Source: House Committee on Agriculture news release
WASHINGTON, DC - December 8, the House Republican Steering Committee elected Congressman Glenn "GT" Thompson (PA-15) as Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture for the 118th Congress. Mr. Thompson will be the first Chairman from Pennsylvania in nearly 170 years. After the vote, Mr. Thompson issued the following statement:
"I am honored to lead the Committee on Agriculture and build on the accomplishments of the past two years as Ranking Member. The political landscape in Washington may be fractured, but as Chairman, I will prioritize the needs of our producers and rural communities-the backbone of this country.
"We will keep our foot on the gas to deliver principled solutions, robust oversight, and a Farm Bill that is responsive to the needs of the country's farmers, ranchers, and foresters."
National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) reports:
Americans are paying up to 40 percent more for their vegetables than in 2021, and drought is a big reason for the price hike.
A new report from Daily Mail says the increase is due, in large part, to states that grow fresh produce getting hit with water cuts because of droughts and storms destroying some crops as well. For example, Arizona produces 90 percent of the leafy greens in the U.S. and experienced its worst drought in 1,200 years.
Water levels in the Colorado River are dramatically low, cutting down on the amount of water available to farmers. No relief is coming for Arizona's farmers as officials will cut Arizona's water intake from the Colorado River by 21 percent starting on January 1, 2023.
The nation's top agricultural state, California, is also getting hurt by severe drought.
The biggest increase was a 38 percent jump in the price of fresh and dry vegetables.
by Jim Wiesemeyer, AgWeb.com
Mexico economy minister signals new decree coming for GMO imports; U.S. meeting could happen next week.
Mexican Secretary of Economy Raquel Buenrostro told reporters in Mexico Wednesday the decree to bar imports of GMO crops into Mexico will be pushed back to 2025, adding the country is looking to put together a plan that will "make clearer" the presidential decree.
"Right now, we are working here within the government to make this new decree and present it," she said, adding that U.S. and Mexican officials could meet December 16 to discuss the new proposals from Mexico.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said, after meeting with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Mexico would allow imports of GMO yellow corn for animal feed over the next two years while the government studies any potential impacts on human health.
Estimates are that 18% to 20% of U.S. corn to Mexico is white corn for food use while the remainder of nearly 18 million tonnes in corn imports are yellow corn imported for animal feed.
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Researchers identify elusive carbon dioxide sensor in plants that controls water loss
University of California at San Diego release
Surprised biologists discover how two proteins work together to form long-sought plant water loss-regulating sensor, carrying implications for trees, crops and wildfires
More than 50 years, ago researchers discovered that plants can sense carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations. As CO2 levels change, “breathing” pores in leaves called stomata open and close, thus controlling evaporation of water, photosynthesis and plant growth. Plants lose more than 90% of their water by evaporation through stomata. The regulation of stomatal pore openings by CO2 is crucial for determining how much water plants lose, and is critical due to increased carbon dioxide effects on climate and water resources in a warming world.
But identifying the carbon dioxide sensor and explaining how it operates within plants has remained a longstanding puzzle.
UC San Diego biologists have unlocked the puzzle of how plants sense carbon dioxide, a key function as plants respond to climate in a warming world. iStock.com/mariaflaya
Using a mix of tools and research approaches, scientists at the University of California San Diego recently achieved a breakthrough in identifying the long-sought CO2 sensor in Arabidopsis plants and unraveled its functioning parts. UC San Diego project scientist Yohei Takahashi, School of Biological Sciences
Distinguished Professor Julian Schroeder and their colleagues identified the CO2 sensor mechanism and detailed its genetic, biochemical, physiological and predicted structural properties. Their results are published December 7 in Science Advances.
Since the stomatal pores control plant water loss, the sensor is vital for water management and holds implications for climate-induced drought, wildfires and agricultural crop management.
“For each carbon dioxide molecule taken in, a typical plant loses some 200 to 500 water molecules to evaporation through the stomatal pores,” said Schroeder, Novartis Chair and faculty member in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. “The sensor is extremely relevant because it recognizes when CO2 concentrations go up and determines how much water a plant loses as carbon dioxide is taken in.”
One critical surprise from the new research was the composition of the sensor. Rather than tracing it to a single source or protein, the researchers found that the sensor operates through two plant proteins working together. These were identified as 1) a “high leaf temperature1” protein kinase known as HT1 and 2) specific members of a mitogen-activated protein kinase family, or “MAP” kinase enzyme, known as MPK4 and MPK12.
“Our findings reveal that plants sense changes in CO2 concentration by the reversible interaction of two proteins to regulate stomatal movements,” said Takahashi, who is now based at the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules, Japan. “This could provide us a new plant engineering and chemical target towards efficient plant water use and CO2 uptake from the atmosphere.”
The team’s findings, which have been filed in a UC San Diego patent, could lead to innovations in efficient water use by plants as CO2 levels rise.
“This finding is relevant for crops but also for trees and their deep roots that can dry out soils if there’s no rain for long periods, which can lead to wildfires,” said Schroeder. “If we can use this new information to help trees respond better to increases in CO2 in the atmosphere, it’s possible they would more slowly dry out the soil. Similarly, the water use efficiency of crops could be improved—more crop per drop.”
To further explore their sensor discovery, the researchers collaborated with graduate student Christian Seitz and Professor Andrew McCammon in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Using cutting-edge techniques, Seitz and McCammon created a detailed model of the intricate structure of the sensor. The model implicated areas where genetic mutations have been known to restrict the ability of plants to regulate transpiration in response to carbon dioxide.
The new imagery showed that the mutants cluster in an area where the two sensor proteins, HT1 and MPK, come together.
“If we can use this new information to help trees respond better to increases in CO2 in the atmosphere, it’s possible they would more slowly dry out the soil. Similarly, the water use efficiency of crops could be improved—more crop per drop.”
— Professor Julian Schroeder
Working with colleagues in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UC San Diego biologists unraveled the predicted structure of the newly discovered plant carbon dioxide sensor. The left section (A) depicts the MPK4 – HT1 complex (MPK highlighted in red; HT1 in blue) and the right (B) section reveals the MPK12 – HT1 complex. The highlighted amino acid residues (yellow, gray, light blue and green) show mutations that disrupt the sensor function. Credit: McCammon Lab, UC San Diego
“This work is a wonderful example of curiosity-driven research that brings together several disciplines—from genetics to modeling to systems biology—and results in new knowledge with the ability to aid society, in this case by making more robust crops,” said Matthew Buechner, a program director in the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Biological Sciences, which supported the research.
The paper’s full author list: Yohei Takahashi, Krystal Bosmans, Po-Kai Hsu, Karnelia Paul, Christian Seitz, Chung-Yueh Yeh, Yuh-Shuh Wang, Dmitry Yarmolinsky, Maija Sierla, Triin Vahisalu, J. Andrew McCammon, Jaakko Kangasjarvi, Li Zhang, Hannes Kollist, Thien Trac and Julian I. Schroeder.
An article of interest on the subject of Intellectual Property. Download and read at your leisure but we are very interested in your opinions so please let us know! It is from APBREBES - Association for Plant Breeding for the Benefit of Society*
Related news: the Supreme Court of Honduras just found their PVP laws unconstitutional.
Texas researchers say they’ll have new hemp varieties ready by 2024
as appeared in Hemp Today
Researchers in Texas have embarked on an ambitious project to develop hemp varieties for dual cropping of fiber and grain that can thrive in the state’s climate conditions. Ten to 20 varieties are expected to be developed by the beginning of 2024, and the goal is to release another 20-50 a year later, under a program at Texas A&M University.
The challenge is to develop cultivars that are heat and drought-stress tolerant and express less than 0.3% THC, the federal limit that defines industrial hemp from marijuana, according to Russ Jessup, a hemp breeding specialist in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M AgriLife Research, a part of the University’s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.
Filling a gap
“We’re trying to fill a gap that has not yet been served to the breeding programs in the southern U.S.,” Jessup said of the two-year research initiative that is developing the germplasm collection under a two-year grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“There’s been no breeding work on cannabis in Texas for more than 60 years because it was banned,” Jessup said, adding that the newly formed U.S. National Plant Germplasm System collection currently includes only a handful of industrial hemp varieties, none of which are fiber or grain types.
Out of the zone
Southern U.S. states and countries further south through the equator zone have struggled to find hemp varieties that will flourish in hot, humid conditions and still meet rules governing maximum amounts of THC. Fiber and grain hemp varieties most commonly planted in North America come from Europe, and are best adapted to regions in states across the U.S. Midwest and West, and north into Canada. A similar “hemp zone” runs through southern global latitudes past the equator.
Cannabinoid, fiber and grain varieties that have been planted in Texas flowered too early, or exceeded the federal limit for THC in hemp plants of 0.3%, Jessup said.
In addition to overcoming the challenge of early flowering, Jessup said the researchers strive to develop new varieties that will produce uniform crops, which has proven a problem with hemp trialed so far in Texas. Jessup said seeds from Europe, Australia, China, Colorado and Oregon have been planted in the state, most of that for CBD flowers.
“If you can overcome adaptation and uniformity, I think the farmers and the markets will follow,” Jessup said.
Researchers at Texas A&M have already developed heat-and drought-tolerant hemp strains. Jessup said the grant project will put the pollen from proven hemp varieties onto those strains, which are always THC compliant, “and take the progeny and force them to hybridize with themselves.” The proven varieties could be from anywhere in the world, Jessup said.
All the potential genetic releases will be studied at locations in north, central and south Texas, as far south as Weslaco, which borders northern Mexico to the west.
“We will span most of the latitude of Texas at these three sites, evaluating lines for their performance. When we do that, we should be able to recommend where they should or should not be grown based on that latitude,” Jessup said.
Developing hemp varieties that produce only fiber and grain – with little to no cannabinoid content can be a “game changer” in Texas,” according to Jessup. “If you know where to grow it, how much water is required, when it’s appropriate to plant, and when not to push it too far with deficit irrigation or with trying to raise it dryland, and if you appreciate agronomics, I think it’s going to be a great crop,” he said.