Spotlight on WSA Convention

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A place where the seed industry connects, trades and recognizes early-career individuals.

Once again, Kansas City welcomed more than 750 seed industry professionals who gathered for the Western Seed Association’s (WSA) annual convention held Oct. 29 – Nov. 2 in conjunction with the American Seed Trade Association’s Farm & Lawn Seed Conference.

While at this meeting, attendees are heavily focused on business and the trade of seed, but another important aspect of the meeting is taking the time to recognize students and young professionals. Each year, the association recognizes a young seedsman and names scholarship winners.

Doug Pickles won the 2018 WSA Young Seedsman award.

The Young Seedsman Award spotlight early-career individuals who demonstrate a willingness to help and work with others in the industry; enthusiasm for the industry and are involved in the association. This year, Bill Talley of Summit Seed Coating and WSA president, announced Doug Pickles as the 2018 WSA Young Seedsman.

Pickles is the operations manager at Lewis Seed Co. in Shedd, Ore., and doubles as part of the sales team. His nomination letter, Monte Lewis, company president, writes: “Doug is young but always willing to learn and advance himself. He is well received and respected in the grass seed industry. He is always professional in his actions and willingness to help others, even when he may not agree.

“I am the president of Lewis Seed Co., and I have always been impressed with Doug’s willingness to take on whatever challenge management asks of him. I’ve seen him respond the same way to other fellow employees. But the most impressive action I see is his commitment to his family. He and his family would be a welcomed asset to any community.”

Pickles hasn’t just excelled in the company; he’s also serving at the state level as a board member of the Oregon Seed Association and a member of the Young Seedsmen Committee. Additionally, he’s been a member of the WSA and participated in association meetings for the better half of a decade.

Fostering Education

This year, WSA awarded 10 scholarships. Scholarship recipients for 2018 are:

• Madeline Snyder, of Lanesboro, Minnesota, is a junior at Iowa State University studying ag business.

• Kaylin Fink, of Chapman, Kansas, is a senior at Kansas State University studying agronomy with an emphasis on crop consulting and production.

• Garrett Imhoff, of California, Missouri, is a senior at the University of Missouri with dual studies in the fields of plant science and environmental science, with emphasis on crop management and land and soil, respectively.

• Chad Lammers, of Hartington, Nebraska, is a junior at the University of Nebraska studying plant biology with plans for earning a master’s degree in plant breeding.

• William Ortiz, of Scio, Oregon, is a senior at Oregon State University studying crop and soil science.

• Preston DeJong, of Bryan, Texas, is a senior at Texas A&M University studying plant and environmental soil science.

• Mackenzie Derry, of Thompson, North Dakota, is a senior at North Dakota State University studying crop and weed sciences, as well as agribusiness and soil science.

• Isaac Armenta, of Buckeye, Arizona, is an Arizona State FFA Officer and plans to study ag education.

• Maiya Gibbs, of New Jersey, is a senior at Cornell University studying crop production and management, as well as agribusiness management.

• Kaeden Mollett, of Greenville, Illinois, is a junior at Murray State University studying agricultural science and agronomy.

WSA recognizes that the future of the seed industry depends on today’s youth and bringing in new ideas and fresh faces. As such, the members held a reception for Jesse and Susan Smart thanking them for their years 20-plus years of service to WSA, while welcoming Tina Bowling as the new WSA executive director.

A New Era of Management

“We very much appreciate all the work Jesse and Susan have done for the association and wish them all the best in retirement,” says Talley.

From Berea, Kentucky, Bowling is the founder of Innovative Association Management (IAM) Solutions, an association management firm that’s been in operation for 15-plus years. Bowling began her work with WSA June 1, 2018, and has been working to update the face of the association with a new website, online membership directory and electronic check-in at registration.

“I’m excited to be here in Kansas City and meeting many of our members face-to-face for the first time,” Bowling said, during the convention. “I’ve heard a great deal about this meeting, but it’s another to see it in person. Attendees are focused on trading, closing deals, networking and having a bit of fun…

“I look forward to being a resource and helping the association achieve its goals moving forward.”

In the months ahead, Bowling says she’ll be working on improving member communications offerings, adding to the website and developing new conference features for next year.

For questions about WSA, Bowling can be reached at 855-416-SEED (7333) or Tina@westernseed.org.

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