Thursday, October 23, 2014

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Importance of Seed Associations Cannot be Overstated

oct13_gv_shawn_brookWhy do we need so many seed associations? We have local, regional, national and international associations, all requiring resources: time, money, ideas, skills and tons of initiative. But why?

I recently attended the Seed Association of the Americas meeting in Punta del Este, Uruguay. While I was there I had the opportunity to see firsthand why these associations are so critical to our industry’s success with their power and capabilities. One national association was notified that its federal government had made some rash and potentially damaging decisions for its national seed industry, which could also have far-reaching implications across the global seed industry. Within minutes, a letter had been signed by the representatives of no less than 16 national seed associations supporting the concept that this government must rethink its decision. It was an impressive display of solidarity and commitment not just to local initiatives—which are of course very important—but a vision for the betterment of the global seed industry.

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Picturesque Punta del Este in Uruguay hosted the recent Seed Association of the Americas meeting which focused on cooperation among member nations.

We work in an industry that is significantly misunderstood by the governments and societies that we serve and feed. This misunderstanding is heightened on a regular basis by disruptive forces who want to wreak havoc on existing infrastructure. We, as an industry, are under attack, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, and it is up to each of us to share the importance of seed. Our best opportunity to portray our noble industry is to remember that our message must be shared at many, many different levels to ensure that it is accurately portrayed. The initiatives that various seed associations champion are powerful statements that create room for individual company tactics. Don’t be fooled, though. Without this incredibly important work at all levels, your business would be much more difficult to operate as you face a world that not only does not support your goals, but most likely would not even understand your goals.

I look forward to seeing many of you at local, regional, national and international meetings this winter. And please, the next time these associations come asking for your support, remember that their importance cannot be overstated—your investment will indeed pay dividends in the future.

Talk soon.

P.S. Don’t worry, I won’t be jumping on any union bandwagons anytime soon.

Shawn Brook, Publisher, Seed World Magazine

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