The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) recognized Blake Curtis of Curtis & Curtis Inc. and John Duesing of Corteva Agriscience with its Lifetime Honorary Member Award during the Policy and Leadership Development Conference in Denver, Colo.
The award is one of the highest awards given out by the association and recognizes individuals for untiring service to the association as well as the seed industry.
“Honorary members distinguish themselves in leadership, vision and service,” said Jerry Flint of Corteva Agriscience and the 2018-19 ASTA chair. “These two certainly do all of these.”
Hailing from Clovis, N.M., Curtis grew up in the family seed business and has held leadership positions with ASTA since 2004, including serving as chair of the Environmental and Conservation Seed Committee and vice president for the Southern Region. He also served as ASTA chair in 2012-13 and president of the New Mexico Seedsmen’s Association from 1996-1998. Today, Curtis serves as the on-call advisor for the third and fourth generations of Curtis seedsmen.
Outside of the seed industry, Curtis has been active in the New Mexico legislature, serving as minority caucus chairman, minority whip and minority leader. Between 2006 and 2010, he served on the New Mexico State University Board of Regents, including the positions of chairman and secretary. In addition, the New Mexico Finance Authority, New Mexico State Fair Commission and Clovis Chamber of Commerce have also benefitted from Curtis’ leadership.
You can listen to my interview with Curtis at the bottom of this page.
Another seedsman who has demonstrated leadership in the plant variety protection arena is Duesing. After more than 35 years in the plant biotechnology and seed industry, Duesing retired from Corteva Agriscience in May. For the past four and half years, he led the company’s Intellectual Property Asset Protection group. Through the years, his work spanned global plant variety protection, trade secret risk management and monitoring research activities for compliance with commercial agreements.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with John for the past 10 years,” Flint said during the award presentation. “He’s been active in ASTA’s International Executive Committee for the past five years.
“He’s been instrumental in shaping ASTA’s U.S. Plant Variety Protection strategy, our involvement in UPOV policy and the International Seed Federation … John continues to work on germplasm security and enforcement at the international level.”
In his remarks, Flint summed up Duesing as a relentless advocate for ASTA and the intellectual property protection of seed.
In accepting the award, Duesing said: “It’s been truly a collaboration working with ASTA for ASTA on a global basis looking for every opportunity to present our global seed industry’s success and our vision to the broader seed industry more widely and to the governmental sector to ensure that ASTA is foremost in their minds as a critical global player for seed and farmer success worldwide.”