The American Seed Trade Association
ASTA's motto, "First-the Seed," expresses the basic premise of the seed industry: There is no substitute for quality seed – a fact of life dating back to the early settlers who knew it as the difference between survival and disaster. Quality seed is essential for growing quality crops.
From alfalfa to zucchini and all the agronomic crops in between, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and their partner state and regional seed associations are charged with representing the interests and concerns of the seed industry here at home and around the globe. Wherever there is a need for perspective and experience involving seed, ASTA and your state and/or regional seed association are there.
ASTA's mission is to be an effective voice of action in all matters concerning the development, marketing and movement of seed, associated products and services throughout the world. ASTA promotes the development of better seed to produce better crops for a better quality of life.
Who We Are
Founded in 1883 and located in Alexandria, Va, ASTA is one of the most established trade organizations in the United States. Its membership consists of more than 700 companies involved in production and distribution, plant breeding and related industries around the globe. As an authority on plant germplasm, ASTA advocates science and policy important to the industry.
What We Do
ASTA, directed by its members, is involved in nearly all issues relating to plant germplasm, focusing on four areas of industry importance:
ASTA active members are directly involved in seed production or distribution, research and development and technology delivered in or on the seed. Associate members provide products or services for the seed industry and affiliate members include state/regional seed associations, crop improvement associations and certifying agencies. Associate members support the seed industry by way of software, research, equipment and related services unique to seed. Finally, to ensure an international balance and perspective, ASTA represents companies around the globe.
Members drive the agenda and identify the issues relevant to the seed industry. ASTA’s commitment to one company = one vote ensures that issues affecting the many are identified, resulting in effective and proactive advocacy and support. Issues identified by members that currently drive policy discussions and day-to-day operations include:
- Intellectual Property Rights Protection – viewed as the most valuable asset of the seed industry
- Effective Representation – grassroots participation at the state and local, federal and international levels is key to success
- Balancing Diversity – ASTA and the seed industry’s diversity requires an awareness of commodities, services, geography and company size and the importance of advancing the good of the many
- Other General Issues of Interest – trade, phytosanitary, immigration, research, preemption, arbitration, technology, energy, conservation, organic & stewardship
ASTA benefits include:
- Representation of the industry’s interests in domestic and international legislative and regulatory matters.
- The ability to influence the policies and positions of the Association.
- Being part of a strong, effective voice in support of the seed industry's interests.
- Information about seed policy and science issues relating to modern biotechnology, intellectual property rights, invasive species, plant genetic resource conservation, and other topics relevant to the seed industry.
- Educational opportunities and information about research developments, industry trends, business management practices and other topics that can affect seed business and its profitability.
- Providing a forum to share ideas, information, opinions, and concerns with other professionals who have mutual interests.
- Networking opportunities and fellowship among seed professionals.
- ASTA’s Online Membership & Committee Directory.
- Reduced meeting registration fees.
- Regular E-News updates on the latest seed industry developments.
- ASTA’s Management Academy at Purdue University.
- Internet opportunities, such as job postings and company links to ASTA’s Web site.
- Litigation Clearinghouse for obtaining or providing legal information relevant to seed business.
- Seed is a $12B business and is regulated in the states and at the federal and international levels.
- From invasive species, to organic agriculture and emerging technologies, ASTA members provide critical guidance to regulators and policymakers.
- Approximately ninety percent of ASTA’s active members are small businesses that report annual sales of less than $16 million.
- ASTA participates in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperator Program and promotes intellectual property rights, trade, harmonized laws and movement of seed here at home and around the globe.
- ASTA launched the First-the Seed Foundation in 2008 to focus on the value and importance of seed in everyday life, especially to children and aspiring plant breeders and biologists.
- Internationally, ASTA is a leader in the International Seed Federation, a body that provides a forum to promote harmonization and transparency on seed issues.
- The seed industry has always been green and ASTA members promote the utilization and development of new energy sources, strong conservation and effective stewardship.
ASTA – The leading authority in seed and issues affecting the foundation of agriculture everywhere.
ASTA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact ASTA at (703) 837-8140.