Seed World

Are you Booked for ASTA’s Biggest Seed Event of the Year? The Field Crop Seed Convention 

A new (warmer!) location isn’t the only exciting thing about this year’s Field Crop Seed Convention, coming up December 5-8 in Orlando, Florida.

The North American seed industry’s biggest event of the year and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA)’s headline conference is coming up December 5 to 8, 2023. Formerly the CSS (Corn, Sorghum and Soybean) and Seed Expo, the conference is renamed the Field Crop Seed Convention for 2023. The name change is not the only big shift this year: after 46 years at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, the Conference is making a move to a larger venue in sunny Orlando, Florida. Planning to attend? Seed World sat down with ASTA’s Jennifer Crouse, Senior Director of Meetings and Services, to get a run-down on why we should all be writing ORLANDO in capital letters in our December calendars. 

Why the move? 

JC: During COVID, we did a lot of research on what our members needed. For the first time, we got data that showed a tipping in favor of moving [from Chicago]. We did some focus group conversations with our key stakeholders, our top sponsors, our exhibitor community and basically all things seemed to point in favor of moving. The top destination that members wanted was Orlando. We went down and visited our Chicago venue’s sister hotel, which is one of only a handful of properties that can receive our size of event while keeping it under one roof. The Orlando property has such large but also very easily laid out space that it basically allows us to take all the different elements that make up this event — from the large exhibit tradeshow floor to the large sessions to about 65 to 70 small private meeting rooms — and co-locate them in one community space that’s also filled with sunshine and palm trees right outside. It’ll really facilitate connections between all the different aspects of our attendance.

What’s new, what’s big, what’s exciting in terms of programming? 

A lot of things that people loved about the event in Chicago will be carried forward, but we’re also excited about some new things we’re bringing this year.

We going to have a general session each morning of the three main mornings (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday). One thing that everyone looks forward to every year is the annual Dan Basse Agricultural Economic Forecast, which is usually the first general session of the week. His session be will on the Wednesday morning immediately followed by another very popular programmatic element: the Majors Panel. 

The Majors Panel is a panel discussion amongst the four largest companies in the seed industry. They’ll be giving some immediate feedback on some of the things that Dan will have just forecast for the markets. Dan will serve as the moderator of that discussion. It’s going to be a real blockbuster morning on the Wednesday morning. 

On Thursday and Friday, we’ll have two more general sessions: Thursday on climate-smart ag partnerships, Friday on the future of the U.S. seed customer. We’re also excited that our general session ballroom will be enhanced with a new Large Equipment Area featuring larger machines than we’ve ever had in the show before. 

The general session each day will be followed by a couple of niche sessions. Those sessions end by 3 pm each day so that conference attendees have time to go to some of our expo showcase events on the expo floor, where we’ll be featuring ag tech innovations and production innovations. Or, they can do some of the networking events going on around the property. Of course, we’ll be in Orlando, so we’ll have a ticket store for discounted theme park tickets and lots of opportunities for companies to take their customers out to all kinds of fun experiences. We’ve really streamlined the session schedule to free up networking time.

We’ll end on Friday with a charity event. On our last morning together, we’ll be doing a volunteer event that benefits an organization called Give Kids the World. We’ll be putting together welcome kits for terminally ill children who travel to Orlando via the Make-a-Wish Foundation. It’s such a nice way to bring everyone together to help a really great organization. Our charity effort is open to attendees and any family members or anyone travelling with the attendees. We’ll wrap that up by noon.

For anyone who still needs a push to register, why should people attend ASTA’s Field Crop Seed Convention? 

This is America’s largest seed industry conference. There’s nothing else like it. It’s 2,500 people from over 35 countries: you can do so much global networking all in one place that you really can’t emulate any other way. And this year with the switch to Orlando, it’ll be so much easier to wrap your hands around where everything is, so it’ll be easy to find people and know where you’re going. 

What are you hearing from Exhibitors? 

Everyone is happy about the move. Orlando in general is a lot less expensive than Chicago. The costs of exhibit setup, food and beverage, travel to the airport, parking — you name it, it’s generally less expensive. We did a case study of our largest exhibitor last year in terms of what they would have spent in Chicago versus Orlando and it was 40% less of a spend for that exhibitor to be in Orlando. That’s another big benefit to making the move.

What are you expecting in terms of attendance this year? 

We’re feeling really good. The numbers are looking excellent and bigger than they’ve looked in the past four years. We’re hoping that pacing stays on track until the event. We’re hearing so much excitement from our members. I really think it’s going to be the biggest year we’ve had in a long time.

Editor’s note: Whether you attend ASTA’s Field Crop Seed Convention or wish you were there, Seed World U.S. will keep you in the loop each day of the convention. On ASTA’s behalf, we will send out a daily preview e-newsletter to our Seed World e-newsletter subscribers from Tuesday to Friday, December 5-8. Each of those evenings, we’ll send out our own daily recap newsletter featuring the main events and key takeaways of the day. For anyone who’s not already on our newsletter list, visit and click on the newsletter subscribe button. Our newsletters offer the best value in the seed business: they’re jam-packed with seed business specific information, and — as always — entirely free. 

What other events should people add to their calendars? 

ASTA’s Forage, Turf and Conservation Seed Conference, formerly known as the Farm and Lawn Seed Conference, is coming up November 1, 2023 during the Western Seed Association’s annual meeting in Kansas City Oct 30 to Nov 1. Note that sorghum topics have been moved to the Forage, Turf and Conservation Seed Conference. ASTA’s Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference is scheduled for January 26 to 30, 2024 in Monterey, California. ASTA’s Leadership Summit is coming up June 15-19, 2024 in Nashville, TN.

Details for all of these events and more here