The seed industry is no stranger to challenges, especially considering ever-changing government policies and shifting priorities. To navigate this complex landscape and thrive, professionals must continuously innovate and stay ahead of the curve.

One resource for achieving this is the Seed Management Academy at Purdue University, formerly known as the ASTA Management Academy. This specialized management workshop, offered in partnership with the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), is designed to enhance careers and address industry-specific challenges. Since its inception, the academy has hosted over 1,350 participants from 300 firms worldwide.

To shed some light on the academy’s impact, we spoke with Payton Englert, ASTA’s director of federal government affairs, who attended the academy last fall.

“The management academy opens your eyes to solutions that you might not think of in your normal day-to-day. They provide marketing strategies and ways to effectively communicate. The academy was really useful in opening my eyes to the bigger picture,” said Englert.

The academy is known for bringing together a diverse group of professionals and fostering a collaborative learning environment, which fosters innovation across the industry. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to the field, you’ll gain valuable knowledge and skills in areas such as marketing, finance, organizational leadership, supply chain, and strategic management.

“I think the most valuable part of the management academy was having the opportunity to interact with individuals from different seed companies, seed companies of different sizes, companies that provide all different types of seed, and those with different positions within their companies"

Year after year, participants praise the academy for its relevant content and engaging, interactive delivery.

“There was not a time where I wasn’t engaged and wasn’t excited to hear the next speaker present. No part of this was a drag. It was super jam packed with useful information that I was genuinely excited about. When you think of a traditional management academy, that might not always be the case,” Englert noted.

A unique feature of the program is its leadership exercises, which help participants understand their behavioral influences and measure their preferred approach to change. Many find these insights surprising and impactful, revealing how their styles might affect their teams and organizations.

“All around, it was an incredibly eye-opening experience,” said Englert.

For those considering whether to register or recommend the academy to a team member, Englert emphasizes its long-term benefits.

“[The academy] gives you invaluable knowledge that maybe would take years to gain through real-world experience. They’re giving you hands-on trainings and modules to go through. You’re getting to interact with folks from different seed companies and hear their perspectives and maybe hear perspectives from those who are in a completely different realm with the industry than you,” Englert stated.

In summary, the academy offers essential education and practical tools for a successful career in the seed industry. If you’re looking to advance your skills and make meaningful connections, this program is a worthwhile investment.

The next Seed Management Academy will take place from August 27-29, 2024, in West Lafayette, Indiana. To learn more and register, visit