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We have seen significant progress in implementing the National Seed Strategy from 2015-2020. Over 440 partners invested more than $160 million in about 500 projects across the United States. Over 235 scientific reports and articles were written on native seed development and use. Almost 9,000 native seed collections were made. Thousands of native seed crops were developed in more than 32 eco-regions, and 21 regional seed partnerships were engaged in native seed development. Over 17 million sagebrush seedlings were grown and planted. Ultimately, over 10 million acres of land were restored to resiliency. Challenges to fully implement the Strategy continue to exist, such as the shortage of botanical expertise in both state and federal government agencies to drive the effective implementation of the Strategy and the shortage of farmers who want and know how to grow locally adapted native seed. Additionally, botanical education and training are declining at universities. However, we have reason to be hopeful here in the US. We are coordinating research-driven native seed production; we have the National Academy of Sciences conducting a National Assessment of Native Seed Needs and Capacities; and we have a United Nations’ Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. I anticipate more federal government agencies will be involved in implementing the Strategy; I anticipate more proactive communication on the Strategy, both internal to agencies and external to farmers and seed growers. Stronger collaboration and training are key to harnessing momentum to get the right seed in the right place at the right time.
Conference Presentation, SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program