ASTA Honors Two with Distinguished Service Award

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Retiring from the California Seed Association, Betsy Peterson is honored with the American Seed Trade Association's Distinguished Service Award, which was presented during the 132nd Annual Convention in Washington, D.C.

Retiring from the California Seed Association, Betsy Peterson is honored with the American Seed Trade Association’s Distinguished Service Award, which was presented during the 132nd Annual Convention in Washington, D.C.

Greg Lamka and Betsy Peterson were recognized at The American Seed Trade Association’s 132nd Annual Convention June 19 with the Distinguished Service Award. This award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the association and the seed industry, says John Schoenecker of HM.CLAUSE and 2014/15 ASTA chairman.

Lamka who has retired from DuPont Pioneer after a 22-year career is responsible for developing the ELISA test while at Iowa State University. The test, still used globally, ensures that seed corn for export is free from Stewart’s wilt. Throughout his career, Lamka held several positions including soybean seed production manager, director of soybean breeding, quality assurance manager, phytosanitary regulatory manager and seed treatment strategy manager.
He has also served the broader industry at the state, national and international levels. He has served as chair of the Iowa Seed Association board of directors, a long-time member of ASTA’s Phytosanitary and Seed Treatment & Environment committees, as well as chair of the International Seed Federation’s Seed Applied Technology Committee and a member of its board of directors.

Additionally, Lamka was instrumental in helping to establish the National Seed Health System. Today, Lamka resides in Iowa and stays connected to the industry through consulting projects.

To the west is where Peterson, a California native, got her start in the seed industry harvesting sunflowers during a 10-week job for a U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher. From there, she was hooked. While at the University of California, Davis, she learned from some of the top researchers in the world and managed greenhouse and field trials. Peterson was the first female inspector for the California Crop Improvement Association, where she managed the sunflower seed domestic and OECD certification program, variety registration and native species.

In 2002, she joined the California Seed Association and broadened her work to include vegetable, flower and turf seeds. Peterson has worked with the industry to address issues that impact their ability to produce and distribute seed. She has facilitated workgroups to address seed borne pathogens, food safety, seed regulated import and export issues, and invasive species.

Schoenecker, who has worked closely with Peterson through the years, says “Betsy has a knack for being able to bring together diverse groups to work through intricate and challenging issues. Through these efforts, she has helped lead the way in identifying mitigation efforts, including pesticide registrations, developing fact sheets and providing outreach and education.”

Peterson too has served the broader industry in roles on the California Invasive Species Advisory Committee, PlantRight and the California Specialty Crop Block Grant Technical Review Committee.
She is retiring from CSA June 30 to pursue work in textiles.

On behalf of ASTA and its leaders, Schoenecker thanked Lamka and Peterson for their involvement and contributions to the industry.

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