American Seed Trade Association announces industry winners

The American Seed Trade Association is pleased to announce the winners of its seed industry awards. The winners were recognized recently during the gala banquet at ASTA’s Policy & Leadership Development Conference in Washington, D.C.

The ASTA Distinguished Service award was presented to Osama El-Lissy, deputy administrator for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Plant Protection and Quarantine. The award recognizes those whose efforts have made a significant contribution to the association and the seed industry.

“During his tenure as the APHIS deputy, Osama has provided significant support to the seed industry, including the development of key initiatives for addressing phytosanitary challenges,” said ASTA 2017/18 Chair Tracy Tally. “Under his leadership, and in close coordination with the seed industry, APHIS has successfully implemented the National Seed Accreditation Pilot Program for the exotic cucumber green mottle mosaic virus, and a new Regulatory Framework for Seed Health, known as ReFreSH, which we anticipate will have significant benefits for international seed trade.”

The ASTA Honorary Lifetime Member award was presented to Wendell Howard, Warner Seed, Inc. Honorary Members distinguish themselves through leadership, vision and service.

“Wendell has had a huge impact on my career, and many others, in the seed industry,” said ASTA Chair Tracy Tally. “He has supported not only ASTA, but the whole seed industry across the world for nearly 60 years; in fact, he is known worldwide as the sorghum man from Lubbock, Texas. While everyone knows Wendell is an accomplished seedsman, his skills in storytelling—especially in relation to the seed industry—are truly unmatched. I can’t think of a more worthy recipient of this esteemed award.”

Howard started his distinguished career in the seed industry at R. C. Young Seed & Grain Co. where he worked during his Junior and Senior years at Texas Tech University. After graduating in 1961, he continued full time with R. C. Young, and served on the Texas Certified Seed Board in 1963-64. When R.C. Young was sold to Agrigenetics in 1970, Howard continued with the company for the next decade before taking another job with Richardson Seed, LLC, where he worked from 1980 to 2010. In 2010, he went to work for his current employer, Warner Seed, Inc.

During his career, he has held a number of volunteer leadership positions with the industry, including serving as President of the Texas Seed Trade Association from 1992-93, President of the Southern Seed Association in 1999, and President of the Western Seed Association in 2014.

“I truly love the folks in the seed industry,” said Howard, upon receiving news of the award. “They are the best in the world.”