Atlantic Seed Association Holds 2019 Annual Convention In Baltimore, Maryland

Members of the Atlantic Seed Association learned Oct. 12 about the work being conducted at the University of Maryland Turfgrass Research Farm in College Park, MD. (Chris Lusvardi photos)

Baltimore, MD (October 18, 2019) – The Atlantic Seed Association held its 2019 Annual Convention Oct. 11-14 at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel in Baltimore, MD.

The convention included a tour of the area on Saturday and workshops Monday, along with receptions each evening.

For more photos from the tour, go to Seed Today's Facebook page.

While standing in the Baltimore Orioles' dugout along the first base line, the group heard about the history of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and how the playing field is maintained.

Among other information shared with the group, the field is designed to handle up to 15 inches of water in an hour and be ready to play baseball 30 minutes later.

The first stop on the tour Saturday, Oct. 12 was Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles play baseball. The group received an up-close view of the field from the Orioles dugout along the first base line.

The tour guides said the field’s drainage system is designed to handle up to 15 inches of water in an hour and be ready to play baseball 30 minutes later. The infield can be covered when it rains and the water dumped off the cover into the drainage system. Additionally, the grass is mowed every day throughout the season.

As part of an effort to protect the field, the stadium now only hosts baseball-related events. It has hosted a Billy Joel concert and visit from Pope John Paul II in the past.

Turfgrass Research

University of Maryland Turfgrass Specialist Dr. Thomas Turner leads a tour Oct. 12 of the university's turfgrass research farm located near its main campus, which enables many classes to be taught there.

The next stop on the tour was the University of Maryland Turfgrass Research Farm in College Park, MD, where the group had a BBQ lunch.

Turfgrass Specialist Dr. Thomas Turner and Research Center Manager David Funk led the tour, highlighting the research plots at the site. Trials can last 4-5 years to gather data for making recommendations about cultivars, Turner says.

He explains the 35-acre farm is located in an ideal location for research as diseases from the Northern area of country can be tested along with the winter hardiness of Southern varieties.

“We get any problems that exist,” Turner says.

He says recommendations based on the research are published to assist breeders in their decision-making.

Other Activities

While Guinness is known for brewing its beer in Ireland, the company is making and testing various products for distribution throughout the United States at its brewery near Baltimore, MD.

The tour concluded with a visit to the recently-renovated Guinness Open Gate Brewery, where the group learned about beer production and had the opportunity to taste various products. The factory is the first Guinness brewery in the United States since 1954 and was reopened in 2015. The brewery is located on the site of the historic Calvert distillery in Baltimore County, 10 miles from downtown Baltimore and 30 miles northern of Washington, DC near the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

The group had an open-day Sunday to explore Baltimore before the evening reception. Some attended or watched the Baltimore Ravens play the Cincinnati Bengals at the nearby M&T Bank Stadium.

Speakers during the workshop Monday, Oct. 14 included Dr. Mike Goatley Jr., Virginia Tech turfgrass agroecosystem management; Dr. Benjamin F. Tracy, Virginia Tech grassland ecosystem management; Dr. John Fike, Virginia Tech forage and animal relationships, biofuels, and hemp specialist; and Nicole Fiorellino from the University of Maryland discussing the state’s Hemp Seed Program.

The meeting included ASA’s annual business meeting and The Price is Right game. The convention wrapped up with the President’s Reception at Sullivan’s Steakhouse.


During the reception, ASA President Jason McMillan recognized Stephanie Breckenridge and Nikki Hindle of Ernst Seeds as Honorary Lifetime Members.

McMillan says, "These two Honorary seed members are the original straight- shooters. You rarely leave a meeting asking yourself, “I wonder what they thought about all of that?

"In addition to active ASA involvement, both women are also active in the Western Seed Association, Northern Seed Trade Association, and Southern Seed Association. Both of these women have been such a big part of the Atlantic Seed Association.

"They have both been on the board and gone through the ranks. They have both hosted amazing conferences that I was lucky enough to be a part of. One in Pittsburgh and one in Cleveland. And even after that, they continue to give time to our group. They continue to help organize and host the grant fundraiser every year which is a lot of work, among other things to help Carrie."

In addition, the ASA was pleased to award Steve Hardy as Seedsman of the Year.

Hardy has been with L.D. Oliver Seed since 1989. The company was featured in the Third Quarter 2019 issue of Seed Today.

Hardy started out in production, then became the operations/production manager after one month of employment.

In 2007, Hardy took over farm sales, from an employee who was leaving the company, while still overseeing the operations and production sides of the business. In August 2010, he became vice president and CEO of the company. In 2018, he purchased the business and he is now president and owner.

Not only is Hardy involved in L.D. Oliver, in 2000, he joined the Vermont Christmas Tree Association, which he is on the Board of Directors, and has been president of since 2009. Along with his brother and their wives, Shore Road Christmas Trees was started in 2010.

They have over 3,000 Christmas trees planted. Shore Road Christmas Trees sells pre-cut Christmas trees, but this year they may be able to offer a limited section of choose and cut.

Hardy also runs a small farm which includes, on average, 12-15 beef cows at any time. They usually have 3-4 calves each spring, and harvest 1-2 adult cows each fall.

Their small farm also includes three horses and three Mallard ducks. Hardy also served in the Air Force.

Hardy and his wife, Cee Cee, have a son and daughter.

Written by Chris Lusvardi, Seed Today editor