If your interest turns to agriculture in this the time of harvest in the Midwest you can’t help watching the large scale of American agriculture on the move when green and red equipment fills our collective food baskets on a global scale.  It’s also the time when our public interest is drawn to Nobel prize winners, and locally the World Food Prize Laureates and numerous ‘side’ meetings that celebrate many of the ways that science and technology contribute to our society, well being, and progress.  I attended some of these meetings and particularly enjoyed Dr. Kevin Folta, 2016 Borlaug CAST* communication award winner because his address highlighted the optimism of constructive use of science and technology to address global scale problems in a way that touches and develops the potential of individuals around the world.   (*Council of Agricultural Science and Technology).   I was proud to be involved if only as a witness to good work and success.

Yes, we can admit that we enjoy membership in numerous civic and professional organizations.   Among most professional organizations one common thread is maintaining an active, participative group of like-minded individuals—to put it bluntly membership.  Keeping an active and vibrant SIVB requires conscious effort, both from the officers of your society as well as from every member.  We are active in our favorite societies because of common interests, because we have something to gain either professionally or personally by being members and often because we’re personally acquainted with one and perhaps many others who share our interests.  Continuing membership is most often when there is something new to learn or do, when we can make an important contribution to our society and yes when we have been personally contacted to actively participate.

The technology base of our organization has never been more relevant than what we find today—our understanding of basic developmental biology from individual stem cells in both animals and plants has not only been observed and documented but can be manipulated through advanced techniques for creating desirable mutations, designing specific molecules to alleviate life threatening diseases, and in developing germ lines with novel traits and characteristics.  We’re truly on top of our game—and if you don’t believe me check the recent issues of our scientific journals!  The SIVB is truly unique because we bridge technology that spans both animals and plants in a relevant and timely manner.  Our Society has a membership with animal and plant research interests at a time when our scientific understanding is relevant across both plants and animals.  And we talk with each other frequently about common research whether it originated in the plant or animal kingdom.

The opportunities for networking and direct contact with colleagues and the leaders of this society are unequaled among professional societies.  During our annual meetings there are many opportunities for informal discussions and interaction from attending our famous ‘red eye’ early morning committee meetings, to poster sessions, or to student meetings in which outstanding science leaders personally interact with our student and other members.  And our reach is global since we have colleagues literally on every continent, from Des Moines, IA, to Waterloo, Ontario, to Osaka, Japan, or Rajasthan, India.

Membership also has tangible benefits that help you enjoy the society—with substantial discounts on our premier journals, publications, annual meeting registration, job placement, and direct participation in the committees that lead the future direction of the society.  Communicating with your friends at SIVB has become more user friendly with our society sponsored twitter account  @SIVBiology, two Facebook accounts:   https://www.facebook.com/SIVBiologyhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/89904016450/ and a discussion forum on our web site:  https://sivb.org/forum/.  I’d encourage each of you to reach out and comment on any issue that’s important to you in whatever venue works for you.

One last word about membership—nothing is more important or more effective in gaining new members for SIVB than personally talking or calling your colleagues about what we do and asking them to join the best and most interesting group of scientists on the planet.  To paraphrase an infamous quote “THIS IS HUGE”! 

Dwight Tomes
SIVB President


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