WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Bernice Slutsky is the new vice president for Scientific and International Affairs of the American Seed Trade Association.

Andrew W. LaVigne, president and CEO of ASTA, said, "ASTA continues to play a vital role in the regulatory and policy development that impacts seed research, production and distribution at the state, national and international levels. The addition of Dr. Slutsky to our team brings strong expertise in the biotechnology and international arenas. This will prove to be a great benefit for ASTA's member companies."

Slutsky will join ASTA on April 3, 2006. She joins the association from the USDA, where she has served as senior advisor for biotechnology to the Secretary of Agriculture since April 2004. She was responsible for coordinating USDA's policies and activities relating to agricultural biotechnology.

Prior to USDA, Slutsky was assistant vice president for international and regulatory affairs at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. She also has been senior policy advisor for the Foreign Agricultural Service and a member of the assistant administrator's biotechnology staff at the EPA.

"I am very excited about joining the team at ASTA," Slutsky said. "The seed industry is facing many important international and emerging scientific issues. I look forward to working with the ASTA membership in taking advantage of the opportunities in these areas and ensuring that the interests of the seed industry are actively promoted."

Slutsky received her Ph.D. in biology from the University of Iowa and was a research assistant at the Plant Research Laboratories at Michigan State University and at Plant Genetic Systems, Gent, Belgium.

Founded in 1883, the American Seed Trade Association is one of the oldest trade organizations in the United States. Located in Alexandria, Va., its membership consists of about 800 companies involved in seed production and distribution, plant breeding, and related industries in North America. ASTA's mission is to enhance the development and free movement of quality seed worldwide.

SOURCE: American Seed Trade Association via PR Newswire.