Seed World

What’s New at IPSA?


This January’s Giant Views of the Industry article in Seed World provides a timely opportunity to outline what’s new at IPSA—the Independent Professional Seed Association. But first, let’s take a look back in time.
IPSA is celebrating its 25th anniversary during 2014, with a reception being held at IPSA’s Annual Conference in St. Louis, Mo. on Jan. 14, 2014. Twenty-five years is a great feat for any group or company, and I look forward to celebrating this milestone with our IPSA friends in St. Louis. The reception will include memories from several past IPSA leaders and founding members, as well as the chance to enjoy conversation with current industry and association leaders.
So back to the task at hand—what is new for IPSA and its regional, independent seed company members? The quick answer is that much is new and exciting as IPSA begins the next chapter in its history. Here are a few details:
Annual Conference—Recognized by members as one of the association’s highest priorities, the IPSA Annual Conference also has its own long history. Held in mid-January each year (January 14 to 16, 2014), the conference focuses on educational programming and business management tools that benefit our regional seed company members. The conference also hosts a trade show and provides ample time for interaction between vendors and attendees.
What is new is the depth of programming and quality of speakers—each year IPSA’s Business Development Committee strives to offer a stronger conference agenda with added relevancy to our members than in the past. Topics on the 2014 agenda include executive coaching, digital communications and marketing trends, how to reach tech-savvy growers and how to market to multiple generations of growers.
Agronomic Research—For years, IPSA has offered a variety of agronomic research programs to its members, including disease screening and inbred/hybrid characterization studies. More recently, agronomic research at IPSA has evolved to include head-to-head trials of industry-leading seed treatment and seed enhancement products, providing members with a source of unbiased, third-party data to make product and marketing decisions.
For 2014, the IPSA Member Services Committee is investigating a research protocol comparing the impacts of a variety of weed control systems on hybrid corn performance. More details on this new program will be released at the 2014 IPSA Annual Conference.
Educational Programming—Historically, IPSA has offered a wide range of educational programs to its members, with topics addressing sales training, professional development and human resource needs, to name a few. These programs are delivered in a variety of ways—the annual conference being one obvious source, as well as through webinars and other Internet-based technologies.
For 2014 and forward, IPSA’s Education Committee is taking a more targeted approach to educational programming in three areas of focus—younger employees, mid-management positions, and CEO/senior management roles. The committee intends to address programming efforts in each category that provide tangible benefits to IPSA member companies, and hopes to partner with others in the industry in this new endeavor.
Precision Ag/Data Management—A topic that garners more attention each day, IPSA’s Member Services Committee has grabbed the bull by the horns and assembled a task force to investigate realistic solutions to assist member companies and their grower customers in assimilating, quantifying and utilizing any of a variety of tools that improve data use and efficiency. The task force has a daunting job on its plate, but is also energized by the challenge and looking forward to making progress on behalf of the association.
IPSA has had a storied past. During the past quarter-century, the seed industry has seen tremendous changes such as the advent of biotechnology, a consolidation of seed brands, and the larger role that seed plays today in modern agricultural practices.
While I do look forward to celebrating IPSA’s rich history, I must admit that the future for the association is what I get extremely excited for. IPSA is comprised of seed brands that are simultaneously celebrating their rich histories with an eye on the future needs of their customers. The seed industry is a dynamic business filled with great people, and IPSA is looking forward to making the next 25 years even more memorable.
Greg Ruehle, CEO, Independent Professional Seed Association