Overlooking ASTA's new exhibit hall at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, FL. (Chris Lusvardi photos)
Overlooking ASTA's new exhibit hall at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, FL. (Chris Lusvardi photos)

Orlando, FL (December 12, 2023) – The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) Field Crop Seed Convention was held Dec. 5-8 for the first time in Orlando, FL.

ASTA moved the annual event, formerly known as the CSS & Seed Expo, after 77 years in Chicago, IL.

For more photos from throughout the event, see the Seed Today Facebook page.

Agricultural Economy Report

Some aspects of the program were similar to years past, including featured speaker Dan Basse of AgResource, who has spoken at the event for over 10 years in a row.

Basse’s insights have become an essential part of the program every year, says ASTA President and CEO Andy LaVigne.

Basse says a number of issues are impacting the global agriculture industry.

“We don’t know how long the wars will go on,” Basse says. “These will have a lasting impact on agriculture.”

He notes Russia has been exporting record amounts of wheat even during the war. Russian is willing to sell at almost any price just to get currency, Basse adds.

Basse is looking ahead to a little better year in 2024 than this year, but that depends on a lot of factors. Among other things, he says the Brazilian growing season is important and needs to be paid attention to.

“Brazil has been warmer and drier than normal,” Basse says. “In the next months, as they head into their winter, we need to watch Brazil, particularly northern Brazil, carefully.”

Majors Panel Discussion

After his presentation, Basse moderated a panel featuring executives from the seed industry’s largest companies.

The panel included Eric Boeck of Syngenta, Tim Glenn of Corteva Agriscience, Jagresh Rana of Bayer, and Tom Schuler of BASF.

They see an optimistic outlook for farmers.

“Yields have been better than expected,” says Glenn, the executive vice president, Seed Business Unit of Corteva Agriscience. “They are eager and optimistic going into next year. With the field work done this fall, they’re seeing a tremendous amount of optimism.”

Research and development continues to be a leading focus for companies, says Boeck, regional director of North American Seeds for Syngenta.

“The pressure farmers are facing to produce for the world is increasing,” Boeck says. “Innovation on the farm is pushing the envelope.”

The events currently happening geopolitically are making for an uncertain future, says Schuler, BASF vice president, Global Strategic Marketing, Seeds & Traits. He hopes some of the conflicts don’t spill into something bigger and disrupt trade.

That could drive commodity prices higher in a hurry, Schuler adds.

“It’s unpredictable,” Schuler says. “We don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Other general session topics throughout the week included Climate Smart Ag Partnerships, Geopolitical Impacts on U.S. Growers, and Future Trends Impacting Crop Management: The Seed Customer of the Future. For more information, see the upcoming First Quarter issue of Seed Today.


During the event, ASTA recognized a couple of retirements and new staff members.

  • Mike Stahr is retiring after a career spanning nearly 45 years at the Iowa State University Seed Lab. Ric Dunkle, PhD, ASTA senior director of Seed Health and Trade, is retiring at the end of this year.
  • New ASTA staff members include Martha Malapi, PhD, director, Seed Health and Trade; and Katrina Bishop, senior director, Strategic Communications, LaVigne points out.

Upcoming Events

ASTA is preparing for some of its upcoming events next year.

  • The Vegetable and Flower Seed Conference will be Jan. 26-30 in Monterrey, CA.
  • The Leadership Summit will be June 15-19 in Nashville, TN.
  • The Field Crop Seed Convention will return to Orlando in 2024, scheduled for Dec. 10-13.

For more information and registration, go to the ASTA website.

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Written by Chris Lusvardi, Seed Today editor

The panel discussion included speakers, from left, Eric Boeck of Syngenta, Tim Glenn of Corteva Agriscience, Jagresh Rana of Bayer, and Tom Schuler of BASF.

Tom Schuler of BASF, left, answers a question from moderator Dan Basse, right.

ASTA President and CEO Andy LaVigne welcomes attendees to the first Field Crop Seed Convention held in Orlando, FL.