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In this issue:
New Sessions and Committee Meetings at ASTA Annual Convention
ASTA Testifies Before House Appropriations Subcommittee on Effective Native Seed Use
State of the States
FuSE and Seed World Seek 2014 Future Giant Nominations
Thank President Obama for Acknowledging the Value of Biotechnology

New Sessions and Committee Meetings at ASTA Annual Convention 


 ASTA's 131st Annual Convention held June 11-14 is approaching quickly. This year's event offers ASTA members new educational opportunities and ways to get involved.


Innovation and Policy Committee

Plan to attend the newly expanded Biotechnology Committee, now called the Innovation and Policy Committee. The scope of the Innovation and Policy Committee will focus on policy issues and topics related to breeding innovation and research. The committee is scheduled for Friday, June 13 from 10:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Topics will include organization of the committee, domestic and international policies for products of new breeding techniques, development of an ASTA position paper on breeding innovation and seed Low Level Presence.  


Seed Lab Uniformity Advisory Group

This new advisory group was established to improve testing methods and strengthen laboratory testing processes with an initial emphasis on reclamation seed testing. The Lab Uniformity Advisory Group is scheduled for Wednesday, June 11 from 2:30 p.m. -4:30 p.m. For more information contact Pat Miller.


Communications Committee

The Communications Committee was formed as a part of the new Strategic Plan and will become official on July 1. During Annual Convention, the committee will discuss future objectives and outline ideas for a two-day summit this summer. The Communications Committee is scheduled for Friday, June 13 from 1:00 p.m.- 2:00 p.m. If you are interested in serving on the committee, contact Janice Walters. 


International Programs Session

Come hear about ASTA's international programs and activities from members who have previously participated in them.  We will also be soliciting feedback from members on expanding the international programming into additional markets. The International Session is scheduled for Friday, June 13 from 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Cover Crop Session

Cover Crops have increased in use over the last few years. Come hear from experts on how Indiana has become one of the states with the highest adoption rates of cover crops in the nation on Wednesday, June 11 from 8:00 a.m.-noon.

To take advantage of these great new opportunities, make sure to register for ASTA's Annual Convention, June 11-14 in Indianapolis. Registration is currently open and the early bird rate of $449 per person has been extended to May 9. After that date, the regular registration price will increase to $559 per person.


To register, click here.  

ASTA Testifies Before House Appropriations Subcommittee on Effective Native Seed Use 

 On April 10, Mark Mustoe, on behalf of the American Seed Trade Association, testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. Mustoe, co-owner and manager of Clearwater Seed Company, outlined recommendations for the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management's practices for native seed development and procurement. 


Mustoe, a member of ASTA's Environment and Conservation Seed Committee, expressed concerns that the policies and directives currently in place are not sustainable.


He testified that ASTA believes general adaptation of varieties is key for successful restoration versus placing primary importance on the geographical origin of the seed. With that, Mustoe recommended that the BLM allow more known species to be introduced, when local natives are a challenge to acquire.


ASTA's environment and conservation seed committee looks forward to working with the appropriations committee, the BLM and other key agencies in order to ensure the success of the U.S. government's restoration, reclamation and conservation programs.


Mark Mustoe, co-owner and manager of Clearwater Seed Company testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Effective Native Seed Use.


State of the States 


Connecticut Bill to Ban GE Grass Fails

Connecticut SB 443 was originally introduced to ban pesticide use on public lands. However, as it worked its way through the Senate it evolved to discard the pesticide ban and ban genetically modified grass seeds sales and manufacturing. The bill passed in the Senate 25-11, but was then voted down 103-37 in the House. Speaker Sharkey stated in response to the vote, "In a short session that is supposed to focus on jobs and the economy, I'm concerned about enacting legislation this year that looks to preemptively ban a product that doesn't yet exist without allowing the public, and experts, to weigh in." Advocates of the bill promoted it would increase the use of pesticides.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture deregulated GE grass seed in 2011. The agency issued a decision stating that it does not consider GE turf grass to be subject to federal regulations. In the decision announced by the USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service,the agency stated that it does not have the authority to regulate introduction or transportation of seed under the provisions of the Plant Protection Act.


New York State Receives Funding to Halt Invasive Species

New York State was awarded almost $790,000 from the new farm bill to prevent invasive species on agricultural lands within the state. The State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the State Integrated Pest Management program will coordinate to identify and control potential pests. Specific sectors impacted by this funding cover a number of agricultural commodities, including: grapes, apple orchards, peach orchards, forests, vegetables (including tomatoes and potatoes), and nurseries. 

FuSE and Seed World Seek 2014 Future Giant Nominations 


 ASTA's Future Seed Executives (FuSE) Committee, in partnership with Seed World magazine, seeks nominations for the 2014 Future Giants of the Seed Industry Award. Every year, this award recognizes an individual who is in the graduating year of his or her post-secondary program and plans to enter the seed industry, or is currently employed in the seed industry and has been identified as a rising leader.


Nomination forms can be found here. The deadline for submissions is May 2, 2014.

Thank President Obama for Acknowledging the Value of Biotechnology 


In March, the dedication of Dr. Norman Borlaug's statue in the U.S. Capitol brought together Democrats and Republicans alike. The statue highlighted Borlaug's accomplishments in feeding the world.


The event also prompted President Obama to give his clearest endorsement of biotechnology. On April 11, Obama wrote a letter to Borlaug's granddaughter, Julie Borlaug outlinging how pleased he was to celebrate Dr. Borlaug's achievements in feeding the world.


The letter read in part, " I share his belief that investment in enhanced biotechnology is an essential component of the solution to some of our planet's most pressing agricultural problems. Through our new regional climate hubs, we will use the sorts of technologies pioneered by your grandfather to help farmers and ranchers face the challenges ahead." To see read the letter in its entirety click here.

It is important for those in the agriculture community to express appreciation and support for the letter and for biotechnology. If you would like to thank the President for acknowledging the value of biotechnology, visit the White House website here. 


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.