Craig Newman is excited. He is the CEO of AgReliant Seeds near Westfield, but he is also currently the president of the American Seed Trade Association. Some 700 companies representing everything from squash to alfalfa are members of the association.
The president has a large say in where the summer meeting of the association is held. So Newman is bringing the conference to Indianapolis. It's the first time in the 131-year history of the group that the summer meeting will be held in Indianapolis.
"In fact it's probably been 10 years before we met somewhere where corn and soybeans are the major crops," he says. "I think it's good for Indiana to get exposure in the seed industry, and gives us a chance to showcase central Indiana to seedsmen from all over the country."
ASTA tackles some of the thorny issues related to seed that wind up affecting policies related to the industry. While the program itself is limited to seed industry members, you may get a chance to bump shoulders with some of the leaders in the industry if you happen to be in Indianapolis during those days. The meeting will be held at the J.W. Marriott Hotel.
Another reason for bringing it here is that three of the top eight seed companies in the country are headquartered within driving distance of Indianapolis, Newman says. These include his own company, AgReliant Genetics, plus Dow AgroSciences and its Mycogen brand, and Beck's Hybrids, based near Atlanta.
Besides, two-thirds of the members of ASTA live within driving distance of Indianapolis, Newman says.
"I believe it will be eye-opening for our members to see what we can do here," he says. "I hope it also reminds farmers that it's important to have a group like ASTA working in the seed industry on their behalf."