|DATE:||March 4, 2002|
|CONTACT: ||Jane Stickley|
| ||(703) 837-8140 X331|
Crowder Joins ASTA as New Chief Executive Officer
ALEXANDRIA, VA--The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) announced today that Richard T. Crowder of Naperville, Ill., will become the association's new Chief Executive Officer on April 15, 2002. He comes to ASTA with more than 30 years of experience in the food, agriculture, and international trade industries, including the seed industry.
"Dick is a very well-rounded individual who has the personality, leadership and vision to take ASTA to the next level," said Sonny Beck, chair of the ASTA Search Committee and First Vice President of ASTA. "He not only has been a successful businessman known to make things happen, but also has domestic and international trade policy experience as a former U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture."
Crowder is the former Senior Vice President, International, of DEKALB Genetics Corporation (now part of Monsanto), a worldwide leader in agricultural genetics and seed biotechnology that markets hybrid corn, sorghum and sunflower seed as well as varietal soybean and alfalfa. He managed all of DEKALB's business outside of the United States, involving more than 30 countries. He dramatically increased the profits and market share of DEKALB's international operations.
Prior to joining DeKalb in 1994, Crowder was Executive Vice President and General Manager International of meat processor Armour Swift-Eckrich, a division of ConAgra. From 1975-89, he worked at the Pillsbury Company in a series of increasingly responsible senior executive positions.
From 1989-92, Crowder served as Under Secretary of International Affairs & Commodity Programs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In this role, he was responsible for all agencies concerned with international trade and development as well as domestic farm programs. He had leadership roles in major trade negotiations and the 1990 Farm Bill.
"With the unprecedented changes in technology in agriculture in recent years, it is imperative that policy and commercialization practices keep pace with technology," Crowder said.
"ASTA has the opportunity to help in this process," he noted. "The needs of diverse stakeholders must be brought together to meet the challenges and opportunities of the seed industry in the 21st Century."
Crowder is currently an independent consultant, serves as an advisor to start-up companies, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Penford Corporation.
Crowder, who grew up on a farm in Virginia, has a B.S. and M.S. from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University.
Kincannon & Reed, an international executive search firm, assisted in the search process for ASTA's new CEO.
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 850 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.