1674) would have required labeling of foods produced from GMO crops was defeated by the State House on February 10, with an almost two-to-one vote.  Many of those voting in opposition expressed the opinion that labeling laws should be the responsibility of the federal government, and that passing this type of law at the state level would result in costly litigation battles and create unfunded mandates for agencies and municipalities.

USDA Publishes Notice of Intent in Support of New Biotechnology Regulations

On February 5, USDA published for public comment in the Federal Register a  Notice of Intent (NOI) as a first step in its process of revising biotechnology regulations.  The next step in the process is the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement in support of the revised biotechnology regulations.  The NOI proposes a new "working" definition of "biotechnology" and outlines four proposed regulatory alternatives.  The proposed biotechnology definition in the NOI is very broad and would include most of the newer innovations in plant breeding.  ASTA, through its Innovation in Plant Breeding Working Group, is assessing the NOI, the proposed working definition and the four proposed alternatives and will be submitting comments to USDA on behalf of the seed industry. 

The NOI is the first step in a lengthy process.  ASTA is, and will continue to be, closely engaged with USDA decision-makers throughout the process to ensure the industry's perspectives and concerns are taken into full consideration.  ASTA is supportive of USDA's efforts to take a hard look at the regulations, to ensure they are up-to-date with the best available science, are predictable and ultimately implementable.  These regulatory revisions will have an impact on farmers' access to needed technologies and the global movement of seed, and the products grown from those seeds, for years to come.
Left to right:  Val Anderson (moderator), David Gagner (NFWF), Dave Owens (Dow), Diane Wilson (Applewood)
ASTA Hosts Session for Ranchers on Pollinators and Native Seed Production

ASTA co-hosted an educational session on pollinators and native seed production at the recent  Society for Range Management Convention in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Led by ASTA's Environmental and Conservation Seed Committee, the session focused on communication and collaboration between the federal government, seed companies and private landowners.

During the first half of the program, Diane Wilson, Applewood Seed, discussed issues surrounding seed production for pollinator programs.  Wilson explained that the industry produces a wide variety of seed for all kinds of pollinators, and is helping to support the goals of the President's five-year pollinator program.  Dave Owens, Dow AgroSciences, outlined the industry and natural-area manager partnerships for plant materials management.  Dave Gagner, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, underscored the importance of public-private partnerships for pollinator programs to promote sustainable lands, species and businesses.

The second half of the program focused on native seed production and sustainability.   Dr. Tom Jones, Forage & Range Research Lab, Utah State University, discussed new innovations and technologies to enhance performance, improve seed production, and increase genetic diversity of plant materials.  Scott Uhrig, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), profiled successful BLM seeding projects, stressing that every tool in the toolbox is necessary to prevent future forest fires.  Dustin Terrell, Sharp Brothers Seed Co., discussed "myths and realities of the seed industry," including the challenge of moving a product from research, to production, to buyer, given constantly-evolving market trends. 
Register for International Seed Meetings - ISF & AFSTA Congresses

Registration is now open for the 2016 International Seed Federation (ISF) World Congress, May 15-18, 2016 in Punta del Este, Uruguay.  The event provides unique business, networking and social opportunities.  

Registration is also open for the 16th African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) Annual Congress, March 1-3, 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information and to register visit the website
Issues with Seed Shipments?

If you experience issues with seed shipments that get stopped or held up at customs, let ASTA know!  ASTA was recently able to assist a vegetable seed company after the USDA issued an Emergency Action Notification, requiring the company's shipment to be destroyed or re-exported.  ASTA worked with APHIS to quickly review the risk of the shipment and to establish a protocol to clean and recondition the seed.

ASTA has a strong working relationship with APHIS and is available to help members in similar situations.  Contact Ric Dunkle.
Meetings & Education
ASTA Wraps up Successful Vegetable & Flower Seed Conference

Thank you to everyone who attended ASTA's Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference, January 30 - February 3 at Disneyland!  This year's event had the largest turnout in its 55-year history -- with more than 870 registrants and 127 companies participating in the Trading Room. 
Keynote speaker Adam Schwerner discussed the intricate planning process involved in Disney's architectural landscape designs, while Don Goodwin gave an update on the hot trends in the produce industry.  According to Goodwin, Millennials are driving many of the new trends in the industry, including a heightened focus on organic and natural products, healthy and fresh eating, direct-to-consumer shopping and urban farming.

During the Welcome Reception, the famous teen cooking-duo, the Twin Chefs, demonstrated their passion for teaching children about healthy eating with a cooking demo focusing on new and emerging food trends.  On a custom agriculture tour, Disney Imagineer Julie Bush captured the story of how Disney's plants and landscaping help bring the park's stories to life.

Disney is a strong promoter and key customer of the seed industry, with 90-percent of the fresh fruits and vegetable products served at its resorts coming from ASTA member company seeds!  We look forward to seeing you next year for part-two of our Disney series at Walt Disney World in Orlando, January 28- 31!
ASTA Participates in FarmNext National Summit

ASTA President and CEO Andrew LaVigne joined more than 60 young farmers, policymakers and industry thought-leaders from across the nation for the FarmNext Summit February 3 in Washington, D.C.  The diverse, multi-generational Summit focused on the future of farming and the involvement of young people within the industry.

"The seed industry is passionate about reaching out to the next generation of ag innovators," said LaVigne.  "As seed professionals, innovation is at the heart of what we do.   It's critical that we continue to build upon the progress of the generations of hard-working agriculture professionals who have come before us, to build a stronger future for tomorrow."

A White Paper released at the Summit summarizes key findings from the group's first-ever listening tour which took place in the summer and fall of 2015.  Sponsored by ASTA, CHS, INC., DuPont Pioneer, FarmLink and Kit Bond Strategies, FarmNext was launched in 2015 to help elevate the voice of young farmers on a national scale at a time when farming, technology, and the source of our food is increasingly in the spotlight.  The group is a joint initiative between YI Advisors and Global Prairie.  To learn more, visit .
Don't Miss ASTA's Management Academy!

There's still time to register for the ASTA Management Academy , March 7-11 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  

Expert faculty from Purdue University's Center for Food and Agricultural Business will focus on the practical applications of management concepts that are critical to the longevity of your seed business.  Surrounded by peers, attendees will discuss the key drivers of change in the industry and learn the concepts and tools they need to be successful leaders.
Seating is limited, so register today !  Contact Aissa Good with any questions at 765-496-3884 .

Seeding Success
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