Seed industry advocates will “Storm the Hill” as part of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) Legislative Fly-in, Wednesday, April 5, in Washington, D.C. “Storm the Hill” is a unique opportunity for ASTA members representing every crop and every part of the nation to join together with a unified voice on Capitol Hill.
“From international trade, to plant breeding innovation, Farm Bill and funding for critical research and conservation programs, Congress is debating serious issues that will affect the seed industry’s ability to continue meeting the evolving needs of farmers, consumers, and the environment in the years ahead,” said ASTA President & CEO Andrew LaVigne. “So many issues impact the seed industry, and the seed industry impacts virtually every aspect of our daily life. We’re excited to bring our diverse industry to Capitol Hill to share our unified priorities for ensuring better seed for a better quality of life.”
ASTA’s 2017 legislative priorities include:
- TRADE: ASTA supports a strong trade agenda. Eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, promoting stronger intellectual property rights and harmonizing regulations are ASTA’s top priorities for expanding global trade.
- FUNDING FOR KEY USDA PROGRAMS: ASTA supports funding for critical USDA science and research programs —
- Increased funding for the USDA-Agricultural Research Service National Plant Germplasm System to better fulfill its mission.
- Increased funding of the Germplasm Enhancement of Maize program from $1.6 million to $2.7 million.
- Full funding of the USDA-NRCS Plant Material Centers at $9 million.
- FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT: ASTA urges the new administration and Congress to review the implementation of FSMA to ensure it takes a risk-based approach to regulation.
- INNOVATION IN PLANT BREEDING: ASTA encourages FDA, USDA and EPA to closely coordinate their activities to ensure a consistent policy approach regarding plant breeding, across the U.S. government, and for the administration to engage with other countries to secure as much alignment in policy approaches as possible.
- DOI-BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Further cooperation between ASTA members and BLM will enable the seed industry to continue its vital role in supplying seed to BLM for post fire rehabilitation and reclamation projects.