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TSTA Weekly Update

Aug 31

TSTA Weekly Update, 08/31/2023


Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association

Member News

 

Our Amarillo Sod Poodles rain-out last month has been rescheduled! Friday September 15, dinner at 6:30PM to 7:30PM. Your Sod Poodles take on the Frisco Roughriders at 7:05PM. The Sod Poodles are HOT right now and look like they are going to stay hot so plan on attending with your fellow seed professionals.

 

We were, originally, scheduled for a club box when our game was rained out last month. Unfortunately all the boxes are booked the reminder of the year so we've moved to the picnic area. This area is "outside" but is shaded and should be very comfortable. The good news is we went from being able to accommodate 25 people to 35 people. This is first reserved - first dibs so please let the TSTA staff know your intentions. Plan to bring some of your own people and meet with your friendly competitors at this fun event!

 

TSTA staff will be unable to join you but we scarcely think that will dampen anything and we're hopeful Mother Nature won't dampen anything this time either. Food is included and the first 35 get free admission to the game. We're working on getting your first couple of drinks covered by the association at the game. Looks like we're going to be able to do that!

 

Reserve your spot(s) today! It's pretty easy; reply to this email or call 512-944-5052. There is still space available!

 

Join the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) this December 5 - 8, 2023 at our NEW venue, the Hyatt Regency Orlando, for the Field Crop Seed Convention, an unparalleled seed business networking and educational opportunity. Gathering over 2,000 attendees from 36 countries, the Field Crop Seed Convention (formerly known as the CSS & Seed Expo) is THE place to see and be seen amongst the global community of companies working in all field crops, from corn and soybean, to wheat, rice, cotton, sorghum and so much more. Now in Orlando, after 77 years in Chicago, our new venue offers any and all seed industry stakeholders a wealth of new opportunities, in a central hub of exhibits, sessions and private meeting rooms all in one combined meeting space area. 

 

You don't want to miss this year. Make plans now to join us in Orlando and bring the family along too, for their own special options!



Visit the conference home page to learn more

 

The 35th Annual Texas Plant Protection Conference will be December 5 & 6 at the Brazos Center in Bryan, Texas. Click here for more info and to register

 

The Western Seed Association annual meeting is now accepting registrations. Click here to register.

A new wheat variety available for licensing.

 

TX17D2337 comes from the cross between LA04041D-63 (AGS2060/GA951079A25) and NC09-22206 (NC00-16203 // P26R24 / NC96-13965). TX17D2337 is a medium maturity, awned, white-glumed soft red winter wheat (SRWW) and is a below average height line with semi-erect early growth. It has a green color and semi-erect heads at maturity. The seed are red and soft-textured. TX17D2337 is medium maturing SRWW (106 d) in the 2021-2022 Texas A&M Soft Wheat Variety Trial similar to ‘Dyna-Gro 9811’ and ‘AGS 2055’ but was later than ‘GW 6000’ and earlier then ‘WB 2606’. TX17D2337 is a semi-dwarf wheat with below average height at 28.6 inches tall. AGS 2055 is taller while WB 2606 is shorter.

 

Please click here for more information and a request for proposals from Texas A&M AgriLife Foundation Seed.

In an effort to update and maintain our membership records we request you take a few moments and fill out the very brief info request at the following link.

 

https://forms.gle/SC6QDSgqUVixUqAo8

 

The link is secure and the information will be used internally by the Texas Seed Trade Association and never shared without your permission. This request is on behalf of your association's board of directors and officers and we greatly appreciate your cooperation. Thank you!

 

8/31/2023 - If you have not updated your information please take a moment and do so now. We appreciate it! We continue to update this database and need your input!

Texas Department of Agriculture standing up to the US EPA.

Editor, TSTA Weekly Update

 

Earlier this week the State of Texas and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) reacted to US EPA issuance of new rules for the enforcement of Waters of the US (WOTUS). For those following the WOTUS issue, either the frequent updates contained in this newsletter or another souce, you're familiar with the history, and over-reach, of this act. Beginning in the Obama years, the US EPA, in concert with the US Army Corps of Engineers, proposed to extend federal jurisdiction over virtually every waterway and body of water in the US.

 

WOTUS extends control from "navigable" waterways to any body of water connected to, or having potential to connect to, other bodies of water. This has been interpreted to include playa lakes on the Texas High Plains. Enforcement actions have been taken against landowners with intermittent creeks (wet weather creeks) on private property who attempted to construct modest containment for watering livestock. It's one of the most burdensome federal overreaches of all time according to many sources ranging from cattle growers organizations to national farmer and commodity organizations.

 

Under President Trump WOTUS went away but one of the current administrations first actions was to reinstate WOTUS - with a vengeance. Remember the article just last week that was in this very spot regarding public comment? Well, the EPA simply by-passed that little requirement and issued new regulations. We suppose they felt that had already "done" that back during the Obama administration - which in a manner of speaking is true. However, the roll-out of WOTUS this time around contains significant differences with the first go-round and hence require a new round of public perusal.

 

Earlier this week TDA Commissioner Sid Miller issued this statement:

 

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule on an amended Waters of the United States (WOTUS) implementation program. The “final” rule was published without input from citizens after the EPA bypassed standard public comment period.

 

“It is outrageous that the EPA is immediately implementing the WOTUS rule without formal public input from the people. They are cramming this down the throats of farmers and ranchers across the country. The Texas Department of Agriculture has prior legal rulings that prohibit this overreach from being enforced in our great state,” Commissioner Miller said.

 

On March 19, 2023, in Texas, et al v. EPA, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued an order enjoining the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the WOTUS rule in Texas. This means the court order will stay in effect, thanks to the work of TDA and others.

 

Commissioner Miller added “Today’s amendments claim to conform the WOTUS rule to legal precedent, but they don’t come close to fixing the problems this rule presents to agriculture. The negative impacts of this rule are still tremendous. We will continue to fight for the rights of farmers and ranchers.”

 

The following is from the Texas Attorney General's Office. It indicates some aspects of the current WOTUS that are more favorable than previous incantations but some areas are perhaps more onerous than before. Stay tuned this is a long way from over.

 

Now that we’ve had a little time to review the rule, I wanted to provide our initial thoughts on the new rule versus our MSJ.  The good news is that the new rule does away with the significant nexus standard and limits wetlands to those with a “continuous surface connection.” There are a few areas argued in our MSJ that are not addressed in the new rule that we wanted to provide to help inform your review.

 

  1. Relatively Permanent Standard (used for (a)(3) tributaries, and (a)(5) other jurisdictional waters). The agencies kept the standard as it was in the 2023 Rule. This means that there is no definition of “relatively permanent,” just the discussion in the preamble. The term “seasonally” is undefined (its 3-months under the current implementation) and the standard includes “tributaries in which extended periods of standing or continuously flowing water are not linked to naturally recurring annual or seasonal cycles,” as well as flows driven by water management practices and effluent-dependent.

 

  1. Interstate Waters. The new rule does away with “interstate wetlands” but keeps “interstate waters,” which could theoretically include ephemeral streams that cross state lines. This category was addressed by Judge Brown in the PI. (editor's note: PI is "preliminary injunction.")

 

  1. Impoundments. If the preamble holds, federal jurisdiction will extend to impoundments “regardless of the water’s jurisdictional status at the time the impoundment was created” and, theoretically, to off-channel impoundments (“an impoundment with no outlet or hydrologic connection to the tributary network”).

 

  1. Notice and comment. The new rule was promulgated without following notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act. The federal agencies contend that “because the sole purpose of this rule is to amend these specific provisions of the 2023 Rule to conform with Sackett, and such conforming amendments do not involve the exercise of the agencies’ discretion, providing advance public notice and seeking comment is unnecessary,” citing 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). Relatedly, the federal agencies rely on the severability provision in the 2023 rule that was not listed in the proposed rule, so we may want to add an APA notice-and-comment/ logical outgrowth challenge to address this component. 

 

  1. Remedy. All in all, the new rule seems to be an improvement to both 2023 rule and the pre-2015 regime. Accordingly, one element we are considering is the relief we plan to seek. Right now, we seek remand and vacatur. But if the new rule is an improvement on what the federal agencies are currently implementing, we may want to ask for remand without vacatur. (editor's note: "vacatur" is Latin for "it is vacated" or cancelled.)

 

Although we do not need new referral letters, we’d like to touch base with each of the client agencies in the next week or week after. Before then, we’d appreciate your prompt review and analysis of the rule including, but not limited to, the considerations we listed above. 

 

J. Amber Ahmed (Office of Attorney General)

 

And FYI

 

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on the Biden Administration's revised Waters of the U.S. Rule.

 

"EPA had a golden opportunity to write a Waters of the U.S. Rule that's fair to farmers and stands the test of time, but instead chose to continue government overreach and revise only a small slice of the rule that was rejected by the Supreme Court.

 

"We're pleased the vague and confusing 'significant nexus' test has been eliminated as the Supreme Court dictated. But EPA has ignored other clear concerns raised by the Justices, 26 states, and farmers across the country about the rule's failure to respect private property rights and the Clean Water Act.

 

"Farmers and ranchers share the goal of protecting the resources they're entrusted with. They deserve a rule that respects farmers as partners in that effort."

 

And (there are lots of others but Farm Bureau and Ag Retailers are a good sample)

 

Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) President & CEO Daren Coppock released the following statement expressing serious concern with the final "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) rule announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers:

 

"ARA is extremely disappointed in the missed opportunity by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to follow the law and direction of the U.S. Supreme Court following the Sackett v. EPA decision to clearly define the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

 

"The agencies failed to fully address all of the issues raised by the Supreme Court without adequately engaging impacted stakeholders and state agencies serving as co-regulators. Repeating mistakes will only lead to the continuation of flawed, unworkable regulations that will be litigated in the federal courts.

 

"ARA and other impacted stakeholders from the agricultural industry remain interested and able to work with the agencies on regulations that follow both the spirit and intent of the court."

News Bits

 

The USDA's national good to excellent ratings for corn and soybeans declined slightly over the past week. That followed some extremely hot temperatures and dry conditions in many key growing areas. Forecasts for this week generally have only scattered rainfall and a return to high temperatures by Labor Day weekend.

 

As of Sunday, 56% of U.S. corn is in good to excellent condition, 2% less than last week, with 88% at the dough making stage, 51% dented, and 9% mature, all slightly ahead of the respective five-year averages.

 

58% of soybeans are good to excellent, 1% lower, with 91% at the pod setting stage and 5% dropping leaves, both close to average.

 

37% of spring wheat is called good to excellent, down 1%, with 54% harvested, compared to the normal rate of 63%.

 

45% of the sorghum crop is in good to excellent shape, a drop of 6%, with 22% mature and 17% harvested, both slightly slower than usual.

 

33% of cotton is reported as good to excellent, unchanged, with 90% setting bolls and 25% of bolls opening, matching the five-year averages.

 

73% of rice is good to excellent, 5% higher, with 96% headed, steady with the typical rate, and 25% harvested, ahead of average.

 

36% of U.S. pastures and rangelands are rated good to excellent, 1% lower than last week.

 

The USDA's weekly crop progress and condition reports run through the end of November.

 

National Oilseed Processors Association news release

 

The National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) and the United Soybean Board (USB) released a study that showed the total economic impact on the U.S. economy from the soybean sector averaged $124 billion.

 

"As indicated by this study's findings, the economic contributions of the soybean processing and refining sectors to the U.S. economy are substantial, connecting soybean farmers with end users," said Thomas Hammer, NOP president. "Soybean processors convert soybeans into meal and oil. These value-added products are used in food, feed, industrial products and biofuels, supporting billions of dollars in domestic wages and tens of thousands of good paying jobs in the United States."

 

This 33-page study analyzes the soybean value chain's impact on the U.S. economy based on data from crop years 2019/20 to 2021/22. As highlighted in the report summary, during this period:

 

*The total economic impact on the U.S. economy from the soybean sector averaged $124 billion, including $85.7 billion from soy production and $9.8 billion from soybean processing -- the U.S. soy sector accounts for approximately 0.6% of the U.S. gross domestic product.

 

*There are more than 500,000 individuals involved in soy farm decision making. This includes 223,000 paid, full-time equivalent jobs and an additional 62,000 family members, beyond growers, who reside on farms and are integral to soybean farming operations.

 

*The total wage impact of the sector averaged $10 billion.

SENATE LEADER SAYS FARM BILL WILL BE LATE, EXPECTS EXTENSION OF CURRENT BILL

By Ellyn Ferguson, Roll Call

 

Congress will still deliver a farm bill but it won't be in September, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told the Kentucky Farm Bureau on Thursday, voicing what was already looking inevitable as Congress runs out of legislative days left before the Sept. 30 expiration of the current law.

 

McConnell, a Senate Agriculture Committee member, is the most prominent lawmaker to date to say the timeline is shifting to beyond September for reauthorizing the five-year bill that sets policy for farm, conservation, nutrition, research and other areas overseen by the Agriculture Department.

 

"We'll figure it out," McConnell said.

 

The current bill expires on Sept. 30, but the new deadline for a 2023 farm bill appears to be Dec. 31. On Jan. 1, 2024, some farm policy would revert to controls on production and costly price supports adopted in the 1940s.

 

To read the entire report click here.

Factoids

 

Brazil surpasses US in corn and soybean exports

by Keith Good, University of Illinois' FarmDoc project

 

Bloomberg writers Michael Hirtzer and Dominic Carey reported today that, "For more than half a century, U.S. farmers dominated the international market for corn, shipping more of the critical crop than any other country to feed the world's livestock, fill its stockpiles and manufacture its processed foods.

 

"No more. In the agricultural year ending Aug. 31, the U.S. handed the corn-exporting crown to Brazil. And it might never get it back.

 

"In the 2023 harvest year, the U.S. will account for about 23% of global corn exports, well below Brazil's nearly 32%, US Department of Agriculture data show. Brazil is seen holding onto its lead in the 2024 planting year that begins Sept. 1, too. Only once in data going back to the Kennedy administration did America drop out of first place before: for a single year in 2013 following a devastating drought.

 

The U.S. corn-exporting industry has never before spent two back-to-back years in second place -- until now.

 

Hirtzer and Carey pointed out that, "Losing its lead in corn exports may feel familiar to American farmers, who in the last decade have also relinquished the top spot in both soybean and wheat exports."

 

The Bloomberg article explained that, "To be sure, the shift in corn shipments isn't all that unexpected: For years, the federal government has been incentivizing the use of domestically grown corn for ethanol, which is added to gasoline. About 40% of US corn goes to supply domestic mills making ethanol for use as a transportation fuel -- though that demand will be at risk as more electric vehicles hit the road. When mills aren't buying, the US corn crop can also be stored in massive silos or grain elevators for future use for years at a time, awaiting better prices."

 

To read the entire article click here.

 

USDA TO MAKE AVAILABLE $266 MILLION TO HELP FARMERS AND RANCHERS LOWER ENERGY COSTS

Source: USDA news release

 

WASHINGTON, - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is awarding $266 million in loans and grants to agriculture producers and rural small businesses to make investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that will lower their energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen the resilience of their operation. This funding is made possible in part by President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, the nation's largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis.

 

"Creating opportunity for rural communities means investing in farmers, ranchers, and small businesses," Secretary Vilsack said. "A key pillar of Bidenomics, President Biden's Investing in America agenda is ensuring our producers and business owners are not only a part of the clean energy economy but are directly benefitting from it. These once-in-a-generation investments in renewable energy, like wind and solar, and energy efficient technologies create new markets and deliver real cost savings for our small and mid-sized agricultural operations and Main Street businesses, building and keeping wealth in rural America."

 

For more information, read full NEWS RELEASE.

 

Editor's Note: One of two things are happening. Either the USDA has not, historically, issued much press on programs giving millions of dollars away, or, the USDA is giving millions upon millions of dollars away rather suddenly and issuing plenty of press releases to advertise that fact.

 

Every week, for going on 16 years, we've gleaned the press releases carefully for news that might be of interest to you. In the last two years the USDA has made unprecedented funds available for all manner of "developmental" purposes - none directly benefiting our members though.

 

In a classic case of the student surpassing the teacher, Total Acre grower Alex Harrell of Smithville, Ga. has bested the current soybean yield record holder, Randy Dowdy. Harrell has established a new world soybean yield record at an astonishing 206.7997 bu/ac.

 

With a goal of raising 200 bu/ac, Harrell was looking to push his field's potential. And with the help of his crop consultant, Caleb Traugh, he did that and more. They formulated the perfect plan and executed it to perfection, making only a few alterations when tissue samples revealed specific nutrient demands.

 

Harrell called it a testament to the Total Acre grower camps led by Randy Dowdy and David Hula and their pay-it-forward approach to crop production strategies.

 

"Randy Dowdy truly set the bar and gave me something to chase," said Harrell. "He made me realize that it was possible to achieve record yields here in Georgia."

 

Harrell and his father strive to make the most of their acres using learnings from Total Acre camps. To pair population and variety, they planted AG 48X9 coated in their standard practice seed treatment with the addition of BRANDT Seed Zone Zn. They planted on 30" row width. Despite their prayers for good weather, the Harrell farm received a packing rain shortly after planting, resulting in a final stand of 77,000. Mother Nature threw another setback at the crop with a 10-day flooding rain in early June. From there, the crop saw ideal weather the rest of the way.

 

As the season progressed, Harrell realized the potential of his crop. Initially predicting at least 150 bu/ac soybeans, the Georgia farmer began to understand the crop's potential after he desiccated it and saw pod load and bean size. Still uncertain he would best Dowdy's yield record of 191 bu/ac, Harrell knew he had something special. After celebrating his record with his father, Harrell said he wanted his first phone call to be to Randy Dowdy to share the news personally.

 

Editor's note: Simply had to include this. Not very long ago a 207 bu/A corn yield was the subject of local coffee shop talk and then some. This editor remembers very well the first field of soybeans he had anything to do with (I scouted it for the season on a weekly basis) went over 60 bu/A. It was astonishing and impressive back in 1980. It's almost hard to imagine over 200 bu soybeans. Wow.

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The articles, views, and opinions expressed in the Weekly Update do not necessarily reflect the policies of the Texas Seed Trade Association or the opinions of its members.