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Seed and Crop Prices Index by Genetically modified statusSeed and Crop Prices Index by Genetically modified status
Nov 16

TSTA Weekly Update, 11/16/2023

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association

Member News


There will be no Weekly Update next week, Thanksgiving Week, as the regularly scheduled posting will fall on Thanksgiving Day. We hope you all have a blessed and safe holiday and observe Thanksgiving in a way that highlights our many reasons to be thankful.


Membership renewals for 2023-2024 have been mailed, please look for them! And thank you to those who have already returned renewals!


Deadline for Costa Rican growout seed samples to be in Jeb's hands in Giddings is tomorrow! Puerto Rico deadline for seed to be in Giddings is November 29th.


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. 

Visit the conference home page to learn more


The 35th Annual Texas Plant Protection Conference will be December 5 & 6 at the Brazos Center in Bryan, Texas. Click here for more info and to register

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!


11/16/2023 - 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!


Nov. 16, 2023

Source: USDA


The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is soliciting feedback on a proposal to add three modifications that plants could contain and be exempt from USDA's biotechnology regulations. These modifications are similar and functionally equivalent to modifications that could otherwise be achieved through conventional breeding.


The three additional modifications that plants could contain and be exempt from USDA's biotechnology regulations are:


1. the same or distinct loss of function mutations in the paternal and maternal alleles of a single gene resulting from repair of a targeted DNA break in the same location on two homologous chromosomes in the absence of a repair template;


2. a contiguous deletion of any size generated using an externally provided repair template, on one or two homologous chromosomes; and


3. a change resulting from repair of two targeted double strand breaks on a chromosome, or at the same location on two homologous chromosomes, when the repair results in a contiguous deletion of any size in the presence or absence of a repair template, or in a contiguous deletion of any size combined with an insertion of DNA in the absence of a repair template.


The Federal Register notice can be viewed now on the News page of the APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services website. Beginning Monday, members of the public will be able to submit comments through August 18, 2021, by going to and entering "APHIS-2020-0072" into the Search field.


Editor's Note: Please let us know if you have input, suggestions, any thoughts on these proposals as we will surely submit comments in the not-too-distant future. We always do our best to represent what we believe is in the best interest of the Texas Seed Trade and it helps a great deal when we hear from you.


News Bits


Source: House Agricultural Republicans news release


WASHINGTON, DC -- The four leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees released the following statement on a Farm Bill extension:


"As negotiations on funding the government progress, we were able to come together to avoid a lapse in funding for critical agricultural programs and provide certainty to producers. This extension is in no way a substitute for passing a 5-year Farm Bill and we remain committed to working together to get it done next year."





Source: Outward Ag LLC sent via AgPR--the news distribution service for agriculture


BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Dan Funk, son of legendary seedsman Don Funk, announces he's acquired the interests of Outward Ag, LLC from family members. The acquisition is a step further in his goal to reestablish Midwest Seed Genetics, NC+ and Crow's as premium regional seed brands.


Dan Funk"Through focused, regional seed brands, our mission is to provide a choice for agriculture's next generation - from the seed they buy to the way they do business. I was fortunate to learn three crucial lessons from my father: provide the best quality seed, deliver what customers ask for, and make things as simple as possible," says Dan Funk.


With the re-introduction of NC+ in the West, Midwest Seed Genetics in the Central and Upper Corn Belt, and Crow's in the East, entrepreneurial growers and seed professionals will have the opportunity to be a part of the next generation independent seed company. NC+, Midwest and Crow's represent a new choice - with models that are custom-designed, responsive, and flexible for the specific geographies in which they serve.


Funk goes further, "We have an incredible, experienced team that knows seed represents much more than just another transaction. Fundamentally, it's based on consistently earned trust between a farmer and his or her advisor. While seed brands can never forget that truth, they also have to be prepared to operate in a much more efficient and effective manner going into the future.


"I would like to thank my family for being supportive of my passion to continue the Funk family legacy in the seed business. I have two young sons who love going on plot tours and riding on combines with their dad. My intention is to provide opportunity for the next generation, my sons included, to thrive in the future of agriculture."


About Outward Ag LLC


Outward Ag LLC is a family-owned and operated seed company that provides high-quality seeds to growers across the Corn Belt. The company offers a strong lineup of high quality, localized corn hybrids and soybean varieties. Outward Ag is committed to providing its customers with the best possible products and services.


About Dan Funk


Dan Funk is a fourth-generation seedsman and the son of legendary seedsman Don Funk. He has more than 20 years of experience in the agriculture industry and is passionate about providing growers with the best possible products and services.



Source: USDA news release


ERS conducts research on a range of climate change issues related to agriculture.


To read entire report, Click Here


Editor's Note: This is worth the read. It provides as much detail as you are likely to find on what the government has in mind for meddling in your business so they can further regulate you using climate change as an excuse. There are many references on the report to "man-made" climate change even attributing numbers to portions they've determined that YOU cause. Designating these kinds of numbers amounts to complete guesswork and cannot be defended scientifically. Nevertheless you can bank on the federal regulatory framework using these numbers to influence the way you do business. And by the way; there is broad scientific consensus, among "real" scientists, that globally, predicted rises in surface temperatures and slightly elevated C02 levels will INCREASE agricultural output and worldwide crop yields.


USDA Release


Prices farmers paid for crop seed increased significantly faster than the prices farmers received for crop commodities between 1990 and 2020. During that period the average price farmers paid for all seed rose by 270 percent, while the crop commodity price index rose 56 percent.


For crops planted predominantly with genetically modified (GM) seed (corn, soybeans, and cotton), seed prices rose by an average of 463 percent between 1990 and 2020. During this period, GM seed prices peaked in 2014 at 639 percent above 1990 price levels.


Despite their higher cost, GM crop varieties have provided significant productivity gains for farmers, partly through higher yield, but also by lowering farm production costs. For example, GM traits for insect resistance reduce the need for insecticide applications.


Similarly, GM traits for herbicide tolerance provide a substitute for mechanical tillage, thus reducing labor, machinery, and fuel previously used for controlling weeds.

Unexpected discovery opens bioengineering opportunities for human and plant health

John Innes Centre


An unexpected genetic discovery in wheat has led to opportunities for metabolic engineering of versatile compounds with potential to improve its nutritional qualities and resilience to disease. 


Researchers in the Osbourn group at the John Innes Centre have been investigating biosynthetic gene clusters in wheat – groups of genes that are co-localized on the genome and work together to produce specific molecules.  


In a study which appears in Nature Communications, they identified a gene cluster activated by pathogen infection, which was found to produce a compound they named triticein.  

Experiments to determine the structure of triticein surprisingly identified this compound as an isoflavone rather than a flavone, as the team had expected. 


Isoflavones are a class of phytoestrogen compounds well studied for their benefits to human health, which include prevention of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. They are mostly found in the legume family of which soybeans are the main source in the human diet.  


The discovery of an alternative route to isoflavonoid biosynthesis, this time in wheat, and the elucidation of the triticein biosynthetic pathway in this study, provides exciting opportunities for future research and paves the way for metabolic engineering efforts. Increasing triticein production in wheat, for example, may aid in developing cultivars with higher disease tolerance.  


Another possibility is that wheat triticein-forming genes can be expressed in other plants or microbes, from which the molecule can be produced, and its antimicrobial properties further investigated.  And because triticein is an isoflavone there is a possibility that it may have health benefits like others in this class, although there is much further research to be done on this prospect. 


Dr. Rajesh Chandra Misra, a post-doctoral scientist at the John Innes Centre and one of the lead authors explained: “We do not know anything specifically about potential health benefits of triticein, only about other isoflavones. Also, the concentrations of triticein (and other isoflavones) that we found in wheat grains were very low, so wheat cannot be currently considered as a source of dietary isoflavones.” 


Joint lead author Dr Guy Polturak previously at the John Innes Centre and now at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem reflected: “This study is a nice example of how scientific research sometimes takes scientists down unintended paths, eventually leading to unexpected discoveries. The main aim of this research was to learn about wheat chemical defence mechanisms, but it led to interesting new findings on plant biochemistry, in this case the discovery of a unique isoflavone synthase.” 


Discovery of isoflavone phytoalexins in wheat reveal an alternative route to isoflavonoid biosynthesis, appears in Nature Communications.



USDA Release


U.S. farm establishments received 14.9 cents per dollar spent on domestically produced food in 2022 as compensation for farm commodity production. This portion, called the farm share, is a decrease of 0.3 cents from a revised 15.2 cents in 2021. The farm share covers operating expenses as well as input costs from nonfarm establishments.


The remaining portion of the food dollar, known as the marketing share, covers the costs of getting domestically produced food from farms to points of purchase, including costs related to transporting, processing, and selling to consumers. One of the factors behind the long-term downward trend in the farm share is an increasing proportion of food-away-from-home spending.


Farm establishments receive a lower portion of dollars spent on food away from home because of the added costs of preparing and serving meals. The USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) uses input-output analysis to calculate the farm and marketing shares of a food dollar, which is an average of all domestic expenditures on U.S. food.


by Jerry Gulke,


A rebound in South American crops has been anticipated by traders for a long time. The focus for months has been the "big" crop coming in the southern hemisphere and the competition U.S. soybean farmers could suffer.


Recent WASDE reports had assumed another record Brazilian soybean crop and Argentina returning to normal, but the El Niño weather pattern might have something to say about that.


El Niño causes the waters of the Pacific Ocean to warm and normally has an impact on the world's climate. In Brazil, it usually brings a drier climate in the north and northeast and rain in the south. The effect in Argentina is a wetter year beginning with a wet spring (Sept. to Nov.)


The table above reflects the potential for an increase of 31 million metric tons (mmt) or about 1.2 billion bushels. WASDE has recognized the importance of the U.S. losing exports to a whopper crop by lowering U.S. exports this year to 1.76 billion bushels. This is compared to the past three years of exports at 2.26, 2.16 and 1.99, respectively.


Yet when supplies from all sources are put into WASDE's global supply and demand tables, U.S. carryout is seen as 245 million bushels or about 6.5 mmt. The importance of El Niño becomes apparent.


Change in Perspective


Total 2023/24 production in Brazil and Argentina is seen at about 211 mmt. The U.S. carryover of 6.5 is only 3% of that total. If Brazil would have an El Niño production comparable to last year's record, the 7 mmt shortfall would offset the U.S. total carryover. Suddenly, the perspective changes.


Sources in Brazil say crop potential has already been reduced by 2 mmt to 3 mmt. Further implications for replant and delayed planting suggest supplies out of Brazil will, at a minimum, be delayed.


To read the entire report click here.


by Mead Gruver, Associated Press


The human species has topped 8 billion, with longer lifespans offsetting fewer births, but world population growth continues a long-term trend of slowing down, the U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday.


The bureau estimates the global population exceeded the threshold Sept. 26, a precise date the agency said to take with a grain of salt.


The United Nations estimated the number was passed 10 months earlier, having declared November 22, 2022, the "Day of 8 Billion," the Census Bureau pointed out in a statement.


The discrepancy is due to countries counting people differently -- or not at all. Many lack systems to record births and deaths. Some of the most populous countries, such as India and Nigeria, haven't conducted censuses in over a decade, according to the bureau.


While world population growth remains brisk, growing from 6 billion to 8 billion since the turn of the millennium, the rate has slowed since doubling between 1960 and 2000.


People living to older ages account for much of the recent increase. The global median age, now 32, has been rising in a trend expected to continue toward 39 in 2060.


Countries such as Canada have been aging with declining older-age mortality, while countries such as Nigeria have seen dramatic declines in deaths of children under 5.


Fertility rates, or the rate of births per woman of childbearing age, are meanwhile declining, falling below replacement level in much of the world and contributing to a more than 50-year trend, on average, of slimmer increases in population growth.


To read the entire report click here.


Editor's Note: We're gonna need more seed.


Source: National Cattlemen's Beef Association news release


WASHINGTON, - Today, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), Public Lands Council (PLC), and Washington Cattlemen's Association (WCA), alongside other leading national agricultural organizations, filed comments opposing the Biden administration's plan to introduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades Ecosystem (NCE) in Washington state.


This latest proposed rule from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service follows years of opposition from rural Washington communities, cattle ranchers, and sheep producers. This is a misguided effort by federal bureaucrats that will not make a meaningful difference to the success of the species but will impose a severe burden on rural communities and livestock producers.


"Introducing an apex predator like the grizzly bear to a new area of Washington state is a mistake, and poses a huge threat to our rural communities and hardworking farmers and ranchers," said NCBA President-Elect Mark Eisele, a Wyoming rancher. "This plan is being pushed by bureaucrats thousands of miles away from the West who do not fully understand the harm this species will cause to producers. The Biden administration should listen to rural residents and rethink this plan."


Residents of rural Washington state have long opposed previous attempts to introduce the grizzly bear to the North Cascades Ecosystem due to safety concerns. There are currently no bears in the NCE; the species is already thriving and multiplying in other recovery zones like the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.


"Grizzly bears are twenty-times more dangerous than black bears and are well known for their aggressive, fatal maulings. Their broad diet means they can harm anyone-corn producers, orchards, cattle ranchers, sheep ranchers, the list goes on and on. Airdropping these bears into a new community in Washington state is not something the federal government should take lightly," said PLC President Mark Roeber, a Colorado rancher. "I have faced livestock depredation from gray wolves around my ranch and introducing an even larger predator will only cause more harm to our fellow livestock producers in Washington state."


NCBA and PLC have worked closely with Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, to oppose this rule and recently penned an op-ed raising the numerous concerns with this proposal. Rep. Newhouse has been a critical ally in opposing previous attempts to introduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades and continues to be a strong supporter of our efforts to reject this latest plan.


"While the WCA strives to be collaborative, we have grave concerns with the grizzly bear introduction. Bears have the potential to be destructive in ways we aren't prepared to handle, and they pose a risk--not just to our livestock--but to human life as well," said WCA Executive Vice President Chelsea Hajny. "WCA has raised these concerns with the federal government repeatedly and we urge Washington, D.C. to listen to the needs of Washington state."


View the comments here.


About NCBA


The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has represented America's cattle producers since 1898, preserving the heritage and strength of the industry through education and public policy. As the largest association of cattle producers, NCBA works to create new markets and increase demand for beef. Efforts are made possible through membership contributions. To join, contact NCBA at 1-866-BEEF-USA or .


Editor's Note: This has nothing to do with seeds or the seed business. We simply found it interesting and yet another example of ignoring local needs and wishes to pander to a broader base of constituents who will never be threatened by a grizzly bear but can signal virtue by supporting someone else's misfortune.

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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.