Gregory L. Lamka
Gregory Lamka has been quality supply technology manager in the Supply Management Department of Pioneer Hi-Bred Int., Inc., since 1993. He holds a B.S. degree in agronomy (1973) and M.S. (1986) and Ph.D. (1990) degrees in plant pathology, all from Iowa State University. Lamka has made outstanding contributions to the science and practice of plant pathology through his graduate research, his professional activities throughout his career with several seed companies, and his contributions to professional and trade societies, including APS.
Greg’s impact in the areas of seed quality and phytosanitation began as a graduate student at Iowa State University, where he developed an ELISA test for seedborne Erwinia stewartii. The test was licensed to Agdia by ISU and is used as the standard method around the world for phytosanitary testing. In his current role as quality supply manager at Pioneer Hi-Bred Int., Greg is responsible for quality assurance programs including ISO registrations related to phytosanitary compliance for movement of Pioneer seed. In addition, he develops and implements strategies for international phytosanitary reform. Through these efforts, Pioneer has upheld the highest quality standards and gained a solid reputation for ethics and responsibility in international seed movement, while maintaining an efficient process that brings the latest crop genetics to growers. He plays a key role in evaluating new seed treatment products offered by crop protection chemical manufacturers, and developing new seed treatment product implementation strategies and budgets, which includes maintaining seed treatment vendor relationships, confidentiality agreements, and research agreements. In this regard, Greg has been a major player in the widespread implementation of insecticidal seed treatments for corn. These products have been revolutionary; industry-wide, over the past 5 years, the use of insecticidal seed treatments in corn has increased from virtually nonexistent to approximately 70% (nearly 60 million acres) of corn planted in 2005. This represents added revenues of over $425 million for the industry. As crop protection chemical providers have developed very safe, cost-effective products, Pioneer, as the world’s top seed corn provider, has been well positioned to bring the products into the market place so that a maximum segment of corn growers can take advantage of the economic and safety benefits of controlling insects through seed-applied insecticides. Within Pioneer, these products have been implemented rapidly through a process led by Greg Lamka.
Greg’s responsibilities at Pioneer also include external interactions with regulatory agencies on a global basis, and through these duties he has assumed a leadership position in the seed industry on phytosanitary-related issues. The most notable accomplishment in this area was the formation of the National Seed Health System (NSHS). Greg chaired the joint working group between the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and USDA-APHIS for 7 years that formulated and implemented NSHS. This initiative allows private and governmental entities to become accredited to conduct phytosanitary inspections, seed health tests, draw official samples, and conduct visual inspections of international seed shipments. The initiative also has a process for standardization of seed health tests and other protocols needed for phytosanitary purposes. The USDA-APHIS requires that seed exported from the United States be tested using NSHS standardized methods; in fact, virtually all the corn and soybean seed and the majority of vegetable seed exported from the United States is now certified through NSHS-accredited organizations. For these activities, he received the ASTA President’s Distinguished Service Award in 2004. Greg’s other regulatoryrelated activities have benefited the entire seed industry. He has chaired the Field Crops Technical Subcommittee of ASTA which deals with international phytosanitary regulatory issues. He is a member of ASTA and the International Seed Federation (ISF) phytosanitary committees, which deal with phytosanitary testing and the free movement of seed in international markets. On behalf of these groups, he has traveled to many countries, meeting with their phytosanitary regulatory representatives to insure all regulations are based on sound scientific principles. He currently chairs the ISF International Seed Health Initiative for Field Crops, which is looking at standardization of seed health tests for field crops worldwide. As a member of the ISF-Seed Treatment and Environment Committee, he recently presented papers at seed treatment symposia in Chile and India, providing information on reduced pesticide use through seed treatments compared with banding or broadcast applications.
In addition to his role in the conception and implementation of NSHS, Greg has accepted a leadership role as presidentelect of the board of directors for the Iowa Seed Association, and he also serves on the Iowa State University Dean of Agriculture’s External Advisory Panel. Greg is a long-term APS member and currently is a member of the APS Seed Pathology Committee.