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In this issue:
131st Annual Convention Registration and Hotel Deadline Today!
ASTA Welcomes New Director of Membership and Education Services
ASTA Participates in National Assocation of Farm Broadcasters Washington Watch
State of the States
ASTA Submits Testimony for Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing
ASTA Attends Meetings with Chinese Seed Officials

131st Annual Convention Registration and Hotel Deadline Today!  


 Today, May 9, is the last day to register and make hotel reservations for ASTA's 131st Annual Convention, June 11-14 at the J.W. Marriott in Indianapolis. Don't miss out on the opportunity to meet with industry leaders and seed experts to discuss the issues affecting the industry.

ASTA Welcomes New Director of Membership and Education Services  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On May 2, ASTA welcomed Stan Barrett as the new Director of Membership and Education Services.


Barrett has more than 20 years of experience in association membership management, including positions at the U.S. Grains Council and the Snack Food Association.


Most recently at the Industrial Research Institute, Barrett led member recruitment and retention programs for the 200-member trade association. He promoted IRI and acted as the key representative during official meetings and events. Barrett also acted as the staff liaison to the U.S. Government Federal Laboratory member committee.


As Director of Membership and Education Services, Barrett is responsible for the strategic direction and management of membership development, retention and recruitment. He will also be charged with creating new, targeted education programs for the association's membership and managing the relationships with ASTA's membership.  


Barrett, who began his career in agriculture at the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, holds a Master's degree in Agricultural Economics from Texas A&M University.

ASTA Participates in National Association of Farm Broadcasters
Washington Watch  


ASTA staff members Andy LaVigne, Jane DeMarchi and Janice Walters joined a diverse group of agriculture organizations during the National Association of Farm Broadcasters' (NAFB) Washington Watch. The annual event brings in farm broadcasters from across the nation to meet with legislators and discuss important agricultural issues.


During the meeting, ASTA staff spoke with broadcasters and showed support for intellectual property rights, the Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship and federal legislation to address the proliferation of state labeling initiatives for food and beverage products containing ingredients from GMO crops.

Andy LaVigne speaks with Jeff Nalley of Cromwell Ag Network during Washington Watch.

State of the States 


Vermont Passes GMO Labeling Bill

After numerous attempts, the Vermont governor has signed a bill creating a GMO food labeling law in the Green Mountain State. This year, 28 state bills were introduced that could, if passed, require labeling of all foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients. Vermont is the first state to pass a bill requiring labeling of products produced through genetic engineering. The act will take effect on July 1, 2016. The state does expects lawsuits over the law. Officials were so sure of a challenge that the bill created a $1.5 million legal defense fund, to be paid for with settlements won by the state and from private donations offered to the fund.


Oregon Governor's Task Force on Genetically-Engineered Agriculture

As a result of legislation passed in last year's session which pre-empted local level regulations affecting agricultural entities by state rules, the governor established a task force to examine issues between growers of GE and non-GE products, as well as around matters of consumer information and choice (including labeling). Per the state's press release, the Governor's Task Force will:  

  • Identify the main conflicts between growers of GE crops and other agricultural producers in Oregon.
  • Identify areas of agreement and disagreement related to GE and non-GE food products, including and especially related to information for consumers.
  • Identify and describe what others have done, or have proposed doing, to address these areas of conflict

Following receipt of the report, due before the end of 2014, the governor will work with legislators and other interests to determine whether additional steps should be taken to address the issues identified by the task force.


After a challenge, state lawyers determined that the new GMO task force is not subject to Oregon's public meetings law. That means the task force doesn't need to let people know when it will meet or what will be discussed, allow public attendance, or keep records.

ASTA Submits Testimony for Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing   


 On April 29, ASTA submitted comments for the Senate Appropriations Committee's Innovation through Federal Investments hearing.


ASTA's testimony stressed the importance of federal investments in agricultural research to drive innovation and feed the growing population. Our comments addressed lack of funding to the National Plant Germplasm System, continued support of the NPGS Germplasm Enhancement of Maize project and continued support of the USDA's Plant Material Centers.


A full list of all testimonies submitted can be found here.

ASTA Attends Meetings with Chinese Seed Officials 


In late April, a delegation of ASTA staff and members attended meetings in Beijing with the Ministry of Agriculture, the China National Seed Association (CSNA), National Development and Reform Commission, the China Vegetable Association, the U.S. Embassy, and ASTA member companies in China. The delegation's meetings with government officials shed light on the drafting and review process for the new Chinese Seed Law expected to be released later this year. ASTA also learned some of the changes expected in the new law. The meeting with CSNA focused on future activities the two associations can complete under the Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed in December 2012. The next event will be a shared booth at the International Seed Federation World Seed Congress in Beijing this month. Later this year, CNSA expects to send two delegations to the U.S. for the Farm Progress Show in August and ASTA's CSS in December. The meetings were viewed as productive and informative.


ASTA continues to send delegations to China twice a year to promote intellectual property rights, germplasm movement in and out of China and the importance of quality seed for farmers. The next delegation will be in September for the National Seed Trade Fair, where ASTA will organize a roundtable discussion for U.S. and Chinese companies on best management practices for IPR protection.


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.