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Agrimarketing : American Seed Trade Association
SALUTE TO ASTA! THEVOICEOFTHESEEDINDUSTRY B by Gretchen Flanley,VP,Communications, ASTA uilding on the foundation of 125 years, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) continues to provide a forum, a network and a voice for the seed industry.As seed companies continue to evolve and address the issues facingAmerican agriculture,ASTAunites the indus- try, tackles the challenges of today and leads themembership into the future. ASTAmembers are a driving force, deeply engaged in developing goals for the association.Active membership allows for everyone to have a stake in the game and allows us to define our industry before it is defined for us. Nothing ismore important to the success of an organization than a clear sense of direction, clearly defined priorities and a plan for achieving strategic goals. Toensure ASTA’s continued ability to serve the needs of itsmembers, the Executive Committee initiated a strategic plan- ning process, resulting in a strategic plan supported by theASTAstaff. Strategic plans often “collect dust,” but atASTA, the Executive Commit- tee devotes time at each of itsmeet- ings to reviewthe strategic issues and priorities. In 2005, theASTABoard of Direc- tors adopted the strategic planwhich highlighted ten priorities. These goals have become integrated into the every day operations ofASTAand the seed industry as awhole.ASTA, representing this industry, is nowin a position to raise the bar higher than a strategic plan of the association and to lead itsmembers in reaffirming their commitment to agriculture and the innovation in seed needed to sus- tain theworld’s people. YOURMISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT… Famous Turkish born Canadian Photographer and Jounalist Yousuf Karsh had the opportunity tomeet many famous people through out his career. He observed, “I have found that great people do have in common an immense belief in themselves and in theirmission. They also have great determination aswell as an ability towork hard.At the cru- cialmoment of decision, they drawon their accumulated wisdom.Above all, they have integrity.” ASTA’smis- sion is to be an effective voice of action in allmat- ters concerning development, marketing and freemovement of seeds, associated products and ser- vices throughout theworldwith a minimumnumber of regulations. ASTApromotes the development of a better seed to produce better crops for a better quality of life. The ten strategic goals outlined in ASTA’s strategic plan are geared to meet the objectives of theAssocia- tion’smission statement. Together, they guide the efforts put forth by its members and staff.With the integrity of the seed industry and the talented peoplewho are a part of it,ASTAis committed to these goals,working hard for itsmembers, stakeholders and ultimately to the consumers. Looking back over the 125th year of the association,ASTAhas advanced the agenda of theAmeri- can seed industry,charting the direc- tion ofAmerican agriculture through seed quality, technology and innova- tion.Here are a fewof the highlights among each strategic goal: LEADERSHIP Provide effective leadership on global, in addition to domestic, agricultural, trade and other policy issues affecting the seed industry. ASTAreorganized and invigorated the International Executive Commit- tee (IEC) tomore effectively provide leadership globally in agriculture, trade and other policy issues affect- ing the seed industry.The IEC sets 10 AgriMarketing s American Seed Trade Association Supplement ASTA’sGuide to Quality SeedManagement Practices is offered in an interactive format on theWeb atwww.amseed.org. international priorities and directs ASTA’s activities in support of these goals. Five countries have been iden- tified as having high interest (Argentina, Brazil, China,Mexico and India). Specific issues addressed by ASTA’s international programs include protection of intellectual property,phytosanitary issues and adventitious presence in the context of biotech seed. Extremely beneficial toASTA’s efforts is the involvement ofmember volunteerswith international efforts. “CountryWorkingGroups” have recently been formed for each of the prioritymarkets.Members provide the ground truthing and insight into themany issues that occur in each country.ASTAcontinues to recruit member volunteers to further enhance these very important programs. POLICY Provide effective leadership on domestic policy and funding issues important to the US seed industry, in general, and to ASTAmembers in particular. When seed is being discussed,ASTA is there.Whether it is on CapitolHill or in the halls of USDA,ASTAis well positioned to familiarize policy makers and Congressionalmembers on seed industry issues and priori- ties. Topics range, but focus on intel-
November December 2008