AOSCA Annual Meeting Aims to Future-Proof Seed Certifying Agencies

*Last day to register is Monday, May 13.*

The AOSCA annual meeting June 16-19 is a must-go event for those who aim to keep seed certification relevant. 

It’s not easy being a seed certifying agency today. Though certifiers’ skills and deliverables are arguably more important than ever, the seed industry is changing: there’s more questioning of the need for certification and verification than ever before, and certifiers are fighting an incorrect but growing assumption in the seed value chain that AI can replace boots on the ground. Seed certifying agencies are stepping towards a future where, if they’re unable to adjust, they’re going to have a very difficult time surviving. What’s the solution? 

Seed certifiers need to come together to dig into tools and techniques to position themselves for the future. The Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA)’s 2024 annual meeting, coming up in beautiful Miramar Beach, Florida, June 16-19, is an intensive, immersive opportunity do exactly that. 

“The AOSCA annual meeting presents the perfect, narrowed-down, focused opportunity for certifying agencies to both hone their existing skills and to identify new skills and ideas to not only prevent becoming obsolete but to find pathways to thrive,” Seed World Group president Shawn Brook says.

Another key piece of why it’s important to attend the annual meeting is that there will be decisions discussed and decisions made at this meeting that have ramifications for every certifying agency across the country. 

“If you want to have a voice in that, you need to be part of the conversation,” Brook says. 

The AOSCA annual meeting will tackle specific topics such as plant patent license and trademark law, and integrating cover crops into seed certification. It’ll also dig into bigger picture discussion about how seed certification can they help drive innovation in the seed sector into 2025, 2030 and beyond.

Brook will be conducting an interactive session on marketing your seed certification agency’s efforts. 

“The reality — and each and every one of the seed certifying agencies has surely run into this already — is that the old way of telling your story doesn’t work anymore. Understanding how we need to tell the seed certification story for the future is about learning new ideas. What we’re going to hone in on is both identifying and practicing storytelling techniques for the 21stcentury,” he says. 

AOSCA’s 2024 annual meeting will be hosted by the Southern Seed Certification Association and the Alabama Crop Improvement Association.

Summary of Key Events

Sunday, June 16th

      • Board of Directors Meeting

      • AOSCA Academy Session 2

      • Welcome reception

    Monday, June 17th

        • Welcome from Dr. Bostick

        • Presentation: Dr. Ann Blount – “Integrating seed certification and cover cropping systems”

        • Lunch and Presentation: John Riley – “Surviving the world we live in today”

        • Breakout sessions

        • Dinner cruise

      Tuesday, June 18th

          • Breakout sessions

          • Presentation: Joel Cape – “Current topics in plant patent, trademark & agriculture law”

          • Golf

        Wednesday, June 19th

            • Workshop: Shawn Brook – Agency Marketing Training Workshop

            • Closing Session

            • Board of Directors Meeting

          For more information, check out the AOSCA AGM agenda on pages 7-10 of AOSCA’s most recent newsletter here. Register to attend here.

          Seed World US sat down with AOSCA’s CEO, Sarah Wilbanks, at last year’s AOSCA annual meeting. Here’s what she had to say about how key AOSCA’s efforts are to building consumer confidence. Seed World US also talked to AOSCA’s president, Billy Skaggs, about his vision for AOSCA’s future.

          For anyone who’s still unsure, here’s a quick primer on the value of the little blue tag.

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