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ASTA Testifies before House Ag Committee on “The Next Farm Bill: Technology & Innovation in Specialty Crops”qrcode

Jul. 13, 2017

Favorites Print Jul. 13, 2017
American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) President & CEO Andrew W. LaVigne testified today at a U.S. House Agriculture Committee hearing on the Farm Bill and innovation in specialty crops. LaVigne stressed the importance of promoting a climate of innovation through the funding of critical Farm Bill research programs, and the enactment of clear and consistent, science-based policies across the government.

“As our knowledge of plant genetics and biology has grown over time, scientists and plant breeders have gained access to new information, tools, technologies and strategies to more efficiently address farmer and environmental challenges, and to meet ever-changing consumer demand,” said LaVigne. “New and evolving innovations like gene editing represent exciting opportunities for agriculture. However, if policies toward breeding methods are overly burdensome, then smaller, regional companies and the public sector will likely be precluded from fully utilizing these innovations. In addition to domestic efforts, it’s important that the U.S. Government also develops an international engagement strategy to communicate with our trading partners to prevent trade barriers due to non-harmonized regulations.”

The U.S. vegetable seed market is valued at approximately $860 million annually. Federally funded U.S. agricultural research has played an important role in expanding our understanding of plant genetics leading to new crop varieties. Partnerships between the public and private sector help ensure that Farm Bill research dollars continue to result in new products that benefit farmers, consumers and the environment. The new Farm Bill should maintain robust and long-term funding for research to foster the growth of a strong 21st century farming economy.

To learn more about plant breeding innovation, including new methods like gene editing, visit and watch ASTA’s NEW VIDEO on the evolution, and future, of plant breeding. Read LaVigne’s full testimony here.

Founded in 1883, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) represents over 700 companies involved in seed production, plant breeding and related industries in North America. ASTA is an effective voice of action in all matters concerning the development, marketing and movement of seed, associated products and services throughout the world. ASTA's broad membership offers varieties from alfalfa to zucchini and all production types including conventional, organic and biotech. We promote the development of better seed to produce better crops for a better quality of life.

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