Sunday, November 23, 2014
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The ISF World Seed Congress in Greece was a rousing success. Seed World publisher Shawn Brook tells you why.

Athens, Greece—home to the Acropolis, birthplace of the marathon and our host for the 2013 International Seed Federation Congress. And what a fantastic host Athens was.

The 2013 ISF Congress in May broke records for attendance and continued to push forward a global initiative for the seed industry. This annual event had fallen off the travel lists of many industry professionals in past years, as the content had become somewhat contrived and less influential than people wanted. However, with some great leadership from the ISF’s secretary general, Marcel Bruins, the congress has recaptured the minds of important seedsmen and seedswomen from around the globe.

The opportunity to come together in this easily accessible European location to meet and learn from one another and build business together is a significant drawing card, and the ISF team deserves huge kudos for making this happen.

A huge event like this takes vision from the federation and commitment from the local organizing committee, which we saw in spades while in Athens.

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With record-breaking attendance, the congress in May pushed forward a global initiative for the seed industry.

The trading floor was a constant flurry of activity with a combination of new groups coming together as well as people remaking yearly connections, which in many instances, have been going on for decades. In fact, one executive told me that he has had the same meeting with the same person on the same second day of the annual congress for 52 years. That is hard to imagine but is a testament to the longevity and importance of this event.

The 2013 ISF Congress created a perfect platform to launch new global initiatives as well. Bayer CropScience took the opportunity to present its new SeedGrowth platform, and I was able to sit down with a number of its team members to better understand the components of this initiative. I also had a chance to chat with a number of fascinating individuals to learn what is new with their organizations in our Giant Views of the Industry interviews.

Reviews from past congresses have obviously found their way back to many boardrooms around the world as the number of countries represented as well as the total number of attendees continues to grow. If you do business in the global seed industry, this really has become a DO NOT MISS opportunity to connect with this audience and continue to extend your reach and knowledge as well as drive deeper and stronger relationships with existing clients.

If anyone can tell me that the huge volume of seed that is traded at this event is not in large part done based on the all-important face-to-face relationship—I beg to differ. In this day and age of rapid technological innovation, it is an excellent reminder to me that while technology can help us be more productive, we cannot and will not lose sight of the importance to shake hands, communicate in a way that allows our true intentions and sentiments to come across, and perhaps even partake of a shot of the Greeks’ world-famous ouzo to “seal the deal.”

I look forward to seeing many of you at the 2014 ISF Congress in Beijing, China, next year. If any of you are hemming and hawing about attending, please don’t hesitate to give me a shout as I would love to help make it a reality for you and discuss why it could help make your 2014 even better than you are planning.

Over and out. 

Shawn Brook

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