TOFGA 2021 Virtual Conference
Behind the Scenes of the Seed Industry
2/4/2021 - Thursday - 5:30 to 6:45 PM CST
The goal of this session is to provide farmers with insight into the way the seed industry works. Although seed is one of the primary inputs on any farm, farmers often do not have access to information regarding where their seed comes from, how and by whom it is produced, factors that drive availability and pricing, and challenges and opportunities in seed production (both organic and conventional). As climate change and the unique challenges of vegetable farming drive farmer interest in adaptable vegetable varieties, we think it is important to shed light on what is happening in the seed world to meet these challenges. Topics covered will include variety development and product “pipelines”, partnerships and collaborations among seed industry players, current seed production challenges, and post-COVID seed availability concerns. There will be ample Q&A opportunity to discuss varieties of interest with farmers in attendance and to hear directly from farmers about their experiences with seed companies and/or seed availability.
Sara Riegler is a commercial grower sales representative at High Mowing Organic Seeds, serving growers in the West and Southwest, Texas, Puerto Rico and Hawai'i. Sara joined High Mowing in 2019 after graduating from the University of California Davis with a M.S. in International Agricultural Development. Before graduate school, she spent 7 years vegetable farming in New England, first as an apprentice in southern Vermont and later as a manager at two community farms in the Boston area. She has also spent extensive time living and working in Latin America, primarily in Nicaragua, Chile, and Mexico. Sara is passionate about supporting farmers in their work to cultivate healthy food, viable farms, a just food system, and thriving ecosystems and communities.
Blake Thaxton joined the team at Johnny's as the Southeast Sale Representative in 2018. Blake's career focus has been on protected agriculture production and field production of vegetables, and new and emerging IPM techniques. With the increased interest and momentum of the local foods movement, Blake aspires to help growers in the Southeast choose the varieties and production methods suited for the climate and markets.
Rebecca Morse began her work in agriculture back in 1998 as a farm intern and then owned and operated her own small market farm from 1999-2014. In 2010 she had the brilliant idea to seek seasonal employment at Osborne Seed and has been with the company ever since, working in logistics, product development and sales. She currently works with growers from Texas eastward and seed breeders from around the world to find the best varieties for each grower.