Each year, at ASTA’s annual convention, leaders in the seed industry who have contributed significantly to advances in their areas of expertise, to their business sectors and/or states or regions, and to the efforts of ASTA to serve their industry are recognized by their peers with the highest honors bestowed by the seed industry.
Distinguished Service Awards
For more than 35 years, Larry Nees has served as the seed control official for Indiana, responsible for enforcement and administration of the Indiana Seed Law, the Indiana Seed Arbitration Law, the Indiana Legume Inoculants and Plant Growth Substances Law, and the Inspections Under Seed Contracts Law.
Also functioning as the laboratory supervisor for the Indiana State Seed Laboratory, Larry has been responsible for analysis of agricultural and vegetable seed samples submitted by farmers and consumers, and those samples collected for law enforcement by field staff employed by the Indiana State Chemist (OISC). As Larry prepares to enter retirement, the seed industry will be forever grateful for his many years of tremendous service.
Mike began his long and distinguished seed industry career with Pioneer Hi-Bred in 1979, serving roles in production operations, supply logistics, quality assurance and ultimately as Vice President of Production and Business Improvement. In 2014, Mike began a new chapter in his career as Global CEO of RiceTec, Inc. in Houston, Texas. Mike has been an active participant in ASTA for years, including service as Chairman of the Board from 2011-2012 and as a key creator of ASTA’s current Strategic Plan which is still in use. He has served as the ISF representative to the ASTA Board and remains a key international figure in forwarding the interests of the American seed industry.
ASTA Lifetime Industry Achievement Award
ASTA honored seed industry veteran Dr. Owen J. Newlin with its Lifetime Industry Achievement Award which recognizes exceptional professionals whose career contributions to the seed industry span more than 50 years. Dr. Newlin was recognized on June 20 during the Opening General Session of the ASTA-Oregon Seed Association Annual Convention in Portland, Oregon.
Dr. Newlin’s distinguished career dates back more than 60 years. He joined Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., known today as DuPont Pioneer, in 1955 as a Research Assistant in the production department of the central division. He became Production Manager for the division in 1964 and served as its President from 1967 to 1978. He was elected Senior Vice President for Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a company his father helped to create, in 1986 and became a key driving force in the maximization of hybrid corn for farmers, which serves as a foundation of the seed business to this day.
Dr. Newlin is active both in and out of the seed industry. For ASTA, he has served many leadership roles, and is the longest running ASTA Past President who remains an active participant on the ASTA Board of Directors to this day. He currently serves as Chair of the Subcommittee for Strategic and Allied Partnerships and he is a Lifetime Honorary Member.
Dr. Newlin attended Iowa State University, where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agronomy in 1951 and 1953, respectively, before moving on to earn his doctorate in Plant Breeding and Genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1955. He later attended Harvard University’s Advanced Management Program, from which he graduated in 1974.