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An insect pest acquires multiple plant genesAn insect pest acquires multiple plant genes
Oct 13

TSTA Weekly Update, 10/13/2022

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association
Member News

Attention Sorghum and Millet Seed Producers


It's Growout time again. We've reached out to our friends and cooperators in Puerto Rico. Carmen Santiago reports the Gan Eden Farm is a shambles and they lost nearly everything. She reports they are resilient however and they intend to persevere and are preparing for the Texas winter growouts. Apparently not their first rodeo.  


First planting dates are scheduled for Costa Rica and are tentative for November 15.  


Please download the growout planning & intention form found here for more information and to submit your estimates. Thank you and we'll forward more info as it is available.  


Reserve the dates!  The annual Texas Seed Trade Association conference will be February 12 and 13th, 2023 at Horseshoe Bay Resort.  Rooms will be available from Saturday night February 11th with departure on Tuesday February 14.  Super Bowl Sunday is the 12th.  Plan to join us!  Details to follow.  


Western Seed Association will convene their annual meeting on Monday October 31 at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, MO.  The meeting begins with a reception Monday evening at 6:00PM and transitions into the ASTA Farm and Lawn Seed Conference on Wednesday November 2.  


Please visit for more information and to register for the event.  

ASTA’s largest event of the year, the CSS & Seed Expo 2022, will be opening soon for attendee registration, along with the new menu of sponsorship opportunities at all events for the coming fiscal year (July to June).

After 76 years, the CSS & Seed Expo returns to Chicago, IL for one last time this December 5-8, before the conference moves in 2023 to the Hyatt Regency Orlando for the foreseeable future.

With a theme of “Farewell Chicago,” the event’s website offers tools to submit your favorite conference memories for the many attendees who have been coming to Chicago each December year after year, many for over 30 years and counting.

Already featuring over 70 exhibitors, this year is anticipated to represent a return in full force after smaller numbers in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Visit ASTA Events at for more information.


Editor's Note: The Bears are going to Arlington Park and ASTA is headed to Florida. Please join us at the last Chicago CSS meeting!

Save the dates for the 34th Annual Texas Plant Protection Conference. December 6 & 7, 2022 at the Brazos Center in Bryan. Conference and Exhibitor/Sponsors registration is available on the TPPA website:


Don’t miss these outstanding presenters in the conference General Sessions:


“Global Markets Outlook & Impact on Texas Agriculture” - Dr. Mark

   Welch, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

The Pesticide Forecast—Innovation, Opportunity & Challenge” –              

Chris Novak, President & CEO, CropLife America

“Fertilizer - Supply & Pricing Outlook” - Toby Hlavinka, President &    

  CEO, American Plant Food Corporation

“ Weather Patterns Impact on Texas Agriculture” Eric Snodgrass,                         

    Nutrien Ag Solutions, Science Fellow and Principal Atmospheric Scientist

“Gossypol-free Cottonseed Could Help Solve World Hunger”, Dr.

   Keerti Rathore, Texas A & M University

“Stink Bug Control In Sorghum” Dalton Ludwick, Texas A&M AgriLife

   Extension Entomology Specialist  

“Carbon Credit Contracts” – Tiffany Lashmet, J.D., Texas A&M 

  AgriLife Extension Law Specialist 

“Federal Pesticide Policy Updates” – Rod Snyder, Senior Advisor for

  Agriculture to the EPA Administrator, Washington, DC

Independent Professional Seed Association (IPSA)


IPSA's 34rd annual conference will be held January 23-24, 2023 in Tucson, AZ.


There are some different things this year we would like to cover:


• We will have all receptions on site this year to take advantage of the beautiful scenery of the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort! One of the receptions is titles the "Legends of Independence" where we will have a chili cook off and a salsa competition. During your registration, you will have the ability to register for each of those events - or judge!


• We will be offering a Flash Networking corner for you have quick 20-minute meetings during breaks! This is very new to IPSA and we hope this will bring a new benefit to our conference. These meetings will need to be prescheduled and can be done on the Conference App! For questions, please contact Cat at 


• In the agenda this year, we have built in a large amount of time for networking and visiting the exhibitors.


For more information click here.

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!


10/13/22 - 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!

News Bits


The U.S. corn and soybean harvests have pulled ahead of average. That is thanks to a generally dry pattern in much of the Midwest and Plains last week along with cool to seasonal temperatures in much of the region.


The USDA says that as of Sunday, 31% of U.S. corn is harvested, compared to the five-year average of 30%, with 87% of the crop mature, compared to 87% on average, and 54% rated good to excellent, up 2% on the week.


44% of soybeans are harvested, compared to the usual rate of 38%, and 91% are dropping leaves, compared to 88% on average, with 57% of the crop called good to excellent, 2% higher.


55% of winter wheat is planted, compared to 58% on average, with 26% of that emerged, compared to 32% typically in mid-October.


29% of cotton is harvested, compared to 25% normally this time of year, with 84% of bolls opening, compared to the five-year average of 81%, and 30% of the crop in good to excellent shape, 1% lower.


81% of rice is harvested, compared to 82% on average.


23% of U.S. pastures and rangelands are in good to excellent condition, 1% below a week ago.


The USDA's updated supply, demand, and production numbers are out at Noon Eastern/11 Central.


What's behind the recent slow down of the plant-based meat category? According to new research from Deloitte, there are several factors at play including a more limited addressable market, the pressure from inflation, and questions around the products' perceived health and environmental credentials.


To read the report click here.


By Ginger Rowsey, Delta Farm Press


The Mississippi River remains closed at two locations due to critically low water levels.


On Oct. 6, a spokesperson with the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed the River remains closed near Stack Island, Miss. as well as a 10-mile stretch south of Memphis, Tenn., near Tunica, Miss.


Traffic backups are getting longer at the two closings. At midday on Oct. 6, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 117 vessels and 2,048 barges at the closure near Stack Island, Miss. To the north, 21 vessels and 273 barges were held up at the Memphis closure.


The Coast Guard, working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, announced their intention to reopen the waterway near Stack Island, Miss., with restrictions at some point Friday. No reopening date has been set for closure near Memphis.


Over the past weeks, the Mississippi River has steadily dropped. At some locations the receding water is at levels not seen in a decade, according to the National Weather Service. The shallow waters have caused eight commercial vessel groundings over the past week.wsey, Delta Farm Press


To continue reading article, Click Here


The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Biotechnology Regulatory Services (BRS) will hold its annual Stakeholder Meeting on Thursday, December 8, 2022. BRS will offer in-person—at the USDA Center at Riverside, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD 20737—and virtual options for attendance. Please mark your calendars now to join us at this upcoming meeting to hear updates about our implementation of the revised biotechnology regulations, including the new Regulatory Status Review and Confirmation Request processes, and other 2022 activities.

We welcome your feedback on discussion topics for the meeting. Please submit comments or suggestions on potential topics of interest by October 14, 2022, to . We will send out further meeting details and registration information soon. Please check the BRS website for future meeting updates.


AMSTERDAM, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Plantise BV, a large Dutch grower of seed potatoes and other seed plants, on Thursday said it intends to close, citing high energy and rising labour costs.


The company, which has 400 workers on 50 hectares of greenhouse farms and posted sales of 68.7 million euros ($67.7 million) in 2021, said it would seek an orderly wind-down.


"Plantise's financial buffers are not sufficient to continue bearing these developments," the company said in a statement. "Important financial stakeholders, including our bank and shareholders, see no room for a compromise."


Editor's Note: This  is an amazing development and

and we're  going to see more of it before we see less.

An insect pest acquires multiple plant genes

INRAE (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) France


The silverleaf whitefly is a major crop pest in the tropics and subtropics. After studying its genome, INRAE and the CNRS identified 49 plant genes transferred to the insect’s own genome. Such a large number of genes transferred between plants and an insect had never before been detected. These findings open the door to new research on relationships between plants and insects that could lead to innovative pest control methods and reduce pesticide use.

An insect pest acquires multiple plant genes © US Department of Agriculture - Stephen Ausmus

The war between plants and plant-eating insects goes back millions of years and has led both protagonists into an arms race. As plants deploy signalling and erect physical and chemical barriers, insects develop clever strategies to bypass those roadblocks. But the genes involved in insect adaptation sometimes have a surprising origin. For the very first time, recent studies from 2020 and 2021 (Lapadula et al., 2020 and Xia et al., 2021) showed the transfer of two plant genes to the genome of the silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia tabaci), with one gene that gives the whitefly the ability to neutralise toxins produced by plants as a defence mechanism.


Intrigued by this finding, two scientists – one from INRAE and one from CNRS – sought to learn how many plant-derived genes were found in the whitefly genome, which was fully sequenced in 2016.


49 plant-derived genes in the insect genome


By undertaking a bioinformatics analysis, the researchers identified 49 plant genes in the whitefly genome deriving from 24 independent horizontal gene transfer events. Most of these genes show features of functionality, meaning they are expressed in insects and have sequences with signs of evolutionary pressure, and so play a potential role in insects. The researchers’ results also show that most of the identified genes, such as those that are involved in producing enzymes that break down plant cell walls, play a known role in relationships between plants and their parasites. This likely reflects the result of a process of natural selection of plant genes in insects, which may have allowed the whitefly to adapt to a large range of plant species. The origin and mechanism behind these transfers is still unknown, but they all go back several million years.


This is the first time that so many gene transfers between plants and insects have been identified. This study opens the door to new research on plant-pest relationships as well as crop pest control methods. Understanding the role of transferred genes for plants and insects could lead to innovative pest control methods based on plant breeding (varietal selection) that could reduce pesticide use.




Clément Gilbert and Florian Maumus, Multiple horizontal acquisitions of plant genes in the whitefly Bemisia tabaci, Genome Biology and Evolution, evac141,

Studies from 2020 and 2021

Lapadula, W.J., Mascotti, M.L. & Juri Ayub, M. Whitefly genomes contain ribotoxin coding genes acquired from plants. Sci Rep 10, 15503 (2020).

Xia, J., Guo, Z., Yang, Z., Han, H., Wang, S., Xu, H., Yang, X., Yang, F., Wu, Q., Xie, W., et al. (2021). Whitefly hijacks a plant detoxification gene that neutralizes plant toxins. Cell, Volume 184, Issue 13, 24 June 2021, Pages 3588


Source: U.S. Department of Labor news release


WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a final rule to amend H-2A temporary labor certification regulations to protect agricultural workers better, and to update the H-2A application and temporary labor certification process. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on Oct. 12, 2022.


The H-2A program allows employers to address temporary labor needs by employing foreign agricultural workers when there are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available, and when doing so will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers similarly employed in the U.S.


After the department proposed changes to the H-2A program's regulations in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in July 2019, employers, employer associations, agents, business advocacy groups, state agencies, federal and state elected officials, worker advocates, labor unions, public policy and academic organizations, farmworkers and others submitted tens of thousands of comments. After considering them, the department will publish the final rule, which becomes effective on Nov. 14, 2022.


"By improving H-2A program regulations, we are strengthening worker protections, meeting our core mission," said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. "Today's new rule makes several improvements to enhance the integrity of the H-2A program and provide employers and other stakeholders greater clarity."


The new rule includes the following important elements:


Improves safety and health protections for workers housed in rental or public accommodations.


Streamlines and updates bond requirements for labor contractors to better hold them accountable and clarifies joint-employer status for employers and associations.


Clarifies the housing certification process to allow state and local authorities to conduct housing inspections.


Establishes explicit authority to debar attorneys and agents for their misconduct, independent of an employer's violations.


Makes electronic filing mandatory for most applications to improve employers' processing efficiency.


Modernizes the methodology and procedures for determining the prevailing wage to allow state workforce agencies to produce more prevailing wage findings.



The changes in the final rule will also support the enforcement capabilities of the department's Wage and Hour Division to address H-2A program fraud and abuse that undermines workers' rights and hurts law-abiding employers.


Throughout the U.S., Wage and Hour Division violations of H-2A regulations and recovery of back wages have increased significantly over the past five years. In 2021, the Wage and Hour Division found H-2A violations in 358 cases and collected more than $5.8 million in back wages for more than 7,000 workers.


Read the unpublished final rule to amend H-2A temporary labor certification regulations at the Federal Register.


For more information about H-2A rules and other worker protections enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (866-487-9243). Calls can be answered in over 200 languages.


Use the convenient search tool if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.


Download the agency's new Timesheet App, now available for android devices, to ensure hours and pay are accurate.


Editor's Note: H-2A has been a virtual perennial issue for TSTA members that rely  on  weed roguing teams from South of the  Border.  We'll continue to   monitor the program and need to hear your specific concerns.


POLITICO reports:


The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the third largest railworkers' union in the country, on Monday rejected a tentative labor contract brokered between the rail carriers and workers' union representatives, marking the first union to say no to a deal help brokered by the Biden administration.


Remember: Dragged out negotiations and an impending strike nearly brought the railroads to a screeching halt last month, which would have a tremendous impact on the agriculture industry.


Biden and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh stepped in to help strike a deal. Railworkers were holding out on issues with unpaid leave and on-call policies. The deal would result in a 24 percent wage increase for workers over a 5-year period.


What happened: The BMWED-IBT union voted down the deal 6,646 to 5,100.


BMWED President Tony Cardwell said that workers "resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness."


What's next: BMWED will now reengage in negotiations with the carriers, which will reset the countdown clock on a potential strike. The union said it will delay any strike until five days after Congress reconvenes on Nov. 19.


Four other railroad unions approved the tentative agreements with the freight railroads, but every one of the 12 unions representing freight rail employees must ratify their contracts to prevent a strike. Voting for other unions will be completed by mid-November.


Editor's Note: It is estimated that 18% of rail freight is agricultural fertilizer.This is a big deal.


Source: National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) news release


The following statement can be attributed to the National Pork Producers Council:


"This is a historic day for American farmers (Oct. 12). National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and American Farm Bureau Federation presented oral arguments on NPPC v. Ross before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of California Proposition 12.


"As we've contended since 2018, one state should not be able to regulate commerce in another state and set arbitrary standards that lack any scientific, technical, or agricultural basis. NPPC presented a strong case and is confident in its arguments presented to the Supreme Court Justices.


American Farm Bureau Federation reports:


WASHINGTON,- The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council presented oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court today, challenging the ability of one state to set agricultural production standards for the entire country. The case involves California's Proposition 12 law that bans the sale of pork from hogs that don't meet the state's arbitrary production standards, even if the hogs were raised outside of California.


"Today's arguments have implications not just for farmers and ranchers, but for businesses and consumers across the country," said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. "At the heart of this argument is whether one state can set the rules for the entire country. Proposition 12 has the potential to put small hog farmers out of business by requiring costly renovations and forces them to adopt practices that farmers and their veterinarians may find harmful to their animals.


"Farmers share California's goal of ensuring animals are well cared for and raised in a safe environment. Unfortunately, Proposition 12's misguided approach will ultimately cost every family through higher food prices."


Read the Supreme Court brief Here


Editor's Note: Prop. 12 essentially says that if you want to sell pork in California it must be certified raised according to California State standards.  This precedent is fraught with so many dangers to interstate commerce it is virtually impossible to determine where it may lead.  If the US Supreme Court upholds Prop 12 states, particularly California, would be able to dictate to other states what would, and would not be, permitted, sold, or perhaps even possessed, with regards to things legally produced and owned in other states.

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