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Source: Genetic Literary Project
Jul 20

TSTA Weekly Update, 07/20/2023

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. Drinks, unfortunately, are on you.


Reserve your spot(s) today!


Free Download of Guidelines for the establishment and management of seed testing laboratories. This is an interesting and well put-together document you may want to take a look at and keep for your files.


ASTA continues its partnership with Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business to host the 2023 ASTA Management Academy August 15-17, 2023 in West Lafayette, IN. Participants will explore fundamental marketing strategies and the changing agribusiness environment as well as identify and apply management tools to examine profitability.


“Today’s seed industry has proven to be a challenging and disruptive environment in terms of technology changes, the continuous quest for efficiency, and increasing consumer demands,” said Scott Downey, center director and professor of agricultural economics. “The program will provide a great opportunity for seed industry professionals to sharpen their management toolkit, address challenges and take a hard look at their strategy for future success.”


For more information or to register, view the academy webpage.


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

A meeting of the TSTA Board of Directors was convened July 13-15, at the Horseshoe Bay Resort. All Board members were present. Among decisions made by the Board were noiminees for Board vacancies anticipated in February 2024, new guidelines for growout invoicing and administration, the dedication of a new endowed scholarship at West Texas A&M University, and regional association activities. If you have questions please contact the TSTA office.

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!


7/20/2023 - 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


Russia struck Ukrainian ports on Tuesday, a day after pulling out of a U.N.-backed deal to let Kyiv export grain, and Moscow claimed gains on the ground in an area where Ukrainian officials said Russian forces were going back on the offensive.


Russia said it hit fuel storage in Odesa and a plant making seaborne drones there, as part of "mass revenge strikes" in retaliation for attacks by Ukraine that knocked out its road bridge to the occupied Crimean Peninsula.


Shortly after the bridge was hit on Monday, Moscow withdrew from a year-old U.N.-brokered grain export deal, a move the United Nations said risked creating hunger around the world.


Falling debris and blast waves damaged several homes and unspecified port infrastructure in one of Ukraine's main ports, Odesa, according to Ukraine's southern operational military command. Local authorities in Mykolaiv, another port, described a serious fire there.


The Russian attacks on ports provide "further proof that the country-terrorist wants to endanger the lives of 400 million people in various countries that depend on Ukrainian food exports", said Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine's presidential staff.


Ukraine's air force said six Kalibr missiles and 31 out of 36 drones were shot down. Moscow, for its part, said it had foiled a Ukrainian drone strike on Crimea, with no major damage on the ground, and reopened a single lane of road traffic on the Crimea bridge.


To read the entire report click here.


National Agricultural Law Center


On June 6, 2023, a coalition of environmental and agricultural labor groups lead by the Center for Food Safety filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") to challenge the agency's registrations for the herbicides Enlist One and Enlist Duo (collectively, "Enlist products").


Specifically, the plaintiffs claim that EPA's 2022 decision to extend the registrations for Enlist One and Enlist Duo for an additional seven years violated both the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act ("FIFRA"), and the Endangered Species Act ("ESA").


This is not the first lawsuit to challenge EPA's registration of Enlist products. In 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in a case challenging EPA's 2017 registration of Enlist Duo. There, the court upheld the registration, with a stipulation that EPA reevaluate the potential harm that Enlist Duo may cause to monarch butterflies.


In this latest lawsuit, the plaintiffs are once again asking the court to overturn the registrations of Enlist One and Enlist Duo.




Enlist One and Enlist Duo are both herbicides manufactured by Corteva that contain the choline salt of 2,4-dichlorophenozyacetic acid choline salt ("2,4-D"), an active ingredient that is used to control broadleaf weeds, including glyphosate-resistant weeds like Palmer amaranth, also known as pigweed.


Enlist Duo contains the active ingredients 2,4-D and glyphosate, which allows for control of both broadleaf and grass weeds. Both Enlist products are registered for use on corn, soybean, and cotton crops that have been genetically engineered to be resistant to 2,4-D.


Enlist products may also be used on conventional corn crops, and on uncultivated fields before planting any corn, soybean, or cotton crops, up to emergence.


To read the entire report click here.


Source: Genetic Literary Project

The use of modern seed genetics (which includes genetically modified (GM) crops, chemical and fertilizer use) greatly contributes to improved agricultural sustainability and climate change mitigation.


The integration of these various inputs and technologies highlights how food production is a highly technical system, requiring all three to be efficient and cost-effective. Potential bans or reductions to one or more of these technologies threatens to undermine the climate mitigation successes achieved to date.


Innovation is the key


Since 1960, food production has increased by 390% while land use has increased by a mere 10%. One estimate of the impact that GM crops have had on land use undertaken in 2010 found that without GM crops, an additional 13 million hectares of land would have been globally required to produce the amount of food that was available.


Those that advocate for a return to crop production that doesn't rely on integrating any of the above technologies, is advocating for agricultural production practices prior to 1960, where increases were entirely due to increased land used to produce crops. Increasing land use every year, is not a sustainable way to produce crops.


Improved soil health


One of the most valuable assets farmers transfer to the next generation is the health of the soil that is farmed. Innovations greatly contribute to improving soil health. The efficient weed control resulting from GM crop production facilitates continuous zero-tillage crop production, which has significant soil benefits, with one study finding carbon storage increased from 0.3 Mt/yr to 6.4 Mt/yr. With the positive correlation between GM crops and reduced tillage, both technologies reduce agricultural impacts on the environment and often improve soil and water quality through reduced erosion. Reduced chemical applications have prevented millions of kilograms of chemical active ingredients from being applied to crops, further benefiting soil health.


To read the entire report .



Source: Open Markets Institute and Farm Action news release


WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, Open Markets Institute and Farm Action released their second annual report card grading the Biden administration's progress towards a July 2021 executive order, which directed multiple federal agencies to revive antitrust enforcement and promote competition throughout the U.S. economy.


The groups issued the following grades after assessing the agencies' progress since last year:


DOJ's grade improved from a B- to a B, reflecting that while the Department has not yet issued new merger guidelines or finished its investigation into cattle markets, it did bring new cases against agricultural monopolists and secured a substantial settlement from meatpacking giants that will reform poultry payment systems for 15% of the industry.


FTC's grade improved from a B- to a B. The agency revived important and underused enforcement authorities, but has not yet completed its merger guidelines. The agency could also do much more to challenge grocery giants' abusive buyer power and ban more unfair methods of competition that plague the food industry, such as exclusive dealing.


USDA's grade improved from a D+ to a C. The Department excelled on the "Product of U.S.A" rulemaking, but failed outright on others. Critical delays in the Packers and Stockyards Act rulemakings and the Department's underwhelming progress on its procurement policies prevented the Department from scoring better marks.


"The American people know corporate power consolidation of food and farming is bad for the wellbeing of consumers, farmers, the environment, and even our democracy," said Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Open Markets Institute.


"President Biden has launched the most important fight against monopoly power in decades and has called on every agency in government to play a role. These next 17 months are critical to making lasting change - and now is the time for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to prove he understands the mission."


"Breaking up concentrated power in food and agriculture markets is one of the most critical issues of our time," said Angela Huffman, President of Farm Action. "President Biden's executive order on competition was historic, but the real test is whether his agencies will deliver on his promises. As today's report card shows, the USDA must act urgently to prevent falling short. America's farmers and ranchers do not deserve, nor can they afford, failure from this administration."


More information can be found Here and a recording will be available at the event's conclusion.


Farm Action is a farmer-led organization fighting corporate monopolies in agriculture. We envision a fair, sustainable, and healthy food system that empowers farmers, ranchers, and rural communities to feed their neighbors.


Open Markets Institute is a team of journalists, researchers, lawyers, economists, and advocates working together to expose and reverse the stranglehold that corporate monopolies have on our country. Learn more at


Editor's Note: This should concern us. Meat packers were "first" but regular readers know seed is "next." See the last article in this issue of the Weekly Update for some details. We cannot help but believe this is a problem created to legitimize a solution that has far different goals than making food more secure and affordable. Consider the following quote from the article.


"The American people know corporate power consolidation of food and farming is bad for the wellbeing of consumers, farmers, the environment, and even our democracy," said Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Open Markets Institute.


Aside from the fact that our federal government is not a "democracy" this statement raises so many factual questions that it qualifies as absurd. This editor once believed the phrase "follow the money" was trite and over-used; no longer. People who make a living fear-mongering baseless worries have little purpose.


The stubborn fact remains that the United States enjoys the safest, most affordable, and abundant food in the world.



The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting offers for nearly 2.7 million acres from agricultural producers and private landowners through this year's Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup, which received a record setting sign-up of 4.6 million acres in offers. This working lands program allows producers and landowners to continue grazing and haying practices while protecting grasslands and further the CRP's impacts. Grassland CRP is part of the Biden-Harris administration's broader effort to address climate change and conserve natural resources.


Top states for this year's Grassland CRP signup include:


Colorado, at 430,899 acres;

Nebraska, at 417,865 acres; and

South Dakota, at 325,443 acres.


Producers can still make an offer to participate in CRP through the Continuous CRP signup, which is ongoing, by contacting FSA at their local USDA Service Center.


Here's an interesting article in "Science" magazine about self-perpetuating hybrid crops without seed. Take a look.


Jul. 20, 2023

Source: USDA news release


Washington - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today launched a partnership between USDA and bipartisan attorneys general in 31 states and the District of Columbia to enhance competition and protect consumers in food and agricultural markets, including in grocery, meat and poultry processing, and other markets.


Through a framework established in consultation with the state attorneys general, this new partnership will assist state attorneys general in tackling anticompetitive market structures in agriculture and related industries that are raising prices and limiting choices for consumers and producers. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the partnership at the White House Competition Council meeting, which marked the second anniversary of President Biden's Executive Order on Promoting Competition.


"The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to addressing corporate consolidation and its negative effects on the U.S. economy, such as unfair competition and increased prices," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.


"By placing necessary resources where they are needed most and helping states identify and address anticompetitive and anti-consumer behavior, in partnership with federal authorities, through these cooperative agreements we can ensure a more robust and competitive agricultural sector. I'm pleased to see that a bipartisan group of states have committed to joining USDA in better protecting the fair and competitive markets that are a critical cornerstone of the American economy."


Building on the "whole of government" approach outlined in President Biden's Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy USDA issued a challenge to the state attorneys general to partner with USDA on competition in food and agriculture. This came after more than a dozen state attorneys general wrote to Secretary Vilsack requesting additional support for agricultural competition matters.


Background on Agricultural Competition Partnership

Under this new Agricultural Competition Partnership, USDA is investing in opportunities to combine state and federal authorities, expertise, and market insights. The agency is also leveraging funds to support complex cases and to jointly support research and academic work for use in future cases.


Focus areas of the Agricultural Competition Partnership include:


• Anticompetitive market structures and practices, as well as price gouging and other anti-consumer practices, in food, retail, meat and poultry processing, and other agriculture industries.

• Lack of choices for consumers and producers.

• Conflicts of interest, misuse of intellectual property, and anticompetitive barriers across the food and agriculture supply chains, such as in seed markets. (emphasis added)


Specifically, this initiative will enhance the capacity of state attorneys general to conduct on-the-ground assessments of competition and consumer issues, enhance coordination between federal and state agriculture and competition authorities, create new and more independent research programs, and ultimately result in fairer and competitive markets and more resilient supply chains.


At the request of the states, USDA is partnering with the Center for State Enforcement of Antitrust and Consumer Protection Laws, a neutral, nonpartisan organization that provides similar support to the states. The State Center is establishing the necessary mechanisms for the attorneys general to cooperate with USDA.


These mechanisms include an oversight committee to establish the project governance and transparency standards for the partnership, and a project selection advisory committee that will review project requests and recommend approval. Both committees will be composed of participating state attorney general offices. Additionally, USDA has engaged the American Antitrust Institute to be a resource for the states on this project.


All States are eligible to join by sending a letter of intent to participate to USDA. States can join or depart at any time. Only participating partners can qualify for funds or serve on the committees. A list of the states participating in the cooperative agreement is available on the AMS Fair and Competitive Markets webpage.


Additional USDA Efforts to Promote Competition and the Farmer Seed Liaison Initiative

At the White House Competition Council meeting, Secretary Vilsack also discussed USDA's recent investments to increase independent meat and poultry processing capacity, expand market opportunities for farmers, and support a growing workforce in rural areas.


He further highlighted USDA's plans to issue and finalize a suite of rulemakings under the Packers and Stockyards Act to protect farmers and ranchers from abuse. Promoting competition to lower costs is a central component of Bidenomics.


Today USDA also announced the formal establishment of the Farmer Seed Liaison initiative, which aims to enhance transparency and reduce confusion for growers and plant breeders operating in a complex seed system. The Farmer Seed Liaison initiative launched in March following publication of the report, More and Better Choices for Farmers: Promoting Fair Competition and Innovation in Seeds and Other Agricultural Inputs.


USDA continues to implement the report's recommendations to help make our nation's seed system more competitive and resilient. The Farmer Seed Liaison has now been formalized in the form of a coordinated team of USDA staff and academic cooperators who will work together to develop strategies for connecting farmers, plant breeders, seed producers, and other impacted stakeholders with other federal agencies.


As part of the Farmer Seed Liaison efforts, USDA announced the launch of a new web resource to simplify access to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) pending docket of plant patents and plant breeding-related utility patents. Available on the Farmer Seed Liaison webpage this resource provides automated searches of the database for common crop types, which gives farmers needed transparency about how they are affected by the patent system.


Together with the web resources, the Seed Liaison team will help to give farmers a voice in the patent process, similar to AMS's work on transportation. In addition, the Farmer Seed Liaison team underscores AMS's commitment to the enforcement of the Federal Seed Act and related seeds competition concerns. AMS maintains a Federal Seed Act website for farmers and producers to learn more about the Federal Seed Act and to report complaints related to the seed market, such as variety labeling violations.


For assistance connecting with the Federal working group on unfair or anticompetitive practices in seeds or for general inquiries or concerns in those areas, farmers and producers may contact the Farmer Seed Liaison team.


Editor's Note: We're from the government and we're here to help. A solution searching for a problem. Leveling the playing field. Call it what you want it amounts to interfering with your business for little, if any, positive ends.


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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.