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The US seed industry formally launches political action committee SeedFirstPAC

Posted by sonimanish Published on Thu, 2015-06-18 11:20

News article

Wed, 2015-06-17 (All day)

As members of the American Seed Trade Association prepare to “Storm the Hill” in Washington, D.C., this week as part of the association’s annual convention, the industry is also formally launching a non-connected political action committee, the SeedFirstPAC.

John Latham of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, who is chair of the SeedFirstPAC, says the need for such a group has been talked about for a number of years as federal legislation increasingly impacts the seed industry.

John Schoenecker of HM.CLAUSE and the current chairman of ASTA is also serving as a SeedFirstPAC board member and is very supportive of the new energy being concentrated in this area. As part of ASTA’s tradition, the chairman gets to select the conference theme and this year’s is “Make Your Voice Heard.”

One issue that the industry has been working to educate policymakers on is the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). “It’s vital that the United States ratify the treaty,” Schoenecker says. “We need to have a seat at the table and be able to help influence what’s happening with regard to the exchange of germplasm and access and benefit sharing at the international level.”

Latham also cites GMO labeling as an area that has hit home for the seed industry, the current pollinator discussions and trade with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and trade promotion authority.