Bill Rooney stands in a grain sorghum field. - Kay Ledbetter/Texas A&M AgriLife
TSTA Weekly Update, 01/06/2022
Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association
Horseshoe Bay Resort
February 13-15, 2022
Texas Seed Trade Association Annual & Membership Meeting
The 2022 TSTA annual meeting will be February 13-15, at the Horseshoe Bay Resort near Marble Falls, TX. The activities begin Sunday, February 13th for the first Annual TSTA Cornhole Tournament the proceeds of which will be used to support our scholarship program through the TSTA Foundation. Beginning at 3:00PM the tournament is $100 to enter and $150 to watch. Some very nice prizes are included for the winners! The Super Bowl Party convenes just after the corn-hole tournament Sunday evening.
Monday, February 14th, there will be an installation of new officers; a review of the state of the organization; and interact with experts on a variety of subjects of interest to seed professionals. There will be a light continental breakfast Monday morning and a luncheon between the morning and afternoon sessions. The President & 1st Lady's Dinner and Auction will be enjoyable for all on Valentine's Day with spouse, guest, and friends.
The TSTA board of directors will meet on Tuesday morning the 15th. All members in good standing are invited to attend the board meeting.
Reservations may be made using the link below. Rooms may be available at the negotiated rate beyond the 15th check out. Please call the Resort at 877-611-0112 to inquire. Our room rate is quite favorable especially for a property of this distinction.
The second link is for meeting registration and the third provides some general information.
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!
1/6/2022 - If you have not updated your information please take a moment and do so now. We appreciate it!
Plan to Attend the Southern Seed Association Annual Meeting in Austin!
We will celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the SSA at the historic Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas, January 14-17, 2022!
President Mark Thomas is finalizing exciting plans for our long-awaited meeting. In addition to important business and industry networking, we’ll enjoy fellowship, fine dining, golf, shopping and entertainment. Details are forthcoming, but highlights include Saturday’s 4th Annual Tailgate & Welcome Reception, outstanding speakers during our business sessions, golfing, and first-class ladies’ entertainment. We will conclude our meeting with our President’s Reception, Banquet and annual SSA Scholarship Draw-Down on Monday evening.
Please mark your calendars and remember the value of SSA:
Our 16-state organization supports the greater causes of our industry in ways that no single company can do, while also providing a return-on-investment for your fees and contributions through industry communications, education, networking, marketing for your business and a political voice for common issues.
Thank you for your continued support of the SSA, and we look forward to seeing you all in Austin!
By Giulia Petroni, Dow Jones
BASF SE said Tuesday that it will launch a share buyback program of up to 3 billion euros ($3.40 billion), citing positive business development and divestitures last year.
The German chemicals conglomerate said the program should start this month and end by Dec. 31, 2023 at the latest. It is subject to a renewed authorization to repurchase own shares by the annual shareholders meeting scheduled for April 29.
All repurchased shares will be canceled and the share capital reduced accordingly.
BASF also said it will continue to prioritize organic growth in the use of capital, while acquisitions are currently less relevant for the company.
National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) reports:
The first week of the new year could be a big one for several agricultural groups and stakeholders.
The Supreme Court will likely hear several high-stakes cases that could affect America's farmers and ranchers. A DTN report says the court recently distributed three of four agriculture cases scheduled for a January 7 conference.
Those high-profile petitions include challenges to California's Prop 12, an appeals court ruling that eliminated year-round E15 ethanol, and a long-fought Clean Water Act case dealing with Environmental Protection Agency authority over farmers and ranchers.
Bayer has also filed a court petition on the Roundup settlement case that's worth many millions of dollars. While the case hasn't yet been distributed for a Supreme Court conference, the court recently invited the U.S. Solicitor General to file a brief in the case, asking for more information.
Justices hold a conference every Friday during their session to decide what petitions they'll accept.
Bayer plans to remove the active ingredient glyphosate from Round-Up herbicide sold to homeowners and non-professional applicators. The change will likely take place this year.
Alternatives to glyphosate are said to include acetic acid (vinegar) and pelargonic acid (an animal fat derivative). It is doubtful these ingredients will furnish the overall utility offered by glyphosate.
Glyphosate will remain the active ingredient contained in professional grade Round-Up.
Bioenergy sorghum’s roots can replenish carbon in soil - A new Texas A&M AgriLife study shows the annual crop can sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide
Texas A&M AgriLife news
The world faces an increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and a shortage of carbon in the soil. However, bioenergy sorghum can provide meaningful relief from both problems, according to a new study by Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists.
The study was recently published in GCB Bioenergy. According to the research, bioenergy sorghum hybrids capture and sequester significant amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide in soil. The crop can improve soil fertility and potentially earn carbon credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, the study shows that bioenergy sorghum’s unusually deep root system can reach sources of water and nutrients untapped by other annual crops. These results suggest the crop can help manage fertilizer runoff from other annuals in a crop rotation.
Mullet is an expert in bioenergy crops’ genomics, genetics and gene regulatory networks. Rooney spearheaded the development of bioenergy sorghum hybrids over the past 20 years. For the past 15 years, Rooney and Mullet have collaborated to develop bioenergy sorghum.
In fact, Mullet and Rooney have been working to improve bioenergy sorghum varieties to produce an ideal annual bioenergy crop. The hybrid used in the recent study creates high yields of biomass for fuel, power and bioproduct generation. The crop also has excellent drought resilience, good nitrogen-use efficiency and a deep root system.
“There is an assumption that the most sustainable bioenergy crops are perennial because they require fewer inputs and can sequester more biomass than annuals,” Rooney said. “Those statements are true, but U.S. agriculture always requires annual cropping varieties and options as well.”
Bill Rooney stands in a grain sorghum field. - Kay Ledbetter/Texas A&M AgriLife
New Benchmark For Carbon Credit Modeling, Soil Fertility
The study shows that an acre planted with a bioenergy sorghum hybrid accumulates about 3.1 tons of dry root biomass over the crop’s 155-day growing season. Bioenergy sorghum roots also grew to over 6.5 feet deep over their growing season.
These new metrics make it easier to predict how much atmospheric carbon dioxide might be captured inside roots. The numbers can also shed light on how many carbon credits a planted field might earn.
“Frankly, the numbers are quite favorable,” Rooney said.
The numbers are also important for understanding the crop’s potential to improve soil fertility and water-holding capacity by replenishing soil organic carbon. However, previous research has shown that in the U.S., soil organic carbon levels have fallen by 50% over the past 100 years in land planted with annual crops.
This drop in soil carbon levels could be due to cropping practices, microbial activity and changing land use, Rooney said. These complex factors mean that predicting how long it might take to replenish lost carbon requires sophisticated modeling. The restoration process is likely to take many decades.
“For modeling, they need to have a realistic number to start with,” Rooney said. “We haven’t historically had enough info to do that, but this study provides a benchmark for scientists and policymakers.”
Need For Further Research
In this study, Rooney and his team managed the field trials and helped with phenotyping. Mullet and his team characterized the root system and the genes expressed within.
Over multiple years, the study considered in-depth how one bioenergy sorghum hybrid interacts with two soil types, Rooney said. He stresses the need to conduct further research.
“In this study, we didn’t sample the genetic diversity of bioenergy sorghum at all, except for one standard type,” Rooney said. “And looking at multiple environments and expanding the range of we are evaluating is essential.”
Bioenergy Sorghum As Part Of A Sustainable Bioenergy Production System
Modeling studies estimate that millions of acres of abandoned and marginal cropland in the U.S. are available for planting. Many of those acres are in the Gulf Coast region. The region is ideal for bioenergy sorghum production because of ample rainfall, long growing seasons and low competition with grain crops, Mullet said. Furthermore, the crop has improved over the years in terms of productivity, resilience and composition, thanks to Mullet’s and Rooney’s efforts.
“Recently, I’ve decided the most important thing we can do is continue research on bioenergy sorghum optimization, but also to help design and build biorefineries that will process materials from the crop in a way that’s optimal,” Mullet said.
Carbon captured in biofuels and bioproducts at biorefineries, and by bioenergy sorghum roots could generate carbon credits, potentially benefiting producers and industry.
Yet despite the Gulf Coast’s excellent potential for biofuels production, there are no bioenergy research centers and very few biorefineries in the region, Mullet said.
Therefore, Mullet is now working to attract industry and government funding to help build the next generation of biorefineries designed to use bioenergy sorghum biomass for the production of biofuels, bioproducts and biopower.
“The project has expanded to not just producing biofuels and bioproducts, but also directly capturing carbon and sequestering it,” he said.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES PLAN FOR A FAIRER, MORE COMPETITIVE, MORE RESILIENT MEAT AND POULTRY SUPPLY CHAIN
Source: The White House news release
In July, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy to create a fairer, more resilient, and more dynamic economy. Over the last few decades, we've seen too many industries become dominated by a handful of large companies that control most of the business and most of the opportunities-raising prices and decreasing options for American families, while also squeezing out small businesses and entrepreneurs.
The meat and poultry processing sector is a textbook example, with lack of competition hurting consumers, producers, and our economy.
Four large meat-packing companies control 85 percent of the beef market. In poultry, the top four processing firms control 54 percent of the market. And in pork, the top four processing firms control about 70 percent of the market. The meatpackers and processors buy from farmers and sell to retailers like grocery stores, making them a key bottleneck in the food supply chain.
When dominant middlemen control so much of the supply chain, they can increase their own profits at the expense of both farmers-who make less-and consumers-who pay more. Most farmers now have little or no choice of buyer for their product and little leverage to negotiate, causing their share of every dollar spent on food to decline. Fifty years ago, ranchers got over 60 cents of every dollar a consumer spent on beef, compared to about 39 cents today. Similarly, hog farmers got 40 to 60 cents on each dollar spent 50 years ago, down to about 19 cents today.
Even as farmers' share of profits have dwindled, American consumers are paying more-with meat and poultry prices now the single largest contributor to the rising cost of food people consume at home.
Editor's Note: Remember that the Biden administration has also voiced intentions to "look into how the seed market works" as well. It can't help but remind us of one of our favorite memes about the federal government - "If you think problems we create are bad just wait until you see our solutions."
USDA: THE DISTRIBUTION OF IRRIGATED ACREAGE HAS SHIFTED EASTWARD
Regional distribution of U.S. irrigated acreage changed significantly from 1949 to 2017. Trends in irrigated cropping patterns, technological advances, water availability, and changing growing-season weather drove this evolution. The arid Mountain and Pacific regions consistently irrigated the most farmland until 2007, when irrigated acreage in the Northern Plains region surpassed acreage in the Pacific region.
Irrigated acreage in the Mountain and Pacific regions remained relatively constant over the 70-year period, despite increasingly limited opportunities for additional water development and increasing competition for water from non-agricultural sectors. The Northern Plains region has experienced the most substantial increase in irrigated acreage, expanding from less than 2 million acres in 1949 to nearly 12 million acres in 2017.
The expansion of irrigated acreage in the Northern Plains is related to advances in groundwater pumping technologies, the diffusion of center pivot irrigation application systems, and the region's abundant aquifer resources. The Southern Plains region experienced similar growth in irrigation until the 1980s, when dwindling groundwater supplies resulted in irrigated acreage declines.
The Mississippi Delta and Southeast regions also have expanded irrigated acreage since 1949 reflecting, in part, changing cropping patterns, abundant aquifer water supplies, and producer responsiveness to changing precipitation levels during growing seasons. This chart was drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service report Trends in U.S. Irrigated Agriculture: Increasing Resilience Under Water Supply Scarcity, published December 2021.
Australian OGTR - Receipt of licence application from The University of Queensland for a field trial of genetically modified sorghum
Office of the Gene Technology Regulator release
The Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) has received a licence application (DIR 189) from The University of Queensland to conduct a field trial with genetically modified (GM) sorghum with an asexual seed formation trait. A summary of the application is posted on our website (search for DIR 189).
The trial is proposed to take place between September 2022 and June 2025, on one site with a maximum area of one hectare per season. The trial site is located at the University of Queensland’s Gatton Campus in the Lockyer Valley LGA in Queensland. The trial would be subject to control measures that restrict the spread and persistence of the GM plants and their introduced genetic material. The GM sorghum would not be used for human food or animal feed.
The OGTR is preparing a Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan for the application. This is expected to be released for public comment and advice from experts, agencies and authorities in early April 2022. There will be at least 30 days for submission of comments.
If you have any questions or would like to receive a copy of the full application or the summary, please contact the OGTR and quote the reference number DIR 189.