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Annual President’s Report

MCIA Perseveres and Prospers

At  every annual meeting of the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association, the association’s president reports on MCIA’s activities over the past year and provides an assessment of the state of the organization. Following are highlights from Dr. Fawad Shah’s presentation to MCIA’s membership on January 13, 2021.

MCIA’s responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by developing and implementing a preparedness plan, adopted from CDC and MDH guidelines to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the MCIA staff.

MCIA is in good financial health. The fiscal year 2019–2020 was very successful, and MCIA investment funds also saw strong growth. Growth in Organic Services continued and yielded another profitable year. Bailey Webster was hired to fill an open organic certification specialist/inspector position, after Susan Stewart’s retirement. Carl Anfinson was hired in Foundation Seed Services to fill the open seed production coordinator position. Field inspection districts were realigned, increasing the number of districts from three to four. Tom Keskey and Dan Krenz were hired as field supervisors to fill district three and four positions.

MCIA established a relationship with West Central Technology to provide MCIA with IT support services. In April, MCIA launched a new website. The new website is secure, mobile-friendly, and improved site navigation.

MCIA has developed a 99% Non-GMO Corn Seed Program. It has been approved by AOSCA’s IP program standards.

MCIA continues to collaborate with the University of Minnesota (UMN) in protecting the intellectual property rights of university-developed crop varieties. MCIA joined with the Farmers Yield Initiative, UMN’s general counsel and the dean and director of the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to address the issue of “brown bagging” and level the playing field for all seed producers and sellers.

MCIA’s Seed Laboratory successfully developed and implemented a Quality Management System and received accreditation by the USDA’s Accredited Seed Laboratory Program. Manager Chase Mowry became qualified as a Canadian Seed Grader. Now, seed tested and graded in the MCIA Seed Laboratory can be shipped into Canada without further testing. Thus, saving customers time and expense. Seed Technologist Sam Banks recently passed his Registered Seed Technologist exam.

MCIA’s priorities for fiscal year 2020–2021 include training of new staff, completion of the database project, adding new lab services, supporting the sale of PVP-protected varieties, and continued efforts to identify local, regional, and international opportunities to increase the visibility of MCIA.

Note: The full, official minutes of the 2021 MCIA Annual Meeting, which include the President’s Report, were published in the spring 2021 issue of the Minnesota Seed Grower.