Seed World

ASTA Recognizes Two Individuals with the 2014 Distinguished Service Award

ASTA Recognizes Two Individuals with the 2014 Distinguished Service Award

Given to recognize those who have made significant contributions to the seed industry and the association, the American Seed Trade Association honored USDA’s June Blalock and Rijk Zwaan’s Rick Falconer this evening (June 13) with the 2014 Distinguished Service Award at the 131st Annual Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Blalock retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in April, after having served as the technology licensing program coordinator in the ARS Office of Technology Transfer for 21 years. She was responsible for managing all aspects of USDA’s intellectual property licensing program and developing and implementing USDA’s licensing policies and practices.

“June’s work, representing the United States, from a technical perspective, in the negotiations on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and her service on the Plant Variety Protection Advisory Committee have been an invaluable asset to the seed industry,” said Craig Newman, ASTA chairman. “Her unparalleled expertise on issues related to the transfer of technology for seeds will be sorely missed.”

Blalock said she couldn’t have done it without her team and credited public-private partnerships for her success. “Our partnerships have benefited U.S. farmers, consumers and the general public,” she said.

Unlike Blalock, Falconer who serves as the managing director at Rijk Zwaan-USA will continue to participate in and contribute to the seed industry. Born and raised on a Porterville, California, farm, Falconer has more than 25 years of experience in the seed industry.

“Recently, Rick was instrumental in filling a leadership role and supported and helped organize ASTA’s Vegetable & Flower Seed Conference in Monterey at a time when help was needed,” Newman said. “Rick’s leadership and support for ASTA and the seed industry has been a tremendous asset to the agricultural community.”

Falconer has served in leadership roles for multiple organizations, including past president for the California Seed Association and past chairman of ASTA’s Organic Seed Committee, Permanent Seed Research Fund and Vegetable and Flower Seed Division, he also currently serves as acting chair.  Falconer is a board member of the American Seed Research Foundation and the First-the Seed Foundation.

“Our ability to come together and work on issues benefits the state, national and international seed industry,” Falconer said. “I’m honored to serve and be a part of such a great industry.”