March 22, 2010
Words from Andy,
In light of last week's National Ag Week, it's important to recognizethe seed industry and the vital role it plays in the success of America's agricultural productivity.
National Ag Week is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the bounty provided by agriculture and those involved in the industry.
Each of you help contribute to the industry whether it's in the laboratory, out scouting fields, shaking hands with growers and making calls, or sitting at a desk crunching numbers and planning. Today's seed industry is valued at $12 billion and helps produce the bountiful supply of goods that we consume from the food, feed and fuel we use to the clothes we wear. Together, we produce better seed to produce better crops for a better quality of life.
This brings me to the work we are doing here at the American Seed Trade Association. We are working on behalf of the seed industry and in coordination with the agricultural community to promote the benefits of quality seed and the extensive research, breeding and development that goes into producing that seed. This week, ASTA is hosting two key, joint events. First, a conservation workshop targeting seed for land restoration, rehabilitation and reclamation. Second, we are bringing in ASTA members to meet with policy makers to educate and advocate for the seed industry. Also, we're preparing to bring all sectors of the seed industry together at this year's Annual Convention to be held in San Antonio, Texas. This is a great opportunity to participate and drive ASTA policy issues that will assist the industry at all levels. On the international front, we have numerous ASTA members representing the U.S. seed industry at the International Seed Federation and Tim Johnson, Illinois Seed Foundation, is currently serving as the ISF second vice-chairman.
We all play key roles in how the seed industry is perceived by the regulatory and legislative communities at the state, federal and international levels. Our committee members volunteer a great deal of their time and resources for the betterment of the industry as a whole, and for that we are especially appreciative. I am thankful for your support of ASTA and your participation in our activities. I want to encourage you to persuade others in the industry to participate, too, and help tell our industry's story. The more we get involved, the more we realize we have a key role to play in the whole gamut of seed use in the United States.
ASTA is here to help you better meet your business needs and goals - it's YOUR association. Please don't hesitate to contact us with ideas, suggestions or just to learn more about the issues and projects we're working on. We would love to hear from you.
Thanks for all that you do!
American Seed Trade Association
President & CEO
||Andy Ross, Major Goodman & Tom Hoegemeyer spent two days on Capitol Hill working to increase funds for GEM.
GEM team storms Capitol Hill for funding increases
Three American Seed Trade Association representatives from the Corn & Sorghum Basic Research Committee traveled to Washington, DC to meet with Congressional representatives and the U.S. Department of Agriculture March 16-17 to discuss the Germplasm Enhancement of Maize (GEM) program funding.
The group briefed staff on the House and Senate side and provided valuable perspectives and justification on this key program. The group included Dr. Tom Hoegemeyer, Hoegemeyer Hybrids; Dr. Major Goodman, University of North Carolina; and Andy Ross, Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont company. Leslie Cahill, ASTA vice president for government affairs, accompanied the group and confirmed the appointment schedule for the group.
GEM is currently funded at $1,551,900 and the group requested an additional $800,000 for additional equipment and support at the Ames, Iowa and Raleigh, N.C. stations. Currently, the seed industry provides more than $500,000 of in-kind support annually for the effort, in addition to industry germplasm contributions currently valued at more than $3 billion. GEM research is aligned with crop protection and production, new breeding strategies, sustainability, nutrition and obesity control, biofuels development and adapting to climate change.
Registration for ASTA's Annual Convention now open
The American Seed Trade Association will host its 127th Annual Convention June 26-30 in San Antonio, Texas and all ASTA members are encouraged to attend.
"This is the only convention that brings together all sectors of the seed industry," said Andy LaVigne, ASTA president and CEO. "We have a great line up of speakers for the general sessions and several items on the business front that will be addressed and we want to hear your voice regarding matters that directly affect your business."
Jerry Monk and the Convention Committee have been working hard during the last year to make sure this is a meaningful meeting that drives business, networking among fellow industry leaders and opportunities to enjoy the area.
The Annual Convention will be held at newly constructed J.W. Marriott, located along the edge of beautiful Texas Hill Country. This year's theme, "Deep in the Heart of Agriculture," is sure to convey the long-standing roots of agriculture in Texas. Registration is now available online at http://www.amseed.org/mtg_2010ac_index.asp.
Annual Convention participants will influence public policy, represent U.S. interests in the global community, help advance science and research opportunities within the industry, and keep a pulse on the marketplace.
Among the many features at this year's Annual Convention is the ASTA Legacy Garden, featuring herbs and vegetables grown from members' seeds. The herbs and vegetables will be used for cooking meals served at the convention.
Follow ASTA on Facebook™ and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/amseed) for the latest updates.
Moving Seeds across International Borders to address phytosanitary issues
The International Seed Federation will host a side event, Moving Seeds Across International Borders, March 24 during the International Plant Protection Convention's meeting in Rome.
The American Seed Trade Association's Ric Dunkle, senior director of seed health and trade, will present information about the benefits of a potential international seed standard, including how it could facilitate phytosanitary and re-export certification of seed.
"The international movement of seed is central to agricultural production throughout the world," Dunkle said. "With the current structure, there is great deal of confusion and lost shipments of seed all around the world. Having an international seed standard would improve efficiency and facilitate seed movement in international trade in a safe manner."
Dunkle and others have worked to gain the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, ISF and many other seed associations.
We will continue to keep you posted on the progress and happenings of this effort.
ISF is the global platform of the seed and plant breeding industry. Its members represent 96 percent of the international seed trade.
ASTA staff member serves on CABI Global Plant Health Center
A Global Health Plant Center, to be developed by CABI, will serve as a central database for pests and diseases.
Ric Dunkle, ASTA senior director of seed health and trade, has been asked to serve on the Board of Advisors for this project to help ensure that seed interests are appropriately addressed.
CABI is a not-for-profit science-based development and information organization that provides expertise and information on agriculture and the environment.
BioDiagnostics to host FuSE group for first educational unit of 2010
The American Seed Trade Association's FuSE Committee has partnered with BioDiagnostics Inc. to offer the first educational unit of the year to FuSE members on April 21 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in River Falls, Wis.
FuSE Educational Units are one-day events hosted by ASTA member companies. A typical event will showcase the host company's business and operations and is followed by a case-study presented by a local University. The educational units complement programs offered by the ASTA Management Academy and are designed as regional opportunities to expand learning, promote networking and improve general understanding of the seed industry.
This educational unit is sponsored and hosted by BioDiagnostics Inc. and will consist of topics including seed viability, vigor and purity, trait purity, genetic purity, molecular breeding and increasing genetic gain. Participants also will have the opportunity to tour the BioDiagnostics laboratory.
BioDiagnostics, Inc. provides a full line of genetic purity testing and standard seed testing services. Registered genetic and seed technologists evaluate samples with the most precise protocols and high through-put equipment for timely and accurate results. Testing services include:
· Herbicide bioassays
· ELISA-based Bt trait purity testing
· Isozyme electrophoresis and iso-electric focused testing for inbred and hybrid purity
· Chemical analysis to confirm that chemicals meet threshold requirements
· Fatty acid profiling (FAME) to provide information about specific oil content
· DNA-based tests for molecular breeding services
· Transgenic presence analysis
BioDiagnostics is ISO 9001:2008 Certified and the first USDA accredited seed laboratory.
We are pleased to have several guest speakers at this educational unit. The featured speaker will be Dr. Rex Bernardo, professor and endowed chair on corn breeding and genetics at the University of Minnesota. BioDiagnostics speakers include: Quentin Schultz, owner and president; Craig Nelson; vice president; Denise Thiede, vice president; Benjamin Kaufman, manager of DNA Lab; DaNell Jamieson, supervisor II- Standard Seed Lab; and Venkatramana Pegadarju, research and development scientist- DNA Technologies.
Their experience and knowledge of the field are vital benefits to attending this course and participants are sure to have a lively discussion.
The morning session will be held at the Best Western Hotel and the afternoon session will at be held at the BioDiagnostics facility. Program and registration information are available on the ASTA Web site at http://www.amseed.org/mtg_fuse_events.asp.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Anna Burks, ASTA manager of international programs, at ABurks@amseed.org or 703-837-8140. We look forward to seeing you there!
Out and About
ASTA represents seed industry at 2010 Commodity Classic
ASTA staff members Pat Miller, director of government affairs; Julie Douglas, director of communications; and Anna Burks, manager of international programs, traveled to Anaheim, Calif. to promote the seed industry and interact with growers at the 2010 Commodity Classic. They had more than 200 convention attendees stop by their booth and take the seed identification quiz. Also, more than 20 youth colored agricultural scenes and brought them back for display. See if you can identify the seeds.
Hint: The end product of each of these seeds can all be put on a hamburger. (An additional hint is listed below each photo.)
Knead that dough
If you don't get this one, you'll cry
A rabbit will nibble on this
Get this one and you'll "catchup"
It's not mayonnaise or ketchup
A word that opens magic doors
You'll be in a pickle
Answers are displayed at the bottom of the email.
Nichols traveled to Africa for Annual Congress and 10th anniversary
The African Seed Trade Association's Annual Congress was held in Bamako, Mali this year and in addition to productive meetings, AFSTA celebrated their 10 year anniversary. ASTA, represented by Lisa Nichols, director of international programs, commended AFSTA, for their dedication and commitment to providing strong support and continuous opportunity to the association's members and the African agricultural industry at large with a commemorative plaque. It was also announced at the Congress that Lloyd LePage from Pioneer is now a member of the AFSTA Board
Dunkle hits the road (or tries) and talks phytosanitary issues
American Seed Trade Associations' Ric Dunkle, senior director of seed health and trade, participated in the Feb. 9-10 IPIPE workshop.
The workshop was sponsored by U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and N.C. State University. Dunkle was scheduled to attend, but adverse weather conditions kept him at home. However, he did participate via conference call.
The IPIPE database systems infrastructure is being expanded to provide for more interface with the private sector for data collection and analysis for pests and diseases of concern. This will be useful to seed companies that need phytosanitary certificates for seed exports, he explained.
At the beginning of March, Dunkle participated in a NAPPO Seed Panel meeting in Mexico City. This panel is developing a standard for seed re-export, as well as a consolidated list of phytosanitary pests of concern to NAPPO member countries. This list will be used to identify and harmonize phytosanitary import requirements, seed testing methodologies and risk reduction measures.
Following the NAPPO Seed Panel meeting, Dunkle met with the Mexican Seed Trade Association (AMSAC) in Mexico City to discuss future partnerships. These partnerships will help the Mexican and U.S. seed industries address and resolve issues of mutual concern, including phytosanitary, organic seed, GMO's and a broader communications capacity. Follow up meetings are will be scheduled to further these efforts.
Still time to register for 2010 World Seed Congress
This last period to register for the International Seed Federation's World Seed Congress opened March 12 and will run to May 14 at 4 p.m. (EST). The World Seed Congress will be held May 31-June 2 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. As the national seed association in the United States, all ASTA members are eligible to attend the ISF World Seed Congress as a delegate. With only 69 days left until the World Seed Congress, more than 800 individuals have already registered. For program details and more information, visit http://www.worldseed2010.com/.
Registration is available for $2,103 Canadian dollars online at http://www.worldseed2010.com/?sv=&category=Registration&title=index.
On-site registration is possible for $2,800 CAD, but hotel accommodations are not guaranteed.
For additional information and questions related to registration, contact the ISF secretariat at email@example.com or +41-22-365-4420.
AgriMarketing shares their observations from USDA/DOJ event
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Justice held the first workshop looking into competition within agriculture March 12 in Ankeny, Iowa. AgriMarketing was there and provides a brief synopsis of their observations at http://www.agrimarketing.com/show_story.php?id=59317.
Hybrid Seed Corn Quality Amazes Iraqi Farmers
Expansion in Al Anbar Province Planned
By Linda Habenstreit, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service
||Eric Dolbeare and Iraqi farmer nicknamed "Captain Corn," who is holding Iraqi corn in his right hand and hybrid corn in his left.
With the guidance and advice of USDA Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) agriculture advisor Eric Dolbeare and an Iraqi linguist on the Fallujah embedded (e)-PRT and assistance from the U.S. Marine Corps Battalion 1/7, Iraqi farmers in the area successfully produced, harvested and sold hybrid seed corn to the Iraqi government late last year. This was the first time since the late 1970s to early 1980s that hybrid corn was produced and sold in Al Anbar Province. While the government paid the same price for the hybrid corn as it does for corn produced from locally grown seed (about $303 per ton), the hybrid corn sold at a premium price on the local market due to its high quality. According to one farmer who sold the hybrid corn, workers at the government-run grain facility were so amazed at the corn's quality and uniformity that they dug into the truckload to ensure that poor-quality corn was not hiding below the good corn. To their surprise, the corn was consistently good.
In 2008, USDA PRT agriculture advisor Eric Dolbeare began examining grain production in Fallujah. He found that, although corn is the third most important grain crop in the area, corn produced from locally grown seed is frequently harvested as forage for cattle due to very low yields resulting from poor genetics. Without access to modern hybrid seed technology, farmers were unable to experience the gains in production seen by other farmers using the technology around the world.
In consultation with district agriculture officials, Mr. Dolbeare developed a plan for training Iraqi private sector agriculture professionals to serve as distributors of the trial hybrid seed. After obtaining funding from the U.S. Marine Corps to purchase 13,200 pounds of the hybrid seed, the e-PRT staff worked with a Middle Eastern distributor for a U.S. company that provides worldwide technical services to train the agriculture professionals, who then distributed the seed to 400 farmers.
When the hybrid corn was harvested last fall, it yielded 150 bushels per acre-five times the yield of locally grown seed corn. An Iraqi farmer nicknamed "Captain Corn" said, "I have been growing corn for 15 years and never saw corn like this in my life." His neighbors call him "Captain Corn" because he formerly served as a captain on the Iraqi police force, but now he is producing excellent corn using the hybrid seed. Coincidently, he is also a university educated agronomist.
In a study conducted in Iraq, hybrid seed produced 500 percent more yield than traditional seed corn. Applying additional fertilizer to the hybrid corn fields increased production to 600 percent of corn produced from locally grown seed.
In a private business transaction facilitated by the e-PRT staff late last year, the Middle Eastern distributor is expected to sell U.S.-based Monsanto Corporation's DeKalb-brand hybrid seed corn this summer to distributors in the Fallujah area. In addition, the Middle Eastern distributor plans to showcase the hybrid seed at demonstration plots throughout Al Anbar Province and begin advertising the hybrid seed to local farmers to facilitate a Province-wide launch of the product.
Seed Quiz Answers
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