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.

MCIA Annual Meeting Preview

Please plan to join us the morning of Wednesday, January 13, 2021, for MCIA’s 118th Annual Meeting. This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the meeting will be held virtually, via Zoom. To keep our online time together to a manageable two hours, 9–11 a.m., we have organized a condensed, but informative, meeting program.

During the business meeting segment of the Annual Meeting, we will hear brief organizational and fiscal reports from officers of MCIA’s Board of Directors. We will also hold an election for open seats on the board.

Next, we will be joined by three seed industry experts. Each will give a 20-minute presentation. Andy LaVigne, President and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association, will discuss the state of the industry—highlighting the Covid-19 pandemic and  changes in the political environment. Brent Turnipseed, Manager of the South Dakota State University Seed Lab and Assistant Department Head of Agronomy, Horticulture, & Plant Science at SDSU, will address common issues in seed testing. Denise Thiede will provide an update from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Denise is MDA’s Seed, Weed, Hemp, and Biotechnology Section Manager and an MCIA board member.

Invited speakers include Andy LaVigne, Brent Turnipseed, and Denise Thiede.

We will fill out the program with MCIA’s annual award presentations. Don’t miss this opportunity to recognize the contributions and achievements of your seed industry colleagues. We will announce the recipients of the Honorary Premier Seedsman, Premier Seedsman, and the Achievement in Crop Improvement awards.

To register for the meeting, click here. To access meeting documents please visit our Annual Meeting page. If you have any questions about the meeting, please call us at 800-510-6242 or email