RFA Ethanol Podcast

ASTA Honors Industry Pioneers

Cindy Zimmerman

The American Seed Trade Association honored industry pioneers during the 2024 ASTA Leadership Summit this week in Nashville, Tennessee. Awardees were recognized in the following categories: Heritage, Distinguished Service, Lifetime Honorary Member, and Excellence in Science.

The Heritage Award serves to preserve and build seed industry history by honoring and recognizing individuals who have significantly impacted the American seed industry and ASTA. Dr. Harold Loden and John Gerard are this year’s Heritage Award awardees.

Dr. Loden (1918-2001) served as President of ASTA in 1968 and was named an Honorary Life Member in 1971, then served ASTA as Executive Vice President from 1973-1983.

Gerard, with Seyler Seed of Plymouth, Indiana, started VR Seeds, one of the first independent soybean companies in the U.S., and later sold to AgriGenetics. He then started JGL, Inc., an elite soybean and licensing company, Seed Genetics, Inc, a corn licensing company, and JoMar Seeds, a wheat licensing company.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the association and the seed industry. This year’s honoree is Dr. Stephanie Bloem, who has served as Executive Director of the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) since July 2015.

ASTA’s Lifetime Honorary Member Award is one of the highest awards bestowed by the association and is in recognition of untiring service to ASTA, as well as the seed industry. This year’s awardees are Norm Poppe of Applewood Seed Company and Dr. Jim Radtke of Cibus.

Poppe is the CEO of Applewood Seed Company, a leader in supplying high quality conservation, pollinator, and wildflower varieties, supporting conservation efforts across the country. Radtke is the Senior Vice President of Product Development at Cibus and served as ASTA’s Innovation Policy Committee Chair.

Dr. Ric Dunkle received the 2024 Excellence in Science from the Seed Science Foundation which recognizes the outstanding achievement by a public or private researcher whose accomplishments have had an impact in the areas of Breeding Systems, Seed Quality, Seed Production and Technology, Seed Health and Pathology, Digital Agriculture, or Seed Applied Technology.

Dunkle spent 35 years with state and federal government, including serving as the Deputy Administrator of APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine, where he oversaw USDA’s plant regulatory and trade programs related to phytosanitary issues. He served as ASTA’s Senior Director of Seed Health and Trade from 2008 until his retirement in 2023.

Congrats to all!

AgWired Precision, ASTA, Seed