ASTA Update on The Accord at Seed Expo

Cindy Zimmerman

Patents for the very first ag biotech “events,” as they are called, will be expiring and becoming “generic” in 2015. This creates opportunities for growers and the seed industry, but also creates challenges that must be addressed – and that is the purpose of “The Accord”.

American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) Vice President for Science and International Affairs Bernice Slutsky presided over an update for seed industry representatives today at the ASTA CSS 2012 & Seed Expo. “The Accord is a framework that we developed to provide a mechanism for that transition from proprietary biotech events to off-patent or generic biotech events,” Bernice explained. “The real driver for us developing the Accord was that even though these events are going off patent, they are still highly regulated worldwide.”

So, the immediate goal was to develop a framework to assure that the necessary regulatory authorizations for the events are maintained, and most importantly, that commodity trade can continue unhindered.

Bernice explains more about how the Accord was developed in cooperation with the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and what it means for farmers in this interview: Interview with Bernice Slutsky

The first part of the Accord, called the Generic Event Marketability and Access Agreement (GEMAA), was opened up for the first signatures on October 31.

John Schoenecker of vegetable seed company H.M. Clause, who is second vice chair for ASTA and part of the negotiating group for the Accord, says they have now gotten the initial signatories in place to put the GEMAA into effect and ASTA is moving forward with providing information to other interested parties. “Feedback has been good, lots of questions of course,” he said about reaction to the Accord from ASTA membership. “Their seed association has worked very hard in their interests to craft an agreement that will give opportunities to the industry and fulfill the industry’s responsibility for stewardship.” He encourages companies, farmers, organizations and other interested parties to find out more about the Accord and how it impacts them. A website has been developed for that purpose –

Listen to my interview with John here: Interview with John Schoenecker
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