December 05, 2023

ASTA elects officer team during inaugural Leadership Summit

INDIANAPOLIS — The American Seed Trade Association elected its 2022-2023 officer team during the association’s all-new Leadership Summit in Indianapolis.

The members of the 2022-2023 ASTA officer team are:

• Chair — Jim Schweigert, Gro Alliance LLC.

• First Vice Chair — David Armstrong, Sakata Seed America.

• Second Vice Chair — Dan Foor, La Crosse Seed.

Newly-elected regional vice presidents are:

• Central — Bryan Gerard, JoMar Seeds.

• Southern — Luke Turner, Turner Seed Co.

In his acceptance remarks as incoming chair, Schweigert outlined his top priorities for the ASTA over the next 12 months. First, he committed to increasing engagement with the next generation of seed industry innovators.

“The recent influx of investments in the seed industry, both in terms of capital and ideas, is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in breeding, on-seed chemistry, channels to market and new business models,” he said. “This is not the time to be on the sidelines, as policy will be made by those in the game.”

Second, Schweigert prioritized the importance of taking an actionable and holistic approach to sustainability — expanding the definition beyond just environmental considerations, to incorporating business practices that ensure a healthy and diverse seed industry.

“When it comes to sustainability, it’s important that more crop species are part of the conversation and soil, water, grain composition and yield are all factored into the equation,” he said. “We need to continue efforts to explore new ways to partner with farmers in building a resilient, safe and abundant supply of food, fuel, feed and fiber for the world.”

A third-generation seedsman, Schweigert is the president of Gro Alliance, the largest independently-owned contract corn and soybean seed production company in North America.

The company is also a leader in custom corn breeding and seed corn nursery services in the United States and in Chile where it operates through its joint venture, CIS Alliance.

Schweigert also serves as a board adviser for ZeaKal.

Having worked for corporate public relations firms in Minneapolis, Chicago and Atlanta after growing up in the family seed business, Schweigert’s unique background and experience make him one of the seed industry’s leaders in innovation.

He was honored as the 2009 recipient of Seed World magazine’s “Future Giant” and served as the regional vice president to Canada for the executive board of ASTA and the Canadian Seed Trade Association from 2009 to 2015 and again from 2017 to 2020.

He also served as the chair of the non-profit Seed Programs International from 2012 to 2016 and continues to serve on its board of directors.

Schweigert has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in seed technology and business from Iowa State University.