John Latham, president of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, was elected as North Central Regional Vice President of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) during its 129th Annual Convention in Washington D.C. The North Central Region includes Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“We’re excited to have John serving on ASTA’s Board of Directors,” said Andy LaVigne, president and chief executive officer. “He brings a wealth of experience and a strong family history of seed industry leadership.”
As North Central Regional Vice President, John will serve as a member to the ASTA Executive Committee and Board of Directors for three years. He will serve as a liaison with state and regional associations on national legislation, reporting to ASTA Vice President of Government Affairs Leslie Cahill on state legislative matters relating to the seed industry. As regional vice president, John also will be responsible for recruiting new members in the region and representing ASTA at state and regional association meetings.
“It’s a real honor to have been nominated and elected by my peers in the seed industry for this important position. The seed industry has such an important responsibility to help feed the world and I look forward to helping to advance a great cause and association.”
Founded in 1883 and located in Alexandria, VA., ASTA is one of the most established trade organizations in the United States. Its membership consists of more than 700 companies involved in production and distribution, plant breeding and related industries around the globe. As an authority on plant germplasm, ASTA advocates science and policy important to the industry. The trade organization promotes the development of better seed to produce better crops for a better quality of life.
Latham Hi-Tech Seeds is partnering with 1040 WHO Radio again for the 2012 Crop Tour Series. Listeners of “The Big Show” can follow three Latham customers from planting through harvest, providing crop progress reports live with WHO Radio’s Bob Quinn.
The “From the Field” Tour kicked off April 18 on the farm of Latham® dealer Ryan Higgins near Grand Junction in West Central Iowa. Due to recent rain fall in the area, planting came to a halt. Instead of focusing on the act of planting and the varieties being planted, yesterday’s interviews centered around these topics:
“The tour is a great opportunity for farmers to learn about the diversity of the different genetics and traits included in Latham® brand products,” said John Latham, president, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds. “Each of the three field stops will give us a look at how Latham products and technologies adapt to different agronomic and soil conditions.”
“The purpose was for Chinese leaders to see there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the U.S. seed industry. The U.S. model is a great example of how family-owned businesses and multinational companies all play an important role in the seed industry,” says Lisa Nichols, ASTA’s director of international programs. “China is currently in the process of revising its seed law. It’s our hope that the information gained from their U.S. visit will help change China’s policies, practices, and regulations to best support a modern seed industry.”
This U.S. visit is just one example of how the ASTA has been working over the past five years with China’s key seed industry and government stakeholders. Last summer Bernice Slutsky, ASTA’s vice president of science and international affairs, traveled to Beijing where she met with individuals and agencies involved in the seed industry.
“Our goal is to be an advocate for policies that will enable our members to successfully conduct business in major markets, including China,” said Slutsky. ”Policies surrounding intellectual property rights, variety registration and technology transfer are of utmost importance. In the longer term, we would like to see China update its system from the 1978 International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) standards to comply with the UPOV revisions of 1991, which is a more robust system.”
Working together and forming agreements is about making sure companies are protected and about facilitating the movement of seed on a global level, added Slutsky. “It was an honor to host such a distinguished group of seedsmen from China,” says John Latham. “The U.S. and China are very dependent on each other in this world economy. We need to continue to find better ways to work together to feed a growing world population. This visit was a step in that process.”
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