Seed World

Quality, Integrity, Accountability and Transparency

Aaron Conaway, president of Total Seed Production, shares the values he believes define seedmanship.

Seed World (SW): No. 1 favorite TV show currently?  

Aaron Conaway (AC): There is a 3-way tie: Blue Bloods, The Good Doctor and New Amsterdam. Blue Bloods is a great reflection on working with, for and against family, but with the same common goal and yet still having time to love and reflect at Sunday family dinners. The Good Doctor & New Amsterdam are great reminders that no matter the challenge, problem or adversity there can always be a solution. 

SW: Beer or wine?

AC: Definitely wine, but more specifically any and all Cabernet Sauvignons, especially from Oakville in Napa Valley.

SW: What’s one thing you learned from your first job? 

AC: A lot of life lessons — hard work and customer service, and they have stuck with me to the present. I started working a regular job when I was 11 years old. I worked for a very tough boss, my father, in his full-service gas station. I would work after school, between sport practices, on the weekends and every summer. It was hard work diagnosing and then fixing a different problem on every vehicle, and at the same time, ensuring every customer was satisfied and willing to return to both buy fuel and have their vehicle repaired. 

SW: How do you define “Seedsmanship?”

AC: Quality, integrity, accountability and transparency in every aspect of production. It is a way of life every day at Total Seed Production, and it is one of our core values, so we never lose sight of it as an individual or as a team! Knowing that the work we’re doing here in the agriculture industry is essential to humanity, knowing the importance of each and every seed that passes through our production and treating each one with the respect it deserves. It’s all about respecting the seed and knowing how much meaning, and hard work, is behind each one.

SW: How have you seen seed production change in the last decade?

AC: New complexities have been the biggest change — Refuge-in-a-bag, Roundup hybridization system, new hybrids being cycled in production quicker, increased demand for non-GMO specifications, increased number of different treatment products to apply to the seed, use of the H2A agricultural worker program, management of empty seed boxes, multiple soybean trait platforms, etc. 

SW: Where do you see seed production going in the future?

AC: More automation and technology being used. Maybe machinery that once stood alone completing a task will be combined with other machinery to complete more than one task at a time, making a super machine. I think hybrids will keep getting better with more science being discovered, hopefully eliminating many of the diseases and pest issues we have today, making a super seed. If we could only find a way to control the weather! Although, that might be seen in the way of mass, indoor farming. This would eliminate the obstacles of what Mother Nature throws at us, and have complete growing processes happen without stepping outdoors.