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Agrimarketing : American Seed Trade Association
SALUTE TO ASTA! FOUNDATIONTOSUPPORTEDUCATION T he American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) announced the formation of the First the Seed Foundation, officially launched at the association’s 125thAnnual Convention in June 2008. The seed industry established the foundation to provide education and outreachabout today’s vibrant seed industry and its promise for the future. The food, fiber, feed and fuel demands of an ever increasing populationmake itmore important than ever to educate the generalpublic about the story of agriculture and the role of seed, as well as attract the best and brightest minds to agricultural fields of study. BudHughes ofVerdant Partners has been named President of the board for the foundation. “The foundationwill conduct education, outreach and communica- tion on the value of crops and food produced fromseed,” said Presi- dent/CEO Andy LaVigne. “We, as the seed industry,have a great story to tell about our contributions to American agriculture, and ulti- mately, to the lives of people around theworld. The foundationwill pro- vide a platformto educate today’s world and tomorrow’swork force about the importance of the seed industry.” Today’s consumers demand healthy food, improved feed for live- stock, better fiber for their clothes and cleaner fuel for the vehicles they drive. Recent advancements in seed innovation using plant technologies have helped tomeet the growing market demand for agricultural products. The progressmade by the seed industry in the last 20 years is greater than ever; however, very few people are aware of the contributions of the industry to their everyday lives. The highest priority of the First the Seed Foundation is the education of today’s youth. Efforts of the foun- dationwill beginwith outreach about seed to grade schools through multimedia andWeb-based curricu- lumto be used in classrooms, devel- opment of an introductory video on the seed industry’s role inAmerican agriculture, the distribution of seed and informational kits to schools and youth organizations and the promo- tion of the value of quality seed and the impacts of the seed industry on every person’s lifewho eats food or uses agricultural products. Contribu- tions can bemade to the First the Seed Foundation by contacting the ASTAoffice at 703/837-8140. AM ASTAMANAGEMENTACADEMY A fter leaving aweeklongman- agement programat Purdue University last year, Jared Johnson felt like he had learned more in seven days than a year in a traditional classroom. “The intense, in-depth discussion on current keymanagement topics, like thinking strategically and improving financial performance, gaveme a strong foundation for renewed confidence in the everyday decisions Imake,” says Johnson, a Product LifecycleManagement Data Manager at Syngenta Seeds Inc. Johnson is a graduate of the American Seed TradeAssociation (ASTA)ManagementAcademy, offered annually byASTAand Purdue University’s Center for Food andAgricultural Business.He and a roomfull of his peers, led by Purdue agribusiness faculty and industry experts, explored topics such asmar- keting, business strategy,profitabil- itymanagement and organizational leadership. The 22nd annual academywill be offeredMarch 3-6, 2009, at Purdue University,West Lafayette, IN, to seed industry professionals, like Johnson. Throughout the program, instructors use their real-world knowledge to discuss the changing agribusiness environment and its implications for seed companies in the future; fundamentalmarketing strategies, aswell asmethods of seg- menting and targetingmarkets. They also challenge participants to understand howorganization leadersmake decisions and take action to ensure long-termsuccess; strategies for creating and leveraging an organization’s competitive advan- tage; and financialmanagement tools that examine a company’s prof- itability.Froma human resources standpoint, the instructors describe whatmakes employees performwell and the characteristics of leadership thatwork for relationships up, down and across an organization. “This course truly helps put together all of the pieces of the puzzle,” says Clint Pilcher, Technology DevelopmentManager, Monsanto Company. “It takes some very complex topics andmakes themsimple to understand. I highly recommend it.” Approximately 750managers, representingmore than 200 seed firmsworldwide, have graduated fromthe academy.Participating organizations have represented all segments of the seed business. “The academy is awonderful opportunity to gatherwith like- minded seed professionals fromall over theworld to learnmore about cutting-edge concepts thatwill posi- tively impact our business,” says PatMcCord,MarketingManager, GrowDirect Inc. Formore information on the acad- emy or to register, visit www.agecon. purdue.edu/cab or call Betty Jones-Bliss at 217/345-3305. AM American Seed Trade Association Supplement s AgriMarketing 21
November December 2008