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American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) reports:

Last Thursday, Mark Mustoe, on behalf of the American Seed Trade Association, testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.

Mustoe, co-owner and manager of Clearwater Seed Company, outlined recommendations for the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management's practices for native seed development and procurement.

"The Environment and Conservation Seed Committee of ASTA represents approximately 80% of the companies that sell native seed to the U.S. government for restoration, reclamation and conservation projects by the BLM," Mustoe, a member of ASTA's Environment and Conservation Seed Committee, said. "We are concerned that the policies and directives of the BLM, with regard to use of native seeds, are not sustainable."

Mustoe testified that ASTA believes general adaptation of varieties is key for successful restoration versus placing primary importance on the geographical origin of the seed. He also expressed the importance of greater collaboration between the BLM and USDA's Agricultural Research Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service Plant Material Centers.

Mustoe additionally noted that that the FY2014 omnibus appropriations bill included language to express the need for greater transparency for BLM procurement.

"ASTA supports proactive restoration and reclamation projects," Mustoe said. "We recommend that the BLM revisit its current practices and allow more known introduced species to be used, when local natives are a challenge to be acquired.

"Our goal is no different than the BLM's, restoration of more public lands with a common sense approach for a better environment for all."

ASTA's environment and conservation seed committee looks forward to working with the appropriations committee, the BLM and other key agencies in order to ensure the success of the U.S. government's restoration, reclamation and conservation programs.

About ASTA

Founded in 1883, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) represents over 700 companies involved in seed production, plant breeding and related industries in North America. Our mission is to be an effective voice of action in all matters concerning the development, marketing and movement of seed, associated products and services throughout the world.

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