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Dec 08

TSTA Weekly Update, 12/08/2022

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association
Member News

Membership renewals were mailed several weeks ago. A big Thank You to those companies who have already renewed for 2023! Please check the mail for your membership renewal and member certificate and renew your support for the Texas Seed Trade as soon as you are able.

2023 Annual Membership Meeting Registration & Hotel Reservations


We are excited to return to Horseshoe Bay Resort for the 2023 Texas Seed Trade Association Annual Meeting, February 12th through February 14th. Join us for the 2nd Annual Scholarship Corn Hole Tournament and annual Super Bowl Party Sunday afternoon. Monday’s General Session will feature officer and board elections, a report on the state of the association, industry speakers and topics important to our business. The president for 2023 will host a dinner and auction that evening. The TSTA board will meet Tuesday morning and is open to all members in good standing.

We look forward to seeing you!


Dr. Jackie Rudd will be joining us for the meeting to discuss wheat variety development. Janie Hurley will also be with us. Janie has been Texas A&M and AgriLife intellectual property expert for 15 years. Along with program updates Jackie and Janie will participate on a panel discussing how we may be able to assist AgriLife regarding the protection of IP. We'll also have discussion on the appropriate procedures for recertification of wheat, should the need arise, in order to avoid the difficulties we experienced this last year. There is a connection between recertification and IP protection and we'll discuss that too.


Please join is for a state of the association update, election of board members and officers, and more!


Participants & Sponsors Meeting Registration


Hotel Room BlockTexas Seed Trade Assoc. Annual Conference 2023

ASTA’s largest event of the year, the CSS & Seed Expo is wrapping up its last meeting in Chicago today after 76 years! Please plan on being in Orlando next year at the Hyatt Regency Orlando!

Two of the Texas Seed Trade Association preferred seed labs participated in the ASTA meeting this week in Chicago. At top is the Indiana Crop Improvement Association with Laura Donaldson and Dr. John Zheng. Pictured immediately above is the Gutormson family, owners and operators of SoDak labs. We are proud these labs are members of the Texas Seed Trade Association.

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!


12/8/22 - 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


Source: National Sorghum Producers Association


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the appointment of four members to serve on the United Sorghum Checkoff Program's Board of Directors. All four appointees will serve three-year terms starting December 2022 and ending December 2025.


Sorghum farmers appointed to the board are include:


*Jeff Zortman of Fowler, Kansas as a Kansas Member;


*Kendall Hodgson of Little River, Kansas, as a Kansas Member;


*Joshua Birdwell of Malone, Texas, as a Texas Member;


*and new to the board is Zachary Rendel of Miami, Oklahoma as an Oklahoma Member.


The 13-member United Sorghum Checkoff Program Board is composed of nine sorghum farmers who represent the three states with the largest sorghum production - Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas - and four at-large national representatives.


Farm Equipment magazine reports:


Corn and soybean production could be fully autonomous by 2030 according to Deere Chief Financial Officer Josh Jepsen. "We're committing to have a total autonomy and automation solution for corn and soy in the US," Jepsen said on a conference call with investors.


"It's technically possible and I am really excited about it."


To read the entire article click here.


National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) reports:


In response to relatively stronger net farm incomes, U.S. farm sector capital expenditures have increased dramatically in the last three years, according to research by the University of Illinois.


In 2019, farm sector capital expenditures were approximately $30.1 billion. The forecasted value for 2022 is $44.2 billion.


Capital expenditures include tractors, trucks, autos, machinery, buildings, land improvements, and miscellaneous expenditures. Capital consumption represents the declining balance of capital stock or economic depreciation. The ratio of capital expenditures to capital consumption increased from 1.06 in 2019 to 1.70 in 2022.


The data implies that farmers have used a portion of their strong net farm incomes in the last few years to replenish their capital stock.


The changes in expenditures during the last four years have differed among expenditure categories. Specifically, increases were larger for tractors and machinery than for autos, trucks, buildings, and land improvements.

USDA’s PVP System Embraces Transgenic and Gene Edited Plants

By: Liz Freeman Rosenzweig, Christopher D Lew, Abby C. Burrus and Michael R. Ward


As appeared in MOFO Life Sciences - Because no one is above the law


Plant Variety Protection (PVP) is a form of intellectual property protection administered through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for new varieties of plants. PVP certificates (PVPs), which have been available in the U.S. since the enactment of the Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970 (PVPA; 7 U.S.C. §§ 2321-2582), have historically been associated with traditional breeding. However, there are actually numerous granted PVPs covering transgenic plant varieties, and the USDA is now also granting PVPs to gene edited plants. This article describes a recently granted PVP for a gene edited plant, contextualizing this example PVP in the broader landscape of PVP certificates that are directed to plant varieties created using modern biotechnology.


As of this writing, there have been at least 1,952 granted PVPs covering transgenic plant varieties since 1998, when the USDA started collecting this information (Figure 1a). This represents roughly 20% of all PVPs granted during this time frame. PVPs covering transgenic varieties are identifiable by an affirmative answer in field 18 in the PVP ST-470 application form (Figure 1b). These transgenes are often used to confer traits that do not usually occur in a crop’s gene pool, such as herbicide tolerance or insecticidal protein synthesis.

Figure 1a: PVP grants covering transgenic plant varieties by year. Data source: USDA, AMS, S&T, Plant Variety Protection Office, July 2022. The raw data consists of all PVP varieties where the answer to the question “Does the variety contain any transgenes?” is “Yes.” The bar graph was generated by filtering this raw data for records with an issue date, then sorting by issue year.

Figure 1b: Field 18 of a PVP certificate, indicating the presence of inserted nucleic acids. Source: PVP application form for rape variety ‘KSR4652’. Note that the USDA changed the language in this field around 2018; an earlier version referred to “transgenes” rather than “biotechnology events” (for an example of the previous language, see field 18 in the PVP application form for rape variety ‘Cara’). According to the USDA, AMS, S&T, and Plant Variety Protection Office, this change was due to industry pressure for the field to be written more broadly, in order to better encompass newer methods of genetic modification (personal communication, July 2022). USDA-AMS, for its part, views the use of “transgenes” and “biotechnology events” in this context as synonymous, and it collects the information in field 18 in order to assist the National Laboratory for Genetic Resource Preservation in handling seed deposits after expiration (USDA, AMS, S&T, and Plant Variety Protection Office; personal communication, July 2022).


In addition to PVPs on transgenic varieties, which contain foreign DNA by definition, the USDA has also recently begun granting PVPs on gene edited plant varieties. Gene editing is a form of modern biotechnology used to make precise genetic changes, but which does not necessarily entail insertion of foreign DNA.


For example, the USDA recently granted a PVP certificate to GreenVenus, LLC for the ‘GVR-108XL’ lettuce variety, which was created using gene editing without transgene insertion. Thus, in contrast to the PVPs discussed above, field 18 in this Certificate is marked as “No.” The table below summarizes the bibliographic information of the ‘GVR-108XL’ lettuce PVP, including links to relevant documents.


PVP certificate

No. 202000361



Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.)


Variety name



Applicant and owner

GreenVenus, LLC


Filing date

August 24, 2020


Issue date

May 13, 2022


Related applications

1) US Provisional Patent 62/925,853 (filed October 25, 2019);

2) International patent application PCT/US2020/54082 (published April 29, 2021)


GreenVenus, LLC’s romaine lettuce variety ‘GVR-108XL’ has edits to five polyphenol oxidase (PPO) genes, which are enzymes responsible for damage-related browning in fruits and vegetables, and negatively affect the shelf life of products such as pre-cut salads. As described in the publicly available description and data included with the published PVP application, the genetic edits in ‘GVR-108XL’ lettuce lower the activity of PPOs to delay browning, without the presence of transgenes in the plant’s genome. These edits were accomplished using a nuclease and guide RNAs to target multiple PPO genes. The nuclease and guide RNAs were originally introduced on a T-DNA using Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. This foreign DNA was integrated into the lettuce genome, thereby producing a transgenic lettuce plant that mediated its own gene editing. Once the transgenic nuclease and guide RNAs accomplished the desired edits to the PPO genes, the transgenic DNA was segregated out in subsequent generations by traditional breeding. The final ‘GVR-108XL’ lettuce plants thus include the PPO edits, but do not include foreign DNA (for more information, see pg. 8 and Exhibit B of the ‘GVR-108XL’ PVP application).


Options for plant IP protection and changes to PVPs


Although this post focuses on PVPs, it is useful to keep in mind that PVPs are one of three non-mutually exclusive forms of IP available for plants in the United States. The other two forms are utility patents and plant patents. Utility patents can have any number of claims, and can cover many different aspects a plant, including but not limited to plant lineages, parts, cells, varieties, and even sometimes traits. Plant patents are restricted to asexually propagated plants, and contain only one claim, which is limited to the particular plant described in the plant patent and clones thereof. Somewhat similarly, PVPs are limited to the protected variety, but have slightly broader coverage than plant patents in that they contain provisions regarding essentially derived varieties (EDVs). This means that permission must be granted by the Certificate holder in order to sell varieties deemed to be “essentially derived” from the protected variety, so long as the protected variety is not itself an EDV. Read a more in-depth discussion of EDVs.


What do we expect going forward?


We expect the number of PVPs granted on plants produced using biotechnology—whether transgenic or not—to only increase going forward. Given the recent updates to USDA’s regulatory process for assessing plants developed using genetic engineering under the SECURE rule, which we have summarized in a previous post, and the increasing technological ease with which such edits may be made, it is likely that there will be an increase in development of such plants in the US. This is likely to be particularly true for certain “simple” types of gene editing, such as targeted DNA breaks that are repaired without a template, and targeted single base pair substitutions, both of which are exempt from regulation under the SECURE rule.

Not only will significantly more GE plants likely be produced going forward, but the recent expansion in PVP coverage to also include asexually reproduced plants (summarized in a previous post) means that nearly all such plants are now potentially eligible for PVP coverage. We expect that the combination of these two factors will lead to a significant increase in both the number and proportion of PVPs granted on transgenic and gene edited plant varieties—though it remains to be seen how closely USDA will publicly track each of these categories.


As these technological and regulatory changes continue to settle in, it will be interesting to see how the industry adapts to the new regulatory atmosphere, and how use of the various forms of plant IP available in the United States continues to morph in parallel.

Clean seeds, good germination

A report from the Netherlands

Healthy seeds, and good germination with Plasma Activated Water seed treatment.


Over 40 Seed-pathogen combinations are tested in September, October, and November on germination and seed health after treating them with Plasma Activated Water (PAW). 14 well-established seed breeding companies send infected seeds to VitalFluid to do the trials. A wide range of seeds are tested: cucumbers, beet, flowers, and many more with different infections of fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Earlier testing has shown that PAW can be used for seed cleaning, as it removes fungi, bacteria, and viruses.


PAW is sustainable and produced by only using ambient air, water, and electricity. It is a copy of the natural process lighting.


Researchers Ineke Wijkamp (seed technologist) and Danique van de Krieken (microbiologist) performed the tests. The seeds are treated with different concentrations of PAW and treating times to find out the right treatment for each combination. After treatment the seeds returned to the seed breeders to test them on germination and seed health. VitalFluid B.V. is looking forward to the results.


VitalFluid partnered up with PETKUS SELECTA BV to scale up and combine technologies such as steam. Together they create sustainable seed treatment solutions to treat all kind of seed-pathogen combinations.


-No more chemicals

-No more pathogens

-Increased germination


Please contact Mark van Boxtel or Marcel Wolbrink for more information.


Editor's Note: Seems an interesting and relatively simple idea. At this week's ASTA meeting there was much discussion about what apprears to be the emerging need to guarantee seed free from "harmful organisms" in order to fulfill certain country's requirements for import and a proper phytosanitary certificate. Increasingly field inspections are insufficient for phytosanitary export to some countries and there is no universal recognition of pest free areas or pest free places of production. This largely leaves seed health testing as the alternative which can be expensive and time-consuming. We can't help but wonder if a simple method of cleaning might suffice to meet regulations.


Source: National Sorghum Producers Association


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) created enhanced coverage for irrigated grain sorghum producers. The new coverage will be effective November 30, 2022, for the upcoming 2023 crop year.


RMA said in its announcement it has developed a modification to the Area Risk Protection Insurance (ARPI) program to improve crop insurance options for irrigated grain sorghum producers in select counties in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. This modification was pursuant to the 2018 Farm Bill, a policy component NSP advocated to include, that required RMA to research and develop potential improvements to insurance for grain sorghum.


RMA said it will now allow irrigated grain sorghum producers to index grain sorghum indemnities to corn, which will be used as a "proxy" crop, and producer data shows when there is a loss for irrigated corn, there is a high correlation to a loss for irrigated grain sorghum.


The existing rates for irrigated corn will be used for irrigated grain sorghum and 80 percent of the irrigated corn yield will be used to determine the guarantee. There is no change to the grain sorghum price. This modification will be available for Area Yield and Revenue Protection, as well as Area Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion. If there is not an irrigated corn ARPI offer in a county, there will not be an irrigated grain sorghum offer.


NSP encourages producers to contact their crop insurance agent to learn more about the new coverage, and view the RMA fact sheet nereand frequently asked questions for more information here.


Source: AgriBusiness Global


Amid extreme market volatility and record-high prices, fertilizer consumption suffered in 2022. According to a new Rabobank report, a recovery in consumption is possible in some regions in 2023, with fertilizer prices lowering and commodity prices at historically high levels.


To view the report click here.


When geopolitics meets fertilizer markets, things get bumpy for fertilizers. That is exactly what has happened over the past two years, with tensions peaking after the invasion of Ukraine. But for 2023, we can expect things to settle somewhat, says Bruno Fonseca, Senior Analyst - Farm Inputs at Rabobank. "Price movements during these past months have borne a resemblance to those of certain periods in the past," he says. "History repeats itself. That becomes more evident when we explore historical trends in the affordability index over time."


The affordability index shows the relative price of a basket of commodities in comparison to a basket of fertilizer. Current price trends and volatility are in line with a three-year cycle of peaks. If history is to be believed - especially trends observed following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis - then prices should come down in the coming months.


"The index's moving average is trending lower, as fertilizer prices are returning to pre-war levels," Fonseca says. "For the next three months, the index will continue to trend downward but remain above normal. The key point of attention is on nitrogen products, as the natural gas crisis in Europe has the potential to make urea and ammonia more expensive and, therefore, to keep the index at a high level."


Fertilizer Markets Outlook


The nitrogen-based fertilizer market is the most volatile among all fertilizers due to its intrinsic connection with oil and natural gas markets. Thus, as those commodities become more volatile, urea and ammonia prices are expected to go with the tide. The 2022 annualized volatility of urea prices up to mid-October was above 60% - three times more than the five-year average. As long as the natural gas crisis in Europe lasts, volatility in the nitrogen-based fertilizer market will persist, with weeks of stronger demand pushing prices higher and weaker weeks pushing prices lower.


To read the entire article click here.

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