Perdue to be Confirmed after Congressional Recess
Senate leadership announced a Unanimous Consent agreement to consider the nomination of President Donald Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, which will take place Monday, April 24 when congress returns from its two-week recess. Last week, the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee voted to favorably report Perdue’s nomination to the full Senate, advancing the process for a final vote. However, several Democratic Senators were reported to have placed a procedural hold on advancing the nomination due to some concerns, including Perdue’s stance on Cuban trade. Unless changes in the agreement occur, the Senate is scheduled to vote on Perdue’s nomination at 5:30 pm EDT April 24.
EPA’s Chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) Ruling Receives Opposition
Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency denied a petition by environmental groups calling for a ban on the pesticide Chlorpyrifos. The Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defence Council have filed a Petitioners’ Motion for Further Mandamus Relief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in response to the ruling.
While the activists’ motion requests to cancel the product, National Sorghum Producers believes the EPA will defend its decision. NSP has actively supported keeping Chlorpyrifos in the hands of sorghum producers and will continue to do so while keeping a close eye on this issue.
NSP Signs Letter to House Appropriations Committee
National Sorghum Producers joined more than 40 organizations signing a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations in support of continuing at least current levels of funding for the Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole International Food for Educations and Child Nutrition Program in fiscal year 2018.
The letter expressed full support for food aid programs saying, “American farmers, fishing families, manufacturers, the maritime industry and Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs) are proud to partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide food and tools which help alleviate hunger and malnutrition in those regions and countries with the greatest need.”
Kansas and Arkansas Receive Section 18 Exemption for Transform
Sorghum farmers in both Kansas and Arkansas were granted a Section 18 Emergency Exemption for the use of sulfoxaflor, the active ingredient in Transform WG, on grain sorghum for the 2017 growing season. This exemption, now granted in at least three states, gives sorghum farmers more options when treating sugarcane aphids. Arkansas producers can report applications under the exemption here.
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.
Projected Sorghum Acres Indicate Potential Shortfall to Meet Established Demand
The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service released its Prospective Plantings report March 31. National Sorghum Producers CEO Tim Lust released the following statement in response.
“As we know from past years, this report is a survey of intentions weeks before the actual report. With recent weather events across four states, we feel confident there will be additional sorghum acres likely behind failed wheat and other crops. Relatively, demand for sorghum continues to rise, and expected ending stocks-to-use ratios are now down to 7.92 percent.
Current sorghum prices, like corn and wheat prices, are a reflection of our current economy and the situation farmers are facing with local basis. We also recognize our challenge in supplying growing domestic and export demand that continues to aggressively seek sorghum at-cost or above the corn price in more locations across the Sorghum Belt, particularly at export terminals. This is encouraging for our industry, and as our mission remains focused on maximizing sorghum producer profitability, we encourage farmers to evaluate the entire market and policy landscape as they make planting decisions this spring.”
Exports resumed a strong pace with China, Mexico and Taiwan committing to purchase 5.1 million bushels of U.S. sorghum. This brings total commitments to 156 million bushels or 69.4 percent of the USDA target with 24 weeks left in the marketing year. Shipments were also very strong with China, Mexico and Taiwan also taking delivery of 8.7 million bushels. Basis on the Gulf continued to strengthen, and sorghum basis there is now at 107 percent of the price of corn or $4.33 per bushel. Mississippi River bids are also at or near parity with corn as are northern plains bids. Central terminal markets continue to lag, with sorghum bids hovering near $3.00 or about 20 cents below corn in most cases.
Sorghum in the Spotlight:
April 14 Office Closed for Good Friday, Lubbock, Texas
April 18 Swisher 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.
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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.