b'The Solution to Ags Biggest Problems? Start with a SeedTHE FUTURE OFAmerican agriculture, as well asments for our bodies and our planetranging from the future of the American seed industry, is exception- greater nutritional values and reduced natural resource ally bright. Still, just like every other industry, it is beingconsumption to extended shelf lives and accelerated impacted by a number of complex and constantlybreeding cycles.changing factors. As a result of internalization in manyFor instance, consider just a few examples of the countries around the world, we see increasingly severepotential applications of gene editing and plant breed-food shortages, unstable governments are causinging innovation:food scarcities, and global trade policy has becomeRice: Creating a crop that is climate change-less predictable and less rules-based due to globaliza- ready: one that can tolerate flash and prolonged tion. All of these factors seriously impact Americanflooding, poor soil quality, and high temperatures, ANDY LAVIGNE farmers ability to move their products across borderswhich typically cause significant yield loss.President and CEO,and around the world.Tomatoes: Helping the crop withstand extreme American Seed TradeA key concern for the future of the U.S. seedweather conditions and produce more yield using less Association industry is uncertainty about the policy and regula- water, land, and pesticides in tomatoes grown in pro-tory development of new innovative tools. Tools liketected, indoor spaces (vertical farms).these are crucial to the seed industry, leading to theWheat: creating varieties that can outperform the development of new breeding techniques, seed treat- growth, hardiness, and nutritional composition of exist-ments, and biologicals. As governments and consum- ing varieties.ers around the world look at whether or not to acceptPotatoes: Creating varieties with late blight resist-these new tools, it is critical that the review and devel- ance, a devastating disease that can cause significant opment of policy and regulations is science-based andcrop losses. Gene editing can also extend potato shelf reasonably priced for the farmer. life.Even with these disruptions and barriers, the paceSorghum: Enhancing drought resistance, pest of innovation in plant breeding and other seed produc- resistance, and nutritional content in sorghum, which is tion and distribution tools is incredible. Innovations inan important cereal crop globally.this realm allow researchers to develop crops that canCassava: enhancing nutritional value, improving reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve crop yields,disease resistance, and reducing the presence of toxic create more water-efficient crops, develop varietalscompounds in cassave, which is a staple crop for mil-that are disease and pest-resistant, enhance the nutri- lions in tropical regions.tional value of food crops, customize crops for local The opportunities in agriculture are vast. environmental conditions, and much more. Researchers and breeders continue to explore how The development of better seed produces bettergene editing and improved breeding techniques can crops, leading to a better quality of life for all thosebe used to enhance crop traits and address various involved. This is no easy task, and as I mentionedchallenges in food production, such as increased before, success will require a collaborative and science- demand, climate change, and sustainable agriculture. based approach. While theres no silver bullet, agricul- We all know that the means to address those chal-ture innovations like gene editing are here now and canlenges that face agriculture and food production start provide real, tangible solutions. with a seed that a farmer plants. That makes what the Gene editing is akin to a molecular word proces- American seed industry does extremely important and sor. The scientific tool is used to identify, snip, andeven more exciting! Our thanks to everyone who plays make targeted changes to specific genes in a plantssuch a vital role in this critical industry.SWcells. The resulting crops may yield a host of improve-80/ SEEDWORLD.COMINTERNATIONAL EDITION 2024'