|DATE:||September 25, 2008|
|CONTACT: ||Gretchen Flanley|
| ||(703) 837-8140|
Summit to Address Major Challenges to Future Seed Research
Chicago, IL (September 25, 2008) - Seed innovation and technology plays a vital role in meeting the growing demand for food, feed, fiber and fuel. Leaders in public and private sector seed research came together today for the first American Seed Research Summit held Sept. 25-26 in Chicago. The U.S. seed industry, universities, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Science Foundation believe that the summit will help address the various hurdles facing seed research - training and education, funding, research trends, prioritization and public-private partnerships.
The goal of the American Seed Research Summit is to bring together research leaders from industry, academia and government to identify major seed research challenges and to develop a national strategy and action plan to solve those challenges. Following the summit, the participants will continue to work together to implement the action plan and promote both public and private seed research agendas. Public-private partnerships will advance seed technology and innovation by addressing these challenges, as well as outlining the many opportunities for coordination and collaboration for the best synergies in seed research in the United States.
Sponsored by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), the American Seed Research Foundation and the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders, over 40 representatives are in attendance at the two-day summit. Today's keynote speakers from USDA's Agricultural Research Service, the University of Wisconsin, Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, and the Monsanto Company provided a snapshot of seed research today and the potential for tomorrow. Breakout sessions allowed participants to identify the key issues facing the seed industry and possible strategies to address them, which will then be discussed and prioritized by the group tomorrow. "The progress at the summit today has been more than we could have ever expected," said Andy LaVigne, ASTA president and CEO. "The seed industry and our public sector partners are eager to capture the exciting new possibilities seed research can offer America's farmers and the world. This summit will be the first step in developing jointly a way forward for both private and public sectors to address any needs and gaps facing the industry so that we can best capitalize on these great opportunities."
Founded in 1883, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), located in Alexandria, Va., is one of the oldest trade organizations in the United States. Its membership consists of about 750 companies involved in seed production and distribution, plant breeding, and related industries in North America. As an authority on plant germplasm, ASTA advocates science and policy issues of industry importance. Its mission is to enhance the development and free movement of quality seed worldwide.
The American Seed Research Foundation, (ASRF), is an extension of the activities of the former ASTA Seed Laboratory Committee, which was active during the 1940s and 1950s. In 1959, the American Seed Trade Association established ASRF as a tax exempt, scientific, benevolent, and educational organization, to raise and distribute funds for seed research. The mission of ASRF is to encourage research in plant and seed biology and to facilitate the transfer of resulting technology to benefit the seed industry, farmers and consumers on a global basis.
The mission of the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders is to promote, technically and ethically, the interests of professional U.S. plant breeders' worldwide. This includes fostering collaboration and cooperation among plant breeding and improvement organizations, encouraging public and private funding for plant breeding research and development, recognizing scientific achievement of plant breeders and supporting effective systems of intellectual property protection.
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.