The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) annual conference is in full swing in Minneapolis, MN with both Cindy and Kelly on the ground to bring you all the news. To kick off our coverage of the event Cindy spoke with President and CEO Andy LaVigne about the past year’s work and what ASTA hopes to accomplish at the conference for the future.
“We’ve got a number of issues that we’re looking at that we continue to address,” LaVigne outlines. “Plant breeding innovation, breeding techniques as they evolve, how will policy impact them, seed treatment, cover crops– a lot of things that are impacting America’s farmers we’re looking at this week from the seed perspective. How do we make sure we’re prepared to play our role as those policies develop.”
Policy develops slowly in D.C. for the moment. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is doing great stuff, LaVigne notes, but it’s frustrating because there’s not yet anyone under him to help get the work done. One of the first things to move forward when everyone’s in place is the GMO labeling law. It took a lot of effort to pass, says LaVigne, and it has a lot of industry support.
Breeding techniques will also make the list of top priorities. It’s getting a lot of attention in the mainstream media, not just with plants but also humans and animals. When the new administration is in place there will be lots of education to be done to teach staffers just what breeding techniques mean to the industry.
Learn more in this interview:Interview with Andy LaVigne, ASTA