Seed World

ASTA Announces New Leadership Team and National Award Winners


The American Seed Trade Association’s (ASTA) newly-elected officer team was announced yesterday during ASTA’s Policy & Leadership Development Conference (PLDC) in Denver, CO. Members of the FY2019-20 ASTA officer team — officially taking office on July 1 are:

  • Chair: Wayne Gale, Stokes Seed
  • First Vice Chair: John Latham, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds
  • Second Vice Chair: Brad May, BASF

A third generation seedsman, incoming Chair Wayne Gale began his career as a computer analyst and ultimately joined Stokes Seeds in 1984. He has been with Stokes Seeds — a major distributor of vegetable and flower seeds in Canada and the Northeastern United States — for more than 30 years. Gale has served several roles over the years on the ASTA Board of Directors, in addition to serving as President of the First,the Seed Foundation (FTSF). At FTSF, he has been the key driver of Tomatosphere — a hands-on school program that teaches students about plant science through experiments with “space seeds.” The popular program has engaged more than 3 million students across the U.S. and Canada since its inception in 2001. Stokes Seeds is based in Buffalo, NY, and Gale and his wife Isabel live in Fonthill, Ontario, Canada.

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to serve as Chair of ASTA, and I look forward to working with all of our members in the coming year,” says Gale. “With recent developments in world politics, climate fluctuations, and unprecedented advances in new breeding technologies, the rate of change is accelerating at an incredible pace. And just as our industry always has, I am confident that we will continue to rise up and evolve to meet the challenges of today, and tomorrow, with new and innovative solutions for farmers and consumers. This will require us to think differently than in the past 50 years, and it will require us to embrace new ideas for the path forward.”

During the conference, ASTA announced winners of its prestigious annual awards —the Distinguished Service and Honorary Member, along with a brand-new award, the Better Seed, Better Life Ambassador Award.

2019 ASTA Distinguished Service Award: ASTA’s Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual who made outstanding contributions to our industry throughout the year. The 2019 award was presented to Alan Galbreth, who has spent his entire 43-year career in the seed industry working for the Indiana Crop Improvement Association (ICIA), where he was appointed CEO In 2011. He serves on various committees within AOSA/SCST, AOSCA and ASTA, including as Chair of the former ASTA Seed Analyst Liaison Committee and more recently as Chair of the ASTA Seed Industry Relations Committee. He also represents ASTA on the international level as a liaison to the OECD Seed Schemes.

2019 ASTA Honorary Member Award: ASTA’s Honorary Member Award recognizes individuals who exemplify leadership, vision and service. This year’s award was bestowed upon two seed-industry professionals.

  • Blake Curtis, Curtis & Curtis, Inc.: In addition to serving as Senior Vice President of Management and Sales at his family seed business where he has worked since 1979, Curtis has held a number of volunteer leadership positions over the years. From 1986 to 1995, Curtis served as Caucus Chairman, then Minority Whip, and finally Minority Leader in the New Mexico State Legislature. He has been President of the New Mexico Seedsmen’s Association, a member of, and Chair of, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents, and held a variety of leadership positions with ASTA, including Chair from 2012-2013
  • John Duesing Corteva Agriscience: Duesing, whom ASTA Chair Jerry Flint described as a “road warrior and relentless advocate for ASTA and intellectual property protection for seed,” has been an active member of ASTA’s International Executive Committee for the past five years, and has been instrumental in shaping ASTA’s U.S. Plant Variety Protection (PVP) strategy and its involvement in UPOV policy and the International Seed Federation.

Better Seed, Better Life Ambassador Award: Lileen Coulloudon, Texas Foundation Seed Service, is the recipient of the first-ever ASTA award honoring an individual for exemplary advocacy on behalf of the seed industry. New to the seed industry, and a recent addition to ASTA’s Seed Ambassador Leadership Team (SALT), Coulloudon has demonstrated true leadership in advocacy by sharing the “Better Seed, Better Life” message online and within her community.

Source: ASTA