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.
The ASTA Distinguished Service award was presented to Alan Galbreth, Indiana Crop Improvement Association (ICIA). The award recognizes those whose efforts have made a significant contribution to the association and the U.S. seed industry.
Alan Galbreth has spent his entire 43-year career in the seed industry working for ICIA. He began his ICIA career in 1975 upon graduation from Purdue University hiring in as a Seed Certification field inspector and laboratory technician. He assumed further responsibility in 1978 as lab supervisor, and then becoming the Associate Director in 1985.
In 2011, Alan was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of ICIA where he continues to serve the industry today. Alan serves as an APHIS accredited auditor for the National Seed Health System program and is the ASTA representative to OECD Seed Schemes.
He serves on various committees within AOSA/SCST, AOSCA and ASTA. He served as Chair of the old ASTA Seed Analyst Liaison Committee and recently completed a term as Chair of the ASTA Seed Industry Relations Committee. He also served on the Board of Directors and as President of AOSCA. In 2018, Alan was honored by the Indiana Seed Trade Association with their Distinguished Service Award, and in 2015 he was awarded Honorary Membership by the Society of Commercial Seed Technologies. In February, Indiana Crop Improvement presented him with an inaugural Seed Industry Life Time Achievement Award. As he heads into his retirement, ASTA is proud to honor him with this recognition.
To see past recipients, click here.
The ASTA Honorary Lifetime Member award was presented to John H. Duesing, Ph.D, Corteva Agriscience and Blake Curtis, Curtis & Curtis, Inc. Honorary Members distinguish themselves through leadership, vision and service.
John retired May 2019 from Corteva after a 35+ year career in the plant biotechnology and seed industry and most recently 4 1/2 years leading the Intellectual Property Asset Protection group. His work included global plant variety protection, trade secret risk management, and monitoring research activities for compliance with commercial agreements.
John has held leadership roles with Ciba-Geigy (1984-1995) and with Pioneer/DuPont Pioneer/Corteva (1995-2019) in the areas of research technology and commercial licensing. John led the DuPont Pioneer Regulatory Science program from 2005-2014.
John was a member of the ASTA IPR Committee, the Emerging Issues Working Group and the Joint ASTA-PVP Office Molecular Marker Working Group. He represented ASTA on the ISF Sustainable Agriculture Committee and the Illegal Seed Practices working group, while serving on the ASTA international executive committee. From 2017-2019, John was an active member on the ISF Seed Industry team engaged with the FAO Working Group to enhance the functioning of the multilateral system under the International Treat on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
John chaired the European Green Industry Biotechnology Platform and the CropLife International Regulatory Committee. He has been an important contributor to ASTA and U.S. Trade and Development Agency outreach programs to the China Ministry of Agriculture on regulatory and intellectual property topics, and has collaborated with UPOV and the U.S. PTO. John is serving his second term as a member of USDA’s PVP Board which advises on matters relating to the rules and regulations to facilitate the proper administration of the PVP Act.
John earned his Bachelor’s degree in botany from the University of Virginia and his Master of Science and doctorate degrees in Biology from Yale University.
Blake Curtis was introduced to the seed industry in his early childhood as he traveled across the harvest fields and range with his dad. He came into the family seed business formally in 1979, where he serves as Senior Vice President of Management and Sales. Meanwhile, he also served on the New Mexico State Legislature from 1986 to 1995, in the roles of Minority Caucus Chairman, then Minority Whip, and finally Minority Leader. Blake was President of the New Mexico Seedsmen’s Association from 1996 to 1998, and served on the New Mexico State University Board of Regents between 2006 and 2010, including the positions of Chairman and Secretary. He has also held positions on the New Mexico Finance Authority, New Mexico State Fair Commission and Clovis Chamber of Commerce. He has held leadership positions with ASTA since 2004, including Environmental and Conservation Seed Committee chair and Southern Regional Vice President, and in recent years has been a true champion for advocating seed industry legislative concerns both nationally and in New Mexico, with notable victories on key legislation.
Blake’s greatest accomplishment is that he is currently serving as the on-call advisor for the third and fourth generations of Curtis seedsmen. And finally, Blake was our own ASTA Chair from 2012-2013.
To see past recipients, click here.