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First Place Team "Care Less" Cole Young, Bag Supply Co., and Chuck Cielencki, Scott Seed CompanyFirst Place Team "Care Less" Cole Young, Bag Supply Co., and Chuck Cielencki, Scott Seed Company

Feb 17

TSTA Weekly Update, 02/17/2020

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association
Member News
Horseshoe Bay Resort
February 13-15, 2022
´╗┐Texas Seed Trade Association Annual & Membership Meeting was an outstanding success; ask anyone who was there if they thought it worth their while.
The quality of our speakers was outstanding. Thank you very much to Dr. Bill Rooney, Tillery Sims, Dr. David Baltensperger, Randy Rivera, and Representative James White.
The Corn Hole Tournament was extremely popular finishing well before halftime at our Super Bowl Party. The results were:
First Place Team "Care Less" Cole Young, Bag Supply Co., and Chuck Cielencki, Scott Seed Company
Second Place winners "Team CornHole" Barry Kriegshauser, Scott Seed Company, and Eric Patton, Nufarm Americas.
Third place Team "Amateur Corn Stars" Rusty Smallwood, Warner Seed Co. and Luke Turner, Turner Seed Company.
Thank you to all who attended and participated in the charitable fundraising for our TSTA Foundation educational efforts and scholarship fund! You made a difference; between the Corn Hole Tournament and the raffle at the President's Dinner, we added over $3600 to the scholarship fund!
A big thank you to Rusty and Rebecca Smallwood for organizing and running the Corn Hole Tournament! And a big thank you to all who provided a raffle item for the President's Dinner and entered the tournament or took chances on the raffle!
At the Business Meeting we elected new officers and a board members. Luke Turner is our new President, moving up from Vice President. Our President for the last year was Doug Richards, Rice Tec, and Doug moves into the Past President role remaining on the Board of Directors. Chad Kriegshauser moves from board member to Vice President. Brett Bamert was elected to serve a third year on the Board of Directors. Rachel Horton, Justin Seed Co., begins a three-year term on the Board of Directors. Congratulations to all and thank you for your service to this organization!
A state of the association was provided by outgoing President Doug Richards, who has accomplished excellent results in characterizing our memberhsip and identifying ways to move the association forward, and Exec. V.P. Bryan Gentsch.
Dr. Rooney profiled a study that has been ongoing for many years whereby he, and his fellow authors, characterized sorghum as the first row crop that may be annually harvested for profit, that can simultaneously serve as an important carbon sequestration crop. This is nothing short of groundbreaking research.
Tillery Sims, Texas Hemp Growers Association Board Member, provided an excellent, straightforward, and practical assessment of where hemp production is heading in Texas. Tillery and her organization are the only hemp group that truly represents farmers as all of us understand them. Tillery represents "the" hemp organization in Texas and gave an outstanding presentation.
Dr. David Baltensperger, Chair or the Soil and Crop Science Department at Texas A&M and Chair of the Texas State Seed & Plant Board shared a variety of topics with us including some additional information on the state of hemp research in Texas. David also provided some updates on the seed & plant board and answered a variety of questions about all manner of things. David is always the right person to query about virtually anything regarding Texas agriculture - that has been our experience. Something of particular interest David shared was that undergraduate enrollment in agronomy was very low just now despite there being almost limitless current opportunities in agriculture. David is always appreciative of the scholarships we, and others, provide but requested we be diligent about preaching the opportunities in ag these days so good students consider it a dynamic area of study. While undergraduate enrollment hovers in the mid 70s at A&M job postings are closer to 120 and thus there are more positions than can be filled with qualified candidates. (There's a related article on this topic below.)
We are also very appreciative of Randy Rivera, from the Texas Department of Agriculture, providing important program related updates. Thanks, too, to Mark Bills, from TDA, who attended our meeting and answered questions.
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.
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!
2/17/2022 - 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!
The primary elections - VOTE!
The TSTA staff desires to share their opinion that it is in the best interest of the Texas seed industry if Representative James White is the next Commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture. Please consider casting your vote in the upcoming Republican primary election for Representative James White.
Rep. White was a member of the Texas House Ag Committee when first elected to the Texas House of Representatives. In that capacity he showed a keen interest in seed and voluntarily toured the East Texas Plant Materials Center with their staff and a member of the TSTA staff. Representative White has been a friend to Texas agriculture, and particularly the seed industry, for almost a decade and has consulted with us on a variety of issues he felt might impact our businesses.
Rep. White's primary focus in the Texas House has been law enforcement as a former law enforcement official and U.S. Army Military Police veteran. We have always been impressed with Rep. White's integrity, his commitment to candor, honesty, and his spirit of cooperation and openness.
News Bits
Nat'l Cotton Council reports:
Memphis, TN - U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 12.0 million cotton acres this spring, up 7.3 percent from 2021, according to the National Cotton Council's 41st Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey. (see table attached)
Upland cotton intentions are 11.9 million acres, up 7.1 percent from 2021, while extra-long staple (ELS) intentions of 158,000 acres represent a 24.8 percent increase. The detailed survey results were announced today during the 2022 National Cotton Council Annual Meeting.
Dr. Jody Campiche, the NCC's vice president, Economics & Policy Analysis, said, "Planted acreage is just one of the factors that will determine supplies of cotton and cottonseed. Ultimately, weather and agronomic conditions are among the factors that play a significant role in determining crop size."
To view the complete report, click here.
The National Honey Board news release
Following on annual gains in positive perceptions of honey, U.S. consumers also reported significant upticks in honey usage this past year. The increase, revealed in the National Honey Board Consumer Attitudes & Usage Study 2021, follows a pattern of growth for self-reported usage seen since 2019.
Consumers who selected honey as their most preferred sweetener cited attributes like 'natural,' 'good for the environment,' 'organic,' a source of antioxidants,' and 'flavorful.' Data from the survey confirms the National Honey Board's marketing campaign focusing on 'good for me, good for the planet,' continues to resonate with American consumers, who are interested in how honey promotes healthy honey bees.
The growing demand for honey in the United States is also confirmed by data from the USDA Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook with 2020 use at 571 million pounds, up about 8 percent from 2019.
USDA news release
Washington - Agricultural producers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies are eligible for a premium benefit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) if they planted cover crops during the 2022 crop year. To receive the benefit from this year's Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP), producers must report cover crop acreage by March 15, 2022. The new program comes on the heels of the recently announced Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities which creates market opportunities for U.S. agricultural and forestry products that use climate-smart production practices and include innovative, cost-effective ways to measure and verify greenhouse gas benefits.
PCCP, offered by USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA), helps farmers maintain their cover crop systems, despite the financial challenges posed by the pandemic and is part of USDA's Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, a bundle of programs to bring financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions.
A Letter and a Warning About Losing Our Identity
This information come from Ray Pieniazek, Executive Director, Ag Teachers Association of Texas, by way of Kody Bessent who currently chairs the Texas Ag Council. We express our appreciation to both of them for calling our attention to this matter.
Kody - could you share this with the members of Ag Council 
I am sending this email to be shared with the members of the Ag Council. A few weeks ago we were made aware of a draft copy of a revision of the National Career Clusters. Within it was a change to remove the word "Agriculture" Career Clusters term and rename it Food, Living Systems and Natural Resources. The Agricultural Education sector is not in favor of this situation since we all know that Agriculture is one of the largest employers in the world. 
The next statement is from a group of National Agriculture Education State Leaders.
There is a linked video outlining the changes in the message shared below. The segment explaining the change from agriculture to living systems begins at 21:55. Essentially, it says that most agricultural career skills belong instead in other clusters and focuses on the idea of production agriculture as the definition of agriculture. This matches up with labor department data. The decision to abandon agriculture as a cluster or pathway in itself seems to be rooted in the avoidance of the conflict between the labor data being primarily rooted in production itself and the way most of us view the agricultural industry as chain of direct and auxiliary careers that support ag, food and natural resources products and services from farm to consumer. There may be merit in exploring that thought but the redistribution of AFNR concepts seems to leave out a whole lot of ag careers - or leave the context of agriculture out of the skill development that could theoretically happen elsewhere. This says nothing about the fact that living systems sounds an awful lot like the language some states use for those 8-10th grade academic science courses. 
 Click here to view a recording sharing the most current stage of the Framework. 
If you would be willing to provide feedback on this and share your concerns on the effect it may have on the industry you represent please fill out this feedback survey, which will help share the agricultural world's concern about this. 
If you have any questions feel free to contact me. 
My email has changed to 
Editor's Note: Please take a moment to fill out the "feedback survey." You can access it by clicking on it in the body of this report. It matters. We'll be doing one as well. As stated above, Dr. Baltensperger has informed us that too few students are choosing agriculture as an educational pathway to their success. It's hard to imagine changing the name to something that obfuscates agriculture will help. Make you voices heard please!
Update - USDA/APHIS will no longer accept unoriginal electronic phytosanitary certificates and forms after September 30, 2022
USDA press release
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), responded to the unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic on trade by allowing importers of plant commodities to upload copies of phytosanitary certificates and forms.
Starting October 1, 2022, APHIS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will accept only original phytosanitary certificates and forms for plant commodities. PPQ and CBP will continue to accept digital exchange of electronic phytosanitary certificates through the ePhyto system—a government-to-government sharing of electronic phytosanitary certificates.
The APHIS Core message set supports the transmission of ePhytos. A paper certificate would not need to be presented for cargo clearance by U.S. officials if the certificate is an ePhyto with a proper declaration in the APHIS Core message set using the PG13/14 code AE1. Please review the list of participating ePhyto countries.
Note: A trading partner that is marked “Yes” may choose to not send an ePhyto message set for a shipment. This could be due to limitations with the country’s system, outages, or other reasons.
 Acceptable phytosanitary certificates include:
  • Certificates created through a participating country’s ePhyto system, or signed paper forms.
  • Acceptable foreign site certificates of inspection and/or treatment include signed paper forms, signed copies of the master PPQ Form 203, and digitally signed electronic PPQ Form 203s.
For more information about plant or plant product imports, email  or call 1-877-770-5990. For questions about plant or plant product exports, contact your local export certification specialist or email .
PPQ is committed to facilitating the safe trade of agricultural products. We continue to closely monitor this evolving situation and will provide updates as needed. Be sure to regularly check the APHIS website for the latest information.
Editor's Note: The new system was simply too efficient and was too well-liked. Time to move backwards towards the way we've always done things. .
Source: NASDA news release
As discussions for writing the 2023 Farm Bill begin, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture will direct its policy advocacy efforts regarding the bill towards 10 specific policy areas. At the hybrid 2022 NASDA Winter Policy Conference today, members charged the organization to participate in Farm Bill conversations involving the following:
• Agriculture research
• Animal disease
• Conservation and climate resiliency
• Cyber security
• Food safety
• Hemp
• Invasive species
• Local food systems
• Specialty Crop Block Grants
• Trade promotion
NASDA CEO Ted McKinney remarked on the importance of the Farm Bill and NASDA members' ability to provide unique perspective.
"The next Farm Bill must remain unified, securing a commitment to American agriculture and the critical food and nutritional assistance programs for those who need it most. Often the officials closest to farmers themselves and as co-regulators with the federal government, NASDA members are uniquely positioned to lead impact and direct policymaking solutions for the 2023 Farm Bill."
Read more about NASDA's policy work at
A new study shows that the corn lobby's favorite fuel is worse for the environment than gasoline.
Lewis Morris as appeared in The Patriot Post
study released this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) revealed that corn-based ethanol is likely doing more damage to the environment than if we used straight gasoline.
"Even without considering likely international land use effects," researchers said, "we find that the production of corn-based ethanol in the United States has failed to meet the policy's own greenhouse gas emissions targets and negatively affected water quality, the area of land used for conservation, and other ecosystem processes."
In other words, ethanol is a failure.
But that's not what we're supposed to hear. We have been told since the government forced us to use alternative fuel blends — the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) — in 2005 that ethanol is grand. Putting corn in our gas tanks would reduce our dependency on foreign oil, reduce our carbon emissions, and just make us all around better people. So said the environmentalists. With few exceptions, so said the Republican and Democrat presidential candidates who wander through Iowa every few years. And, of course, so said the media.
We were treated to a completely different set of outcomes, the most obvious being that ethanol did not save us any money at the pump. The PNAS study lists several others, obtained from a thorough examination of the RFS in its totality, from the planting of the corn to the processing of the fuel to the pumping of your gas.
According to the study, in the years 2008-2016, the RFS led to a 30% increase in corn prices. Prices of other crops rose by 20%, along with a multitude of grocery items that rely on corn. Cereal, anyone? Corn cultivation in the U.S. expanded by 8.7%. And to be clear, this expansion, along with the outsized impact corn has had on food prices, was driven overwhelmingly by the need for corn as a biofuel, not as a food source.
Along with all this corn came fertilizers, and there was a nationwide annual increase of up to 8%. Overuse of the land depleted the soil, caused soil erosion, polluted natural water sources, and diverted water from other crops. It takes three gallons of water to produce a gallon of ethanol.
When taking all factors into account, even the use of gasoline to run the tractors that till the soil (which releases carbon into the atmosphere), the PNAS study found that ethanol-treated gasoline is 24% more carbon intensive than conventional gasoline.
This finding totally contradicts what the Department of Agriculture had to say about ethanol in its own 2019 study, which found that ethanol was 39% less carbon intensive than gas. Gee, a government study that found a government program was working perfectly. Imagine that.
To be fair, the Agriculture Department study did not perform a holistic analysis of the entire RFS program, so its numbers may depend on the context. Or at least, that is probably the argument that ethanol's staunch defenders will use when asked about the disparity.
The Renewable Fuels Association, the ethanol lobby group, was more direct in its response to the PNAS study. "Completely fictional and erroneous," said Geoff Cooper, the group's president and CEO.
Naturally, many who stand to lose something from the disappearance of ethanol will fight to keep it. It's the law of government inertia. Failure alone does not kill a bad policy. Only enough people accepting the truth can do that.
If we truly are serious about creating effective biofuels that will not harm the environment, then we need to be honest about the performance of ethanol. The technology isn't there yet, but it may be soon. America is by far the world's largest producer of biofuels, responsible for 47% of global output in the last decade. This is a market we can dominate, if we produce a quality product that does what it says it does. It's time to admit the failure that ethanol has become, learn from it, and move on.
Source: Renewable Fuels Assn news release
A new report published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, funded in part by the National Wildlife Federation, purports to examine the "environmental outcomes" of the Renewable Fuel Standard. In keeping with their previous "research" on biofuels and the RFS, the authors of this new paper precariously string together a series of worst-case assumptions, cherry-picked data, and disparate results from previously debunked studies to create a completely fictional and erroneous account of the environmental impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard.
The claims in this report simply don't align with reality and the facts on the ground, and the paper reads more like a fantasy novel than a genuine piece of academic literature. It should not be taken seriously.
In fact, when related research from some of the same authors was released several years ago, representatives from RFA and corn grower organizations met with this study's lead author, Tyler Lark, at the University of Wisconsin, in an attempt to begin a constructive conversation about today's ethanol industry and the real impacts of biofuels policy.
At that time, we shared data and information with Lark and his colleagues and asked how we could collaborate on research. We asked how we could work together to ensure their error-ridden satellite analysis of land-use changes was grounded in reality. We never heard back from them.
RFA is always open to having an honest, fact-based discussion about the impacts of ethanol and the RFS on the environment and economy. We have a great story to tell, and the data to back it up. Ethanol already reduced GHG emissions by roughly half compared to gasoline, and we are on a trajectory to achieve a net-zero emissions carbon footprint for ethanol by 2050 or sooner. Unfortunately, the authors appear more interested in slandering farmers and getting salacious headlines than examining the facts.
Click here for a more detailed rebuttal from RFA that offers key facts about ethanol's environmental impacts that were purposely omitted from the paper.
Editor's Note: We reprint the synopsis from the National Academy of Science because we fell like you need to know what's "out there." There can be little doubt the renewable fuels standards and ethanol have had a large and positive impact on agriculture. We also think it is fitting we furnish the RFA response to the NAS report. You may very well get questions from your non-ag friends on this and might find this useful reading.
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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.