An update on The Accord

The Accord is industry-led framework that is meant to address what happens when biotech events go off patent.  Bernice Slutsky, senior vice president for Domestic and International Policy for the American Seed Trade Association says the Accord works to protect farmers and stakeholders.  “Our farmers, customers, and stakeholders can have the confidence that as these events go off patent there is a structure there to ensure those regulatory authorizations are maintained and trade is not interrupted,” she says. 

Slutsky provided an update on the Accord, which consists of two separate agreements, during ASTA’s annual meeting last week.

The GEMAA, or Generic Event Marketability and Access Agreement is completed and up and running.  “The other agreement is called the Data Use and Compensation Agreement, or the DUCA,” she says.  “DUCA is not yet complete.  It is the larger agreement and is meant to address with some of the more complicated regulatory issues associated with stacked products.”

Slutsky tells Brownfield they hope to have the DUCA completed and open for signatures by the end of the year.

AUDIO: Bernice Slutsky, ASTA (5:45mp3)

Reflecting and looking ahead with ASTA Chairmen

Blake Curtis of New Mexico based Curtis & Curtis Seed is the outgoing chairman of the American Seed Trade Association.  He says this past year of service has been a successful one.  “A number of things our past chairman have put in effect we’ve been able to accomplish and finish up this year,” he says.  “That includes the strategic plan and intellectual right protection bureau.”

AUDIO: Blake Curtis, ASTA Chairman (1:00mp3)

While those projects may be completed, Craig Newman from Westfield, Indiana of AgReliant Genetics, the incoming chairman, says there is plenty more work ahead for the organization.  “There are constantly things coming a long like patent expiration, which has been an enormous time taker and very important to the future,” he says.  “As fast as the industry is moving is as fast as the board needs to act.”

AUDIO: Craig Newman, Incoming Chairman ASTA (1:00mp3)

Newman, the newly elected chairman says he’s excited for the 2014 convention to head to Indianapolis next year.

AUDIO: Craig Newman, ASTA (1:30mp3)

The key to a happy, healthy society

Dr. Lowell Catlett is a self-described “futurist”.  The Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University says you can’t have happy and healthy people without the elements of agriculture. 

“Science has now proven if you like someone you’ve got bonding chemicals going on,” he says.  “Those bonding chemicals are also present with your plants and with your pets, and with people, too.  We’re finding that science is now reinforcing that you can’t have a happy, healthy planet without people, plants, and animals being connected.”

Which is part of the reason, he says, we’re starting to see rural elements incorporated into big cities.

 AUDIO: Lowell Catlett, 8:00mp3

Indiana native charms ASTA Welcome Reception

As the American Seed Trade Association’s 130th Annual Meeting got underway in Nashville Sunday, Syngenta, the evening’s sponsor, had one of its own entertain the crowd.  Indiana native Levi Riggs, a Syngenta seed salesman and country recording artist took the stage on the historic Grand Ole Opry.

During a break in the set – we had the chance to talk to him about farming, music, his background, and even a little singing.

The opening session is tomorrow morning (Monday) with futurist Lowell Catlett, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics at New Mexico State University.

AUDIO: Levi Riggs (3:53mp3)

130th ASTA Annual Convention underway

ASTAThe American Seed Trade kicked off their Annual meeting this weekend.  ASTA president and CEO Andy LaVigne says the next few days will be packed full of informative sessions for the industry… but there will also be a lot of discussions on industry policy.  “Some of the key things that are important to the farming community are seed treatments,” he says.  “That technology continues to improve and we want to make sure it is stewarded properly without any impacts on the environment or pollinators (as we’ve seen some attention to lately).” He says they’ll also be looking at regulatory challenges the industry could face down the road.

The House is scheduled to take up the Farm Bill debate this week, LaVigne tells Brownfield they’ll be watching.  “All of our customers, at some level, are impacted by US ag policy,” he says.  “We want to make sure there is good policy there for America’s farming community when it comes to their seed.”

The 130th ASTA Annual Convention runs through Wednesday.  Next year’s convention is in Indianapolis, IN.