The American Seed Trade Association's Invasive Species Committee met Nov. 6 during the annual Farm & Lawn Seed Conference in Kansas City, Mo., to discuss issues at the state level and identify opportunities to best address the challenge of managing crops and habitats around invasive species.

With participants from Massachusetts to Minnesota to Texas, everyone agreed that invasive species are a big problem and that each state or pest presents a unique set of challenges.

A participant from Massachusetts faces restricted chemical applications in controlling invasive pests. As a solution, he is looking for new varieties and genetics.

Minnesota is one state that has an Invasive Species Advisory Committee, which is designed to focus on education, while regulatory services are conducted by the departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture.

"This seems to be working and creates awareness about the importance of properly dealing with invasive species," says Ben Lang of the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association. "The Noxious Weed Evaluation Committee is currently reviewing the list of noxious weeds. Some weeds are rotating off and new ones are coming on."

In Pennsylvania, it was reported that there is an effort to rewrite the noxious seed law and incorporate invasive species into it. Andy Ernst of Ernst Conservation Seeds gives the example that under the new law if a company were to grow miscanthus as a biomass for biofuels production that company must have a written plan to destroy all planted genetic material, in the case that the company could no longer operate.

In Texas, the state seed association partnered with the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association because of language introduced regarding aquatic species in the state's parks.

Denise Gentsch of the Texas Seed Trade Association says the new language was a result from a statutory change, which was just not practical. Together the two Texas associations worked to have the language repealed and were successful.

Pests of concern by several of the states included emerald ash borer, brown marmorated stink bug, spotted wing drosophila and thousand cankers diseases, among many others.

"We are committed to making sure beneficial agronomic crops are not targeted," says Leslie Cahill, ASTA vice president of government affairs and staff liaison for the Invasive Species Committee.

Cahill also serves on the National Invasive Species Council. For questions or additional information about ASTA's Invasive Species Committee and its activities, contact Cahill at 703-837-8140 or lcahill@amseed.org.