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In this issue:
ASTA's 53rd Vegetable & Flower Seed Conference Ready to Bloom
Additional Seed Courses Offered
Join ASTA in Storming the Hill
Jim Schweigert Named President of Gro Alliance, Becoming Third Generation to Lead Copmany
ASTA Welcomes New Members

ASTA's 53rd Vegetable & Flower Seed Conference Ready to Bloom


We are just two weeks away from ASTA's fastest growing event, the 53rd Vegetable & Flower Seed Conference, gathering nearly 800 attendees from over 20 countries for four days of intense networking and educational opportunities. This year over 120 companies are offering exhibits and appointment opportunities in the Trading Room for everything from research to technology to packaging and much more.


Registration is still open between now and the conference dates, January 25 - 28, although hotel options are limited. Visit our conference website for a special welcome video from our Chairman Craig Newman of AgReliant Genetics and additional information.


Just announced is the final agenda for a special pre-conference workshop sponsored by BioDiagnostics, Inc., included complimentary with conference registration:


Genomic Tools for Breeding Programs

Sponsored by BioDiagnostics, Inc.

1:00-5:00PM Saturday, January 25


1:00-1:45 PMTitle: Improving Breeding Programs Using Genomic Tools Dr. Farhad Ghavami  (BioDiagnostics Inc., River Falls, WI)
1:45-2:30 PM

Title: SolCAP in Potato breeding: How to integrate Genomics Tools in Breeding Programs

Dr. David Douches (Michigan State University, Lansing, MI)

2:30-3:15 PM

Title: Using Genomics Techniques in Tomato Breeding

Dr. Dina St. Clair (UC-Davis, Davis, CA)

3:15-3:30 PMCoffee Break
3:30-4:15 PM

Title: Marker-aided Selection for High-value Traits in Onion

Dr. Michael Havey (USDA-ARS and University of Wisconsin, Madison)

4:15-5:00 PM

Title: QTL Mapping, Association Mapping and Marker Assisted Breeding in Lettuce

Dr. Ivan Simko (USDA-ARS, Salinas, CA)


Additional Seed Courses Offered


Seed Business 101


This one-week course, developed by the UC-Davis Seed Biotech Center (SBC) is designed to expose participants to the five functional areas of a seed company (R&D, production, operations, sales and marketing and administration). By creating a virtual seed company and case studies for each functional area, the course content is delivered in a very interactive way. The program gives new employees a broad understanding of the major aspects of a seed company's operations and cross-departmental knowledge of best practices for profitability. The course is taught by widely respected industry executives with additional help of industry experts participating as guest speakers. Since the beginning of this program in 2010, over 200 participants have completed this course. The next sessions are:


Horticultural Crops: The January 20 - 24, 2014 course reached capacity so a second session was added and will be held on January 29-February 1, 2014 in Monterey, California, USA, following the ASTA Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference.  If you are interested sign up soon since space is limited.  Registration can be found at


To note: Field Crops Sessions are scheduled for June 2 - 7, 2014, Coralville, Iowa and December 1 - 5, 2014, Chicago, Illinois.


The SBC is holding its course on Breeding with Genomics in Davis on Feb 11-13th, 2014.


This year, the center extended modules on genomic selection and a hands-on workshop introducing the Integrated Breeding Platform, software designed to manage breeding programs from population development, field testing, selection with markers and breeding databases. The course is aimed at professionals who are directly or indirectly involved in plant breeding and germplasm improvement. The course is taught by experts from both industry and academia.


For more information, visit or email Sally Mohr at

Join ASTA in Storming the Hill

Seed Advocate Logo

Do you want to relay issues that are important to you, your employees and your business to legislators on Capitol Hill? Now is your opportunity! Come to Washington, D.C. to Storm the Hill with ASTA on March 5 - 6, 2014.  


ASTA will host an issues briefing on March 5th and arrange appointments with Hill and Administration offices on March 6th.  The message we will carry to policymakers will be clear - ASTA supports sound, science-based agricultural policies and fair trade practices. Our goal is to show how agriculture and consumers are benefiting from innovation in the seed industry.


Time is running out for your chance to join your fellow ASTA members in Washington, D.C.  For more information and to register, please contact Jane DeMarchi, VP of Government & Regulatory Affairs, by Friday, January 31, 2014.  We look forward to seeing you in our nation's capital!

Jim Schweigert Named President of Gro Alliance, Becoming Third Generation to Lead Company


Jim Schweigert has been named President of Gro Alliance, the nation's largest, independent contract seed corn producer.  Schweigert served as the vice president of business development for Gro Alliance and has been a leader in improving seed quality and efficiency through the use of innovative technology and information sharing strategies. Jim takes the reigns from his father, Lou Schweigert, who has guided the company since 1977.


In the industry, Jim helped to establish the American Seed Trade Association's (ASTA) Future Seed Executives (FuSE) initiative in 2004 and has served on the ASTA board of directors as the Regional Vice President to Canada since 2009.  He was also honored as the 2009 recipient of Seed World magazine's "Future Giant" award.  He earned his bachelor's in public relations from the University of Minnesota and a master's in seed technology and business from Iowa State University.

ASTA Welcomes New Members




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 

1701 Duke Street, Suite 275
, VA  22314

(p) 703.837.8140 │ (f) 703.837.9365

ASTA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact ASTA at 703-837-8140.