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LaVigne to lead American seed trade group head 29/30

The Board of Directors of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) recently announced the election of Andrew W. LaVigne as the organization's new President and CEO. LaVigne replaces outgoing President and CEO Dick Crowder, who was recently confirmed as the new Chief Agriculture Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

"The ASTA Board is very pleased that Andy has chosen to accept this position," said Jim Tobin, ASTA Chairman. "He brings to our association an extensive and accomplished history of leadership in the legislative, regulatory and trade arenas that will allow us to build on the past successes of ASTA.

Our industry is poised to address several critical issues in the next couple ofyears and Andy has the established record and relationships to help ensure our successful completion of those challenges."

LaVigne has been the Executive Director and CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual for the past seven years. Mutual is a trade association of more than 10,500 members charged with representing the production, processing and regulatory issues that face citrus growers at the regional, state, national and international levels. Prior to joining Mutual, LaVigne was the Executive Director of the Florida Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association for over four years. He also spent a decade in Washington, D.C. working in Congress and at USDA.

"I am extremely honored and excited about the opportunity to join ASTA," said Andy LaVigne. "The seed industry has numerous possibilities to impact issues that are fundamental to U.S. agriculture and it is imperative that we are at the table for the development of those policies. I am looking forward to working with the Board, members and staff to ensure the issues impacting the industry are proactively addressed and promoted at every level."

Currently, Mr. LaVigne serves or has served on the USDA Agriculture Policy

Advisory Committee; USDA Agriculture Technical Advisory Committee on

Trade for Horticultural Products; USDA-APHIS Systems Approach Review Group; U.S. Specialty Crop Alliance; United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association Allied Council; U.S. Chamber of Commerce Food and Agriculture Committee; and several other state and national industry committees and advisory groups.

ASTA, founded in 1883, is one of the oldest trade organizations in the United States. Its membership consists of about 850 companies involved in seed production, distribution, plant breeding and related industries in North America. As an authority in plant germplasm, ASTA advocates science and policy issues of industry-wide importance.

LaVigne will assume the President and CEO duties at the beginning of February 2006.

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