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Apr 27

TSTA Weekly Update, 04/27/2023

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association

Member News


A meeting of the TSTA Board of Directors is scheduled for July 13-15, at the Horseshoe Bay Resort. If you have question please contact the TSTA office.


Surveys to ascertain the level of certified wheat seed carryover from last year, anticipated certified wheat that will be available for sale this year, and a ranking of the most favored/best suited varieties was mailed to over 100 Texas seed sellers this week by the TSTA. Mailings included self-addressed, stamped envelopes, for return of the surveys to the association office. The survey is designed to assist the Texas Foundation Seed Service, and others, to determine the potential need to enter a recertification process. Results will be made available as soon as possible.

TSTA legislative update

TSTA staff




The Texas Senate - Foreign nationals from countries that present a threat to national security would be barred from buying certain tracts of land under a bill that received final Senate approval on Wednesday. Bill author and Brenham Senator Lois Kolkhorst told members that many of her constituents have come to her with concerns. "As I was travelling around the district, I kept hearing concerns about purchases of land by foreign entities, but more specifically, by those that want to do harm to our country," she said. As the ninth largest economy in the world, Kolkhorst says that Texas is a major contributor to the prosperity of the nation and that foreign countries that wish to do harm to the United States could do so by compromising state resources. If individuals or companies representing one of these countries bought up significant tracts of Texas agricultural or oil and gas producing land, Kolkhorst worries they could leverage that to harm the state. "Private property rights are extremely important to maintaining liberty," she said. "Unfortunately, some of the authoritarian regimes that pose a threat to the United States do not respect private property rights and are willing to use these rights to undermine our constitutional republic."


Her bill, SB 147, would only apply to foreign representatives who are not legally present in the country and who come from a country identified as a national security threat. This would be determined by the federal government and would apply to any country that is named on the National Threat Assessment for three years in a row. The original bill specified these countries by name: China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. Texans and other legal residents who have come from or are descended from immigrants from those countries raised concerns that this bill might single them out for discrimination or prevent them from owning their own home or business. In response to those concerns, Kolkhorst says she's softened the bill from the version originally filed in January. "When I filed this bill it was really tough, I wanted no loopholes," she said. In meeting with colleagues and stakeholders, however, she said she realized it needed to be more specifically targeted. A subsequent committee substitute, and then floor amendments, eased the language in the bill.


Instead of listing specific countries, the passed version would apply to any nation identified by the federal government as a particular national security threat three years in a row. This would allow a country to fall off of the list if there is a regime change or other political change that degrades that threat to the US. Next, the bill was narrowed to only include certain types of land where foreign ownership could pose the greatest threat: agricultural, timber, oil and gas, and mineral-bearing lands. The bill would not apply to homesteads or to any lawful permanent resident in the US. "It keeps alive the American dream of home ownership to all, the ability to own a business, the ability to own a homestead and 20 acres, the ability of anyone that's legally here in the United States to own that land and live that dream," said Kolkhorst. Even in cases where an individual or company has violated the bill, she said, they don't lose their property, rather, it would be placed into receivership with the proceeds and profits still going to the owners.


The bill was debated over two days, with opponents raising concerns that despite the improvements, the bill still leaves legally present residents and citizens of the state feeling targeted. Dallas Senator Nathan Johnson thanked Kolkhorst for working to improve the bill, but said it still fell short of winning his support. "I am convinced that it will contribute, despite all the good, patient, thoughtful work that's been done on amending the bill…I think it's still going to send a hostile message, I think it's going to still increase tensions, and suspicions, and resentment, and biases among Texans here today," he said. "I don't think the result is going to be the desirable result that is intended in this bill". The bill passed by a vote of 19-12 and now heads to the House for consideration.


Editor's Note: There were several bills introduced during this legislative session concerning ownership of Texas land by foreign citizens. Some were very far-reaching and seemed to have potential for all manner of unintended consequences. The version (above) passed by the Senate is considerably more reasonable and is the product of more careful consideration in committee and on the floor. The Texas Seed Trade Association has several important member companies that "could" have been interpreted as representing foreign ownership of land within the state. We, and many others, made a good faith effort to inform legislators of the potential for negative impacts on Texas agriculture should more draconian legislation of this type move ahead.


Let us know if you want to attend the Sod Poodles game! On June 2, the Texas Seed Trade Association will host a gathering at the Amarillo Sod Poodles, a Double A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Poodles are playing the Springfield Cardinals that evening, an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club. We've got a box reserved and it'll be a great time for a lucky 25 of us. It's $25 to reserve a place and we'll book the first 25 that respond and send in their hard-earned cash. Please contact Drew Morano at Tri-Cal Superior Forages or Brett Bamert at Bamert Seeds if you're interested in playing some golf that morning or afternoon. You can respond to either the Sod Poodles or golf event via return email to this newsletter. If you need a hotel room we can furnish that information.

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!


4/27/2023 - 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!

News Bits


After peaking at 6.8 million farms in 1935, the number of U.S. farms and ranches fell sharply through the early 1970s. Rapidly falling farm numbers in the mid-20th century reflect the growing productivity of agriculture, increased mechanization, and increased nonfarm employment opportunities.


Since 1982, the number of U.S. farms has continued to decline, but much more slowly. In 2022, there were 2.0 million U.S. farms, down from 2.2 million in 2007. Similarly, the acres of land in farms continue a downward trend with 893 million acres in 2022, down from 915 million acres 10 years earlier.


The average farm size in 2022 was 446 acres, only slightly greater than the 440 acres recorded in the early 1970s. This chart appears in the ERS data product Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials, updated March 2023.



-- Planting progress: Nationwide, corn planting moved ahead 6 percentage points last week to reach 14% as of Sunday, April 23. That is 7 percentage points ahead of last year and 3 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 11%. Notable states: The top two corn-producing states of Iowa and Illinois were 10% and 18% planted, respectively, noted DTN Senior Analyst Dana Mantini. Missouri was 58% planted, with Texas at 72%.

-- Crop progress: 3% of corn had emerged as of Sunday, slightly ahead of 2% for both last year and the five-year average.



-- Planting progress: Soybean planting moved ahead 5 percentage points last week to reach 9% as of Sunday, 6 percentage points ahead of last year's 3% and 5 points ahead of the five-year average of 4%. Notable states: Illinois was 15% planted, and Iowa was 5% planted. Louisiana was at 41% and Mississippi at 34% planted -- both well ahead of average, Mantini noted.



-- Crop condition: Nationwide, winter wheat was rated 26% good to excellent, down 1 percentage from 27% good to excellent the previous week and the lowest in over three decades. "Forty-one percent of the crop is rated very poor to poor -- up 2 points from a week ago," Mantini said. "The crop in Kansas is 14% good to excellent with 62% poor to very poor. Texas and Oklahoma are just 14% and 6% good to excellent, with 63% of Oklahoma and 55% of Texas in poor to very poor condition. Soft red states Indiana and Illinois had 76% and 78% of the crop rated good to excellent, respectively."

-- Crop development: 18% of winter wheat was headed nationwide as of Sunday, up 8 percentage points from the previous week and 4 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 14%.



-- Planting progress: 5% of the spring wheat crop was planted as of Sunday, down from the five-year average of 12%. Notable states: "Montana was only 5% planted, North Dakota was just 1% and Minnesota has not begun to plant," Mantini said.

-- Crop progress: Just 1% of spring wheat was emerged as of Sunday, behind the five-year average of 3%.


Sorghum bran, often a low-cost byproduct of sorghum milling, can enhance gluten-free bread's nutritional value without compromising its flavor, according to a study published in the Journal of Food Science. 


While gluten-free foods are in demand to meet consumers' medical needs and dietary preferences, these foods sometimes are deficient in nutrients and lack taste and texture that appeals to consumers. In gluten-free bread, wheat flour is typically replaced with refined flour and starches from other sources. Adding dietary fiber, a carbohydrate found in whole grains that has important health benefits, to gluten-free bread can lead to a hard texture and more rapid staling.


To find solutions to these challenges, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) researchers studied sumac sorghum bran, classified as a brown tannin-containing variety with antioxidant properties and dietary fiber, as a possible substitute for wheat flour in gluten-free bread.


The Andersons, Inc. (Nasdaq: ANDE) announces that on April 18, 2023, ELEMENT, LLC (ELEMENT), a joint venture with ICM, Inc. in which The Andersons, Inc. is a 51% owner, was placed into receivership pursuant to the Agreed Order Granting Application for Appointment of Receiver. The ELEMENT ethanol plant, located in Colwich, Kansas, is currently in an extended maintenance shutdown and future operating decisions will be made by the court-appointed receiver.


The plant, which opened in 2019, has faced operational and market-based challenges. These have been exacerbated by a shift in the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard credit markets and high western corn basis. As previously disclosed, these challenging conditions led to the failure by ELEMENT to make a required debt payment and receipt of a default notice in February 2023. This debt of ELEMENT is non-recourse to the company. The company expects to record a non-cash pretax impairment charge on long-lived assets related to ELEMENT of approximately $85 - $95 million, 51% of which will be attributable to the company. This range is preliminary and will be finalized as part of the company's ongoing normal quarterly close process.


by Tyne Morgan,


Drought was a major storyline for U.S. crop conditions last summer. Dry conditions spurred by La Nina weighed on corn yields across areas of the Corn Belt. As La Nina fades, and El Niño starts to make a return, meteorologists say the weather shift could also signal better crop production in 2023.


El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, and it's associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific. While it can bring warm temperatures around the globe, agricultural meteorologist Eric Snodgrass says it also tends to bring favorable growing conditions for crops in the Midwest.


"We do have a great suite of models that we'd like to just combine and compare, and what's interesting about this particular year is they're all telling the same story. And that story is that we expect most of the Corn Belt to have decent summer thunderstorm activity, decent precipitation and a lack of long duration episodes of heat," says Snodgrass, the Principal Atmospheric Scientist with Nutrien Ag Solutions. "We always get short heat waves, but I'm talking about the long duration ones that can really go in there and destroy yields."


To read the entire report click here.


by Don Hofstrand, retired extension agricultural business specialist,  and reviewed by Dr. Eugene Takle, retired professor emeritus Iowa State University

Iowa is warmer. It is approaching 1.5 degrees warmer today than it was in 1988. This does not mean that every year is warmer than the previous one. There is a considerable variation between years, but the overall trend is up.


This small increase in temperature may not seem like it could have a significant impact on climate. However, the difference in Earth's temperature between now and the ice age when glaciers reached down as far as Des Moines is only about 10 to 12 degrees.


Northwest Iowa has warmed the most and Southeast Iowa the least. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Missouri have all warmed faster than Iowa.

Winters have warmed more than any other season. Falls have warmed more than springs. Summers have essentially remained unchanged, but this is expected to change in the future. Also, nights have warmed faster than days.


The Midwest is projected to see the largest future increases in temperatures in the US. So, Iowa's temperatures will likely ramp up. Five out of every 10 years, a five-day heat wave now averages 90 to 95 degrees in central Iowa.


By 2050, the average is expected to climb seven degrees to 97 to 102 degrees. Once every 10 years, temperature will spike 13 degrees higher, pushing the five-day heat wave to 103 to 108 degrees. In addition, day-to-day and season-to-season temperature variability is expected to increase.


Iowa's annual precipitation has increased since the beginning of the 20th Century. This is due in large part to warmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico and the fact that warmer air can hold more moisture. Most of the wettest years on record have occurred since 1982. In the future, most of the increase in precipitation will come from wetter springs, with drier or little change in summers. However, summer precipitation will become more variable with longer stretches between rainfall events.


The intensity of rainfall events has also increased. Across the Midwest, very heavy rainfall events increased by 42% from 1958 to 2016. Iowa ranks fourth nationally in the number of floods since 1988. The increase in heavy rainfall events is expected to continue into the future.


Essentially, we are experiencing what the rest of the planet is experiencing. Wet areas are getting wetter, and dry areas are getting drier.


See the Ag Decision Maker website for more from this series.


Editor's Note: The above reporting is interesting for both what it includes and what is forecast. We respect the authors and applaud their reporting. Years ago one of my favorite committee professors taught the most important portion of any paper, or report, was the Materials & Methods. This portion illuminated whether results and conclusions were, indeed, justified. We are not sure of the methods used to reach the above conclusions but some may be surmised. Historic data was likely utilized for the reporting on what "is" and models were likely used to extrapolate what "will be."


The data on temperature being subject to the season is very interesting and is, no doubt, accurate based on real data. We don't recall seeing data indicating elevated annual temperatures are largely related to winter temps being higher rather than summers warmer. That nocturnal periods have warmed faster than daylight hours is likewise very interesting. Though we find this intriguing we are at a bit of a loss of what to make of it. However, human preferences would seem to lean towards warmer winters being more acceptable than hotter summers, and warmer nights better than hotter days.


The "expected" future conditions are probably the results of models based on current and historic data. They paint a rather more dire forecast. Luckily the climate models that have been developed, and are in widespread present use, have proven less than 50% accurate in their predictions. So while the current and historic data are interesting and compelling, the imagined materials and methods of the predictive models may mean the forecast is mostly a guess.


TSTA staff


Netherlands: Buy-out of biggest nitrogen polluters to be delayed

(Benedikt Stöckl |


The buy-out of so-called ‘peak polluters’, which was supposed to be agreed upon this month, will be delayed until at least the end of May, as the corresponding buy-out scheme has not yet been finalised, sources close to the matter stated on Monday.


The Dutch government has grappled with the nitrogen issue for years, as the country is forced to reduce industrial and agricultural nitrogen emissions to comply with EU directives. The buy-out of so-called ‘peak polluters’, which concerns approximately 3,000 industrial and agricultural companies, was announced in November.


“[The] questions are mostly technical in nature and are about implementation,” a source close to the matter said, according to De Telegraaf. The source added that Brussels has shown “no signs” of outright rejecting the scheme.


The buy-out scheme for peak polluters intends for the relevant agrarian and industrial companies to either completely give up business, move, or become more sustainable by significantly reducing emissions. In return for accepting the offer, the companies would receive up to 120 % of their listed market value as compensation.


However, the EU has taken exception because this practice does not comply with the bloc’s state aid regulations. Dutch nitrogen minister Christianne Van der Wal is expected to try to respond to the EU’s technical concerns to reach an agreement.


The government’s handling of the nitrogen issue has been the subject of fierce debate in parliament the past few weeks as cracks are showing even within the cabinet concerning deadlines for reducing emissions.

A proposed nitrogen fund, which would invest €24 billion in facilitating the buy-out of farmers and ensuring remaining farmers operate more sustainably, was heavily criticised due to the cabinet’s lack of decisiveness and unity.


Editor's Note: Readers will recall early last fall when Dutch farmers were forced to liquidate whole, or partial, herds of livestock and cease using nitrogen fertilizers on their crops. The Dutch government offered what the EU apparently views as unfairly high compensation to Dutch farmers (and industry) in exchange for the abandonment of their way of life. Now the EU is balking at the "excessive" compensation as "inconsistent" with the Union's standards. The Dutch may be sufficiently fortunate to offer fair compensation but other countries, held to the same environmental standards, are unable to be as benevolent. The disparity of compensation is likely to cause friction between EU members. Arbitrary mandates are not only burdensome but are fraught with unintended consequences it seems. It remains a tragedy that Dutch farmers, among the very most productive in the world, are being coerced to remit to farming practices common in the mid 19th century.




by Daniel Munch, American Farm Bureau Federation Economist


While many people enjoy a hot cup of coffee or an iced latte in the morning, others, including myself, prefer a cold, crisp glass of orange juice to start the day.


Known for the hefty dose of vitamin C they provide in their original form, as well as their use as fragrances and as flavors for sweets and teas, fruit classified under the genus "citrus" are often identifiable by a thick and usually firm rind and pulpy interior flesh.


Oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, limes and lemons are just a few of the many citrus crops adored by consumers around the world. Once leaders in citrus crop production, citrus farmers in the United States, particularly in Florida, have faced numerous challenges that have led to an unfortunate decline in domestic supply. In this Market Intel we provide an update on domestic citrus production and the factors driving U.S. market share across borders and overseas.


General Production Trends


Figure 1 displays the national production of oranges since 2000 by state. In the citrus industry fruit is often bought and sold by box rather than pounds or tons. The standard box of oranges weighs 90 pounds and the standard box of grapefruit weighs 85 pounds.


There is no standard for lemons or limes. USDA no longer reports on Arizona orange production due to its small output. This year is expected to be the first in which California produces more oranges than Florida, with California expected to produce 45 million boxes or 72% of all domestic oranges.


Before 2014, Florida consistently produced over 70% of the nation's oranges. California's commercial citrus crop is geographically immune to the impact of Southeastern hurricanes and has been spared from citrus greening thus far though detections in residential groves have sparked much concern.


Drought conditions, and more recently high-precipitation events, have pressured orange yields in California, though production has held steady between 40 million and 65 million boxes since 2000.


To read the entire report click here.



USDA release

Food and beverage manufacturing plants transform raw food commodities into products for intermediate or final consumption by using labor, machinery, energy, and scientific knowledge. These plants accounted for nearly $267 billion or 16.8 percent of sales, shipment values, and revenue from all U.S. manufacturing plants in 2021, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census' Annual Survey of Manufactures.0


Meat processing is the largest industry group in food and beverage manufacturing, with 26.2 percent of sales in 2021. Meat processing includes livestock and poultry slaughter, processing, and rendering. Dairy product manufacturing, which ranges from fluid milk to frozen desserts, accounted for the second-most sales at 12.8 percent in 2021.


Other important industry groups by sales include other foods (12.4 percent), beverages (11.3 percent), and grain and oilseeds (10.4 percent). Other foods include snack foods, coffee and tea, flavorings, and dressings.

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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.