ASTA Hosts Plant Breeding Media Tour

  • On August 23, 2017

On August 17 and 18, ASTA, along with the California Seed Association, the National Garden Bureau and the UC-Davis Seed Bitoech Center, hosted a group of reporters and bloggers for an up-close look at the vegetable seed industry. During the day-and-a-half event in Davis, California, the group visited plant breeding and research facilities at UC Davis, HM.Clause and Monsanto. Reporters interacted with researchers, plant breeders and industry representatives, learning firsthand how plant breeding innovation addresses production and environmental challenges and meets ever-changing consumer demands.

At UC Davis, the group visited the Seed Biotechnology Center to learn about new breeding methods like gene editing before visiting test plots for the university’s current pepper and bean breeding projects. At HM.Clause, the group toured research laboratories and test fields, learning how innovations in the lab are transferred to the land, bringing value to growers and consumers. At the Monsanto facility, reporters toured the All-America Selections garden–a demonstration/competition plot for some of the best new home garden plant varieties. They also learned about pepper and melon breeding; the role of plant pathology research in the vegetable industry; and the importance of consumer sensory experiences in driving vegetable breeding and marketing strategies.

Reporters also heard from: Andy LaVigne, ASTA; Rich Matteis, California Farm Bureau; and Chris Zanobini, California Seed Association. More than 10 reporters, food bloggers and garden writers participated in the tour.