Happy Easter from National Sorghum Producers
National Sorghum Producers will be closed tomorrow, April 14 in observance of Good Friday. We here at NSP wish all our readers and their loved ones a very blessed Easter weekend!
GAO Releases Food Aid Report
This week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) implementation and oversight of the additional food aid flexibility authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The increased flexibility allowed USAID to use up to 20 percent of Food for Peace funds for administrative purposes, which has been interpreted by USAID as cash-based food aid.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway said in a statement, “Not surprisingly, USAID has used the vast majority of its new authority on cash, vouchers, and Local and Regional Food Aid Procurements—modalities not previously authorized under Title II. While this has already allowed USAID to avoid monetization of U.S. commodities to the greatest extent possible, the report suggests that USAID has yet to reach the limits it is allowed to spend on these activities.”
He continued, “I was surprised last Congress when some called for additional Title II flexibility as part of our hearing series on international food aid, even though there had been no substantive review of the flexibility already in place. Not only does this report solidify my concerns about USAID’s ability to monitor the use of cash and vouchers overseas, but also that demands for even more flexibility are premature.”
National Sorghum Producers remains opposed to cash or voucher contributions rather than grain distribution and was among nearly 100 organizations to sign a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations expressing full support of continuing at least current levels of funding for the Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Programs in fiscal year 2018.
Now Accepting Applications for the NSP Board of Directors
National Sorghum Producers is now accepting applications for the NSP Board of Directors. Please submit applications to Debra Loyd, NSP’s director of operations. Recruitment packets and application forms can be obtained here. The deadline to apply is May 12.
FDA Delays GMO Measures
The Food and Drug Administration has extended the public comment period on a set of biotechnology regulatory proposals issued by the Obama administration.
The first of the measure solicits comment on FDA regulation of food derived from gene-edited plants. The second measure deals with animal gene-editing. The June 19 extension aligns the FDA with a third proposal from the USDA to reevaluate its regulations for genetically engineered plants.
Decisions to move forward with reforms to federal biotech regulations will not be made until the political appointees are in place at USDA, FDA and EPA, a process which will presumably take months. There is a consensus that an update of the regulatory process is needed, however, there are appreciable differences of opinion on how.
NSP Participates in Commodity Classic Planning Meeting
Earlier this month National Sorghum Producers staff partook in the 2018 Commodity Classic planning committee meeting in Anaheim, California. The Committee focused on several agenda items and areas for improvement in preparation for next year’s Commodity Classic. Addressing registration issues at the 2017 conference was a primary focus discussion. The committee also discussed attendance demographics, potential changes to the 2018 programming schedule, and expanding trade show floor hours.
The committee also took part in several agriculture tours and viewed various options to offer attendees the 2018 convention. The 2018 Commodity Classic will be held February 27-March 1, in Anaheim, California, at the Anaheim Convention Center. For more information about Commodity Classic visit www.CommodityClassic.com.
Update: Section 18 Emergency Exemption
Sorghum farmers in Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Colorado, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Virginia have all been granted Section 18 Emergency Exemption for the use of sulfoxaflor on grain sorghum for the 2017 growing season. Sulfoxaflor is the active ingredient in Transform WG and gives sorghum farmers more flexibility when treating for the sugarcane aphid.
Want to know where the sugarcane aphid has been so far? Visit SorghumCheckoff.com to track the aphid. NSP encourages farmers to educate themselves on pre-plant considerations, which includes finding a sugarcane aphid tolerant hybrid. The Sorghum Checkoff has compiled a list of sorghum hybrids that have been identified as tolerant to the sugarcane aphid. Producers are encouraged to check with seed companies on the adaptability of these hybrids for their specific regions.
Exports continued their strong pace with China, Indonesia, Japan, and Mexico committing to purchase 3.0 million bushels of U.S. sorghum. This brings total commitments to 159 million bushels or 70.7 percent of the USDA target with 23 weeks left in the marketing year. Shipments were also very strong with China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Taiwan also taking delivery of 3.8 million bushels. The basis on the Gulf again strengthened week-over-week, and the flat price for sorghum there is now at 108 percent of the price of corn or $4.46 per bushel. Mississippi River bids while softer remained at or near parity with corn as did northern plains bids. Central terminal markets continue to lag, with sorghum bids hovering in the low $3.00 range or about 20 cents below corn in most cases.
By April 9, eighteen percent of this year’s sorghum crop was planted, three percentage points ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. Planting was most active in Louisiana, where progress advanced 11 percentage points during the week to reach 30 percent.
Sorghum in the Spotlight:
April 14 Office Closed for Good Friday, Lubbock, Texas
April 18 Swisher County Spring Ag Day, Tulia, Texas
May 1-2 NAFB Washington Watch, Washington, D.C.
May 4 PGFA Conference, Amarillo, Texas
June 9 McLennan County Row Crop Tour, Waco, Texas
June 16 McLennan County Row Crop Tour-Westside, Crawford, Texas
For a full view of calendar events, visit the NSP website calendar.
Market News – To view this week’s Gulf export grain report, click here.
Sign Up to Receive the Sorghum Checkoff e-Newsletter
Sorghum producers can also receive monthly e-newsletters from the United Sorghum Checkoff Program. To receive monthly news and information regarding the Sorghum Checkoff’s efforts in sorghum research, education and market development, sign up here. You can also follow the Sorghum Checkoff on Twitter @SorghumCheckoff.