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May 05

TSTA Weekly Update, 05/05/2022

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association
Member News
Registration is officially open for ASTA’s new Leadership Summit, June 25-29 in Indianapolis! Make plans now to send your team to a professional development, advocacy and training opportunity that will benefit your company and your industry for years to come.
For more information, including the latest schedule of events, visit the conference webpage.
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!
5/5/22 - 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!
If you have not paid your share of land rent, and other services, for the winter growouts please reimburse the association at your earliest convenience. Thank you! Should you need us to reissue an invoice please let us know.
Conversations among the Texas State Seed & Plant Board membership indicate there may be requests for re-certification of Texas wheat seed. The Texas Wheat Producers have communicated with the board their concern over possible shortages of quality certified wheat seed due to on-going drought conditions in Texas and on the High Plains/Great Plains.
If you are a certified wheat seed producer please communicate your thoughts to the TSTA office via a reply to this email newsletter. We have heard from several of our members and are interested to know what you forecast for availability and quality of certified wheat seed for the 2022 planting season.
Corteva has made the decision to withdraw from Russia and, having already paused new sales, is initiating a plan to stop production and business activities.
Our priorities remain the safety of our employees and global food security. Since the onset of this tragic war, we have taken all possible action to support and protect our Ukrainian colleagues and their families, our customers, and the communities in which we operate, including through direct and indirect aid to address the immediate humanitarian needs.
We have also put in place direct action to help assure as normal as possible 2022 growing season in Ukraine.
Given the war’s impact on global food security, the Company will donate seeds to Ukraine, Africa, and the Middle East region for the 2023 growing season, to lessen the impact on global food production.
Corteva joins with many others around the world in advocating for peace.
Editor's Note: Corteva is a valued member of the Texas Seed Trade Association
News Bits
Wet weather continues to stymie corn and soybean planting in much of the Corn Belt.
The USDA says 14% of U.S. corn is planted as of Sunday, compared to the five-year average of 33%, with 3% of the crop emerged, compared to 6% on average.
8% of soybeans have been planted, compared to 13% normally in early May.
27% of winter wheat is rated good to excellent, unchanged on the week, with 23% of the crop headed, compared to the usual rate of 29%.
Spring wheat planting is also being impacted by the weather, with just 19% of the crop in the ground, compared to 28% on average, with 5% of emerged, compared to 7% normally this time of year.
16% of cotton is planted, compared to the typical pace of 15%.
45% of rice is planted, compared to the five-year average of 56%, with 24% emerged, compared to 38% on average.
The USDA's next set of crop production projections is out on the 12th.
A closely watched group of economists have raised their forecast for farm income this year in the wake of the Ukraine crisis and the recent run-up in commodity prices. As a result, farm earnings are expected to be about the same this year as last, despite sharp increases in production costs.
The Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute based at the University of Missouri now expects net farm income to reach nearly $120 billion this year, up from the March forecast of $105 billion. That increase accounts for increased production costs.
FAPRI now projects farm production expenses, which includes feed and fertilizer expenses, will total $446 billion, up from the March forecast of $420 billion. Production expenses totaled about $392 billion in 2021.
FAPRI estimates corn prices will average about $6.06 a bushel this year, up from $5.78 in 2021. Wheat prices are excepted to average $8.08 a bushel, compared to $7.60 last year.
To read the report click here.
An ag economist worries anhydrous ammonia prices could eclipse $2,000 per ton next year.
Gary Schnitkey with the University of Illinois says several factors point to further upward price pressure including the war in Ukraine, anticipated reductions in nitrogen fertilizer produced in the European Union, and countries outside the EU reducing nitrogen fertilizer production to provide Western Europe with natural gas.
"All of those things lead to more nitrogen fertilizer issues coming up as we move into the 2023 growing season."
Anhydrous ammonia prices are already at record levels, but if Russian fertilizer exports go completely off the market.
"I mean, it could be over $2,000 per ton. Hopefully that doesn't happen, but we do stand quite a bit of risk here right now for natural gas and nitrogen supplies."
Schnitkey encourages farmers to begin budgeting for 2023 but acknowledges it will be a while until prices for next year can start getting locked in.
Agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions fell more than 4% percent from 2019 to 2020, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The most recent Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks shows agriculture continues to represent just 10% of total U.S. emissions, much lower than other economic sectors.
American Farm Bureau Federation economists analyzed the data from EPA in the latest Market Intel. 2020 overall emissions from agriculture fell at least 4.3%, or 28.8 million metric tons, compared to 2019. Emissions from agricultural soil management like fertilizer application and tillage practices were reduced by 8.4%.
Additional articles of interest:
Public Comments Due in 11 Days for President Biden's Executive Order to Investigate Competition and the Intellectual Property System: Seeds and Other Agricultural Inputs
Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy
July 09, 2021
• Presidential Actions    
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to promote the interests of American workers, businesses, and consumers, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy.
   A fair, open, and competitive marketplace has long been a cornerstone of the American economy, while excessive market concentration threatens basic economic liberties, democratic accountability, and the welfare of workers, farmers, small businesses, startups, and consumers.
    The American promise of a broad and sustained prosperity depends on an open and competitive economy. For workers, a competitive marketplace creates more high-quality jobs and the economic freedom to switch jobs or negotiate a higher wage. For small businesses and farmers, it creates more choices among suppliers and major buyers, leading to more take-home income, which they can reinvest in their enterprises. For entrepreneurs, it provides space to experiment, innovate, and pursue the new ideas that have for centuries powered the American economy and improved our quality of life. And for consumers, it means more choices, better service, and lower prices.
    Robust competition is critical to preserving America’s role as the world’s leading economy.
    Yet over the last several decades, as industries have consolidated, competition has weakened in too many markets, denying Americans the benefits of an open economy and widening racial, income, and wealth inequality. Federal Government inaction has contributed to these problems, with workers, farmers, small businesses, and consumers paying the price.
Consolidation has increased the power of corporate employers, making it harder for workers to bargain for higher wages and better work conditions. Powerful companies require workers to sign non-compete agreements that restrict their ability to change jobs. And, while many occupational licenses are critical to increasing wages for workers and especially workers of color, some overly restrictive occupational licensing requirements can impede workers’ ability to find jobs and to move between States.
    Consolidation in the agricultural industry is making it too hard for small family farms to survive. Farmers are squeezed between concentrated market power in the agricultural input industries — seed, fertilizer, feed, and equipment suppliers — and concentrated market power in the channels for selling agricultural products. As a result, farmers’ share of the value of their agricultural products has decreased, and poultry farmers, hog farmers, cattle ranchers, and other agricultural workers struggle to retain autonomy and to make sustainable returns.
(i)                 The Secretary of Agriculture shall:
     (v)   to help ensure that the intellectual property system, while incentivizing innovation, does not also unnecessarily reduce competition in seed and other input markets beyond that reasonably contemplated by the Patent Act (see 35 U.S.C. 100 et seq. and 7 U.S.C. 2321 et seq.), in consultation with the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, submit a report to the Chair of the White House Competition Council, enumerating and describing any relevant concerns of the Department of Agriculture and strategies for addressing those concerns across intellectual property, antitrust, and other relevant laws.
Editor's Note: The Texas Seed Trade Association will be forwarding public comment in advance of the impending deadline. We sincerely hope you and the company you represent will do the same. If you desire assistance with a letter please contact the association office and we'll be happy to help.
Please read the entire executive order via the clickable link above. It provides more detail than we can include here. The above is a condensed version of the order and the additional details are important. In many places you will find "the agency shall consider (additional) rule-making”  meaning more federal regulation of your business.
The order is devisive and seems partially intended to facilitate unfairness claims between larger, multi-national, seed companies and smaller, regional or family-owned, seed companies. Our letter will communicate how respect for intellectual property benefits all seed companies and hence farmers.
Please let us know if you have input or strong feelings one way or another concerning this decree. We have one opportunity to make our feelings known and we need to express our opinions.
This executive order contains many subject matter in addition to seed, fertilizer, and retail ag supply. Broadband communication, telecommunications, freight rail, passenger air travel, boutique distilleries, hearing aids, and the list goes on, and on. It includes the following agencies and their leadership:   
(i)    the Secretary of the Treasury;
         (ii)   the Secretary of Defense;
         (iii)  the Attorney General;
        (iv)   the Secretary of Agriculture;
        (v)    the Secretary of Commerce;
         (vi)   the Secretary of Labor;
         (vii)  the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
         (viii) the Secretary of Transportation;
         (ix)   the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs; and
         (x)    the heads of such other agencies and offices as the Chair may from time to time invite to participate.
Samantha Power: "Never let a crisis go to waste":
from The Patriot Post
A former Barack Obama official who is Joe Biden's current chief of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) actually referenced Rahm Emanuel's infamous statement. Referring to the current supply chain issues and growing concerns over the global food supplies,
Power stated: "Fertilizer shortages are real now because Russia is a big exporter of fertilizer. Even though fertilizer is not sanctioned, less fertilizer is coming out of Russia."
"As a result we're working with countries to think about natural solutions like manure and compost and this may hasten transitions that would have been in the interest of farmers to make eventually anyway."
She then seemingly said the silent part out loud, "So, never let a crisis go to waste." Power then called for Congress to act to "meet emergency food needs, so we don't see the cascading deadly effects of Russia's war extend into Africa and beyond."
This is classic leftist playbook stuff — leverage a crisis in order to gain political power. Raising fears over food shortages appears to be one of the latest tools the Biden administration will seek to use in its efforts to grab more power. As Joe Biden told NATO, "Yes, we did talk about food shortages, and it's gonna be real."
Editor's Note: We found this in Patriot Post, fact checked it and it is, indeed, factual. Our objections are not necessarily political, although some may find this aspect troubling, but rather practical. We are sufficiently familiar with Samantha Power to know her background is not agronomy. Apparently that doesn't stop this influential person from making decisions about what farmers need, and is in their best interest, in far-flung countries worldwide. "Manure and compost" are going to be long-term substitutions for anhydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate? Our biggest concern is that dabblers who know little of how things actually work, but rather are simply well politically connected, are willing to forward solutions to complex problems they do not begin to understand. It cannot help but remind one of the fine points of various five-year plans resulting in mass crop failures in past socialist regimes enamored with central planning.
Additionally we can't help thinking of the hypocrisy in suggesting manure as the future of crop fertilizer while also demanding an end to livestock's contribution to greenhouse gases. This administration's support for lab-grown meat and vegetable-based "meat" is well documented and seems inconsistent with the additional millions of tons of manure that will soon be needed.
May 2, 2022
Source: National Sorghum Producers news release
The Biden Administration will be asking Congress to significantly boost some commodity loan rates for two years, extend the loan term to 12 months for 2022, and provide a $10 per acre incentive paid through crop insurance premiums to a soybean crop planted after a winter wheat crop in 2023. USDA estimates the incentives would help U.S. farmers to make up for up to 50 percent of the wheat typically exported by Ukrainian farmers, while lowering costs for American consumers.
However, National Sorghum Producers and the National Association of Wheat Growers, amongst others, believe the proposal is too narrow. The proposal could, however, be a means of strengthening incentives for all producers and crops through a bipartisan, bicameral process.
While National Sorghum Producers was disappointed sorghum was not in included in the Administration's initial plan as there are significant double crop sorghum acres behind wheat in the Sorghum Belt (see map below), we recognize it is only a first step in formulating a strategic response to the global food crisis.
We look forward to working with the Biden Administration and Congressional leaders as they fine-tune their aid approach in a way that takes into account all staple food crops, including sorghum. With sorghum's unique ability to be grown with less inputs, including water, our nation's sorghum producers can play a key role in the Administration's goal to sustainably add stability to the world food supply.
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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.