In 1899, seedsmen organized a casual meeting in Kansas City, Missouri to discuss industry issues and to facilitate seed business. At that time, “trading” was the order of the day with hundreds of carloads of timothy, red clover, common alfalfa and smooth bromegrass changing hands during the meeting.
Over the years the annual meeting became known as the “Western” with seedsmen gathering principally from North America and several foreign countries. As the number of participants increased, there was a need for some degree of organization which led to the formation of the Western Seedsmen’s Association, or the Western Seed Association as it is known now. Officers are elected by the members, according to approved by-laws, who are then responsible for organizing the annual meeting, which is usually held the first of November each year.
Today, the Western’s meeting purpose is essentially the same as it was in 1899. However, as business has become more complex, presentations for education and information exchange have been added to the agenda. The American Seed Trade Association’s Farm and Lawn Seed Divisions hold meetings during the Western convention. The Field Seed Institute of North America also meets during the Western.
Trading continues as it always has. However, more private meetings are held between business partners to discuss variety developments and contract production. Many member companies have hospitality suites or host special receptions for their customers.
There are opportunities for socialization during two scheduled cocktail hours and at the annual banquet for members and guests. A feature of the banquet has been the presentation of scholarships to college students who are pursing education in seed related studies. Guests and spouses attend a luncheon organized for their entertainment.
We are working very hard on the 2019 Annual Convention, which is set to take place Friday November 1, 2019-Monday November 4, 2019! Registration and conference material should be available in early summer! Full registration during the early bird payment period is $100 for members, $230 for non-members, $65 for member spouse/guest, and $130 for non-member spouse/guest. After the early bird dates all registration fees increase by $25. Cancellations must be sent in writing to the WSA Office. Refunds will be processed until early registration is complete with a $25 administrative fee and no refunds will be issued after early registration has ended.