I am your ASPB representative on CAST. CAST is the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology and is a non-profit organization composed of scientific societies, many individuals, students, companies, nonprofits, and associate scientific and industry society members. The primary work of CAST is to organize scientists to write papers on different important topics. CAST assembles, interprets, and communicates credible science-based information to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public.
CAST is an interesting organization because the papers that it sponsors are in many different areas including: animal sciences, food sciences, agricultural technology, plant and soil science, and plant protection. The communications produced each year cover most aspects of agriculture and take a number of different forms such as commentaries, issue papers and task force reports.
Each year there is an annual meeting for the board of representatives which are mainly scientists from participating organizations. This past year the meeting was held in Des Moines, Iowa which is where the CAST office is located. A new executive vice president just took the helm and so there was a strategic planning exercise as well as the normal business of discussing and mapping out a plan to tackle the writing of papers on important issues such as the regulatory environment in the USA and pollution due to fertilizer run off. This year the Plant group was energetic and came up with 6 ideas for papers that could be written throughout the year pending approval from various CAST committees.
The meetings are interesting to attend because of the diverse range of scientists and policy makers that attend. Multiple speakers also participate to discuss issues such as the use of social media to disseminate messages and the current regulatory environment as it applies to biotech crops is the US government. This year we were privileged to attend a dinner at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. This spectacular refurbished Carnegie Library in Des Moines is where the World Food Prize is awarded each year and is a stunning well-preserved architectural landmark steeped in agricultural history and art.
If you as a member of ASPB have idea for topics that CAST should consider writing papers or comments about please feel free to drop me an Email – Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org.