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Sorghum Notes | August 31, 2017

Sorghum Notes | August 31, 2017

August 31, 2017

the voice of the sorghum industry

Hurricane Harvey Wreaks Havoc on Agriculture
Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast and parts of Louisiana hard this week, wreaking havoc on people, homes, businesses and farms. President Donald Trump visited Corpus Christi, Texas, and Austin on Tuesday for briefings with local officials and is planning to return on Saturday to further survey the damage. Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to visit Rockport, the hardest hit area, today. Many of our members and sorghum growers have suffered damage to their farms, homes and equipment, and National Sorghum Producers is continuing to pray for everyone as they begin to assess the damages. We have created the hashtag #SorghumStandsWithYou as a way for the sorghum community to share words of support and encouragement on social media to our friends impacted by this week’s events.

Sorghum Grower Testifies at Farm Bill Listening Session
The last of several farm bill listening sessions hosted by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX), Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) and members of the committee was held Wednesday at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois. These sessions, “Conversations in the Field,” have allowed the committee to hear the needs of farmers and ranchers across the country in the upcoming farm bill. After each session, Chairman Conaway expressed his desire to begin writing a farm bill this fall that works for all of agriculture. National Sorghum Producers Legislative Committee member John Williams of Enfield, Illinois, testified on behalf of the sorghum industry speaking on the need for PLC, to improve crop insurance to work for all commodities and increase funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program. Click here to watch the listening session.

Enter the 2017 National Sorghum Producers Yield Contest
The National Sorghum Producers Yield Contest provides sorghum farmers with the opportunity to showcase their sorghum crop, competing with farmers across the Sorghum Belt. This contest allows our industry to recognize some of the best growers in the U.S. and helps farmers to grow and learn from one another.

NSP has set a yield goal of 250 bushels per acre or more to illustrate sorghum’s yield potential. All division placings will be determined by yield only. NSP is offering incentives with support from the United Sorghum Checkoff Program to award growers who reach this new benchmark. Contestants successfully participating in this category will receive:

  • 1st Place – Three-year truck lease (Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge or Toyota)
  • 2nd Place – All-terrain vehicle
  • 3rd Place – Riding lawn mower

Entry forms must be postmarked at least ten days prior to harvest. Harvest Report forms and Management Information forms must be completed and returned to the NSP office no later than Dec. 1, 2017. Click here for more information.

WOTUS Comment Period Extended, EPA Hosting TeleConferences for Input
The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking input from the agriculture industry on the Waters of the U.S. rule. EPA will host 10 teleconferences and one public meeting this fall to get advice on how it should revise the rule. In a Federal Register notice published on Monday, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers said nine of the teleconferences will be geared toward specific industries, including agriculture scheduled for October 17. The teleconference on November 21 will be open to the general public at large. Teleconferences will be on Tuesdays from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. ET beginning September 19. Click here for more information.

The public comment period deadline on the Waters of the United States rule has been extended to September 27. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposal that would eliminate the 2015 WOTUS rule and allow the agency to develop a rule that does not create a huge regulatory burden for agriculture. We encourage you to submit comments to the EPA in support of this repeal. You may submit your comments here:

U.S. Grains Council & Sorghum Make Pitch to Mexican Pet Food Industry
National Sorghum Producers and Sorghum Checkoff CEO Tim Lust traveled to Mexico last week to discuss sorghum’s place in the pet food industry at an annual feed conference. This follows a visit organized by the U.S. Grains Council from a team of Mexican pet food manufacturers to the IGP Institute in Manhattan, Kansas, to learn about sorghum as a feed ingredient, palatability, processing, digestibility and sourcing. The pet food industry is beginning to follow many human health trends thus creating a big opportunity for the U.S. sorghum industry. Sorghum is well-positioned to meet the needs of the pet food industry as the grain has a low glycemic index and provides beneficial fiber and antioxidants for pets. Click here to learn moreabout sorghum in pet food.

Trade Team Visits Vietnam and Thailand 
This week the U.S. Grains Council conducted a trade team trip to Vietnam and Thailand with the Sorghum Checkoff to help provide information on U.S. grain products for use in aquaculture feeds. The team consisted of Manuel Sanchez, Council Director for South and Southeast Asia; Tran Trong Chien, Council Country Manager-Vietnam; Dr. Budi Tangendjaja, Council Regional Technical Director-Indonesia; Dr. Rebecca Lochmann, Aquaculture Nutritionist, University of Arkansas; and Florentino Lopez, Sorghum Checkoff Executive Director.

The visit was conducted in conjunction with the Vietfish 2017 conference and trade show. The team held a seminar at the conference highlighting the recent results of the trial conducted that utilized U.S. sorghum in the production of pangasius (catfish) in Vietnam. The results of this cooperatively sponsored feeding trial helped provide information currently not available to end users considering the use of sorghum and other U.S. grain products. The team also visited major aquaculture companies to provide targeted information on U.S. grain.

Vietnam is a rapidly growing and dynamic marketplace that offers U.S. sorghum producers potential entry into a new, highly valuable market like aquaculture production. Council activities like these offer end users the opportunity to learn more about U.S. grain products. Vietnam is one of many rapidly growing Asian countries that will continue to offer U.S. producers continued demand increases for high quality U.S. grain products. The Sorghum Checkoff remains focused on collaboratively working with the U.S. Grains Council on targeted demand and value programs that will ultimately help provide farmers with added profit potential.

Crop Update
By week’s end, 91 percent of the sorghum was at or beyond the heading stage, three percentage points behind last year but slightly ahead of the five-year average. Nationally, 49 percent of this year’s sorghum was at or beyond the coloring stage by August 27, 12 percentage points behind last year and five points behind the five-year average. Twenty-nine percent of the crop was mature by week’s end, three percentage points behind last year and two points behind the five-year average. Harvest advanced slowly with activity limited to portions of Texas and the Mississippi Delta. By August 27, producers had harvested 21 percent of the nation’s crop, three percentage points ahead of last year, but slightly behind the five-year average. Overall, 65 percent of the sorghum was reported in good to excellent condition, down slightly from last week but equal to the same time last year.

Export Report
Exports commitments were very strong this week with China committing to purchase 11 million bushels of old crop sorghum. This brings total commitments to 213 million bushels or 95 percent of the USDA export target. New crop sorghum purchases were also strong, and total commitments for new crop sorghum now total 18 million bushels or 8.7 percent of the USDA export target one week before the marketing year begins.

NSP-BASF Joint Scholarship Application Now Open
Applications for the National Sorghum Foundation-BASF Joint Scholarship are now open. The scholarship will include a tuition award for the 2018-2019 school year as well as cover recipients’ cost to attend the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, California. Applicants must be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in an agriculturally related curriculum. Students must be a child or grandchild of an NSP member, and undergraduates must be entering at least their second year of study by the 2018-2019 academic year.

Click here to download the application. For questions or to submit application materials, please contact Debra Lloyd at or 806-749-3478.

Calling all Century Farm Owners
If you own a Century Farm, we want to hear your story! Please email or call 800-658-9808.

Sorghum in the Spotlight:
Fabric Dye Could Open Textile Market to Sorghum – The Progressive Farmer
Hurricane Harvey Arrives, Causes Flooding – High Plains Journal
Harvey May Cause Long-Term Disruption on Houston’s Rail Tracks – U.S. News
Sorghum at State Fair – Fremont Tribune
Area Sorghum Showing Its Color – KGNC

Upcoming Sorghum Events
Sep. 4             Labor Day – NSP & USCP offices closed
Sept. 6            Sorghum Field Day – Mike Baker Farm, Trenton, NE
Sept. 6            Grain Transportation Forum, Garden City, KS (Click here for information)
Sept. 7-8         Grain Transportation Worskhop, Manhattan, KS (Click here for information)
Sept. 7            Sorghum Field Day – John Dolnicek Farm, Lawrence, NE
Sept. 8            Sorghum Field Day – John Dvoracek Farm, Farwell, NE
Sept. 12-14     Husker Harvest Days, Grand Island, NE

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, on Facebook and Instagram @SorghumCheckoff.

About Sorghum Notes
Sorghum Notes is a publication of the National Sorghum Producers. NSP represents U.S. sorghum producers and serves as the voice of the sorghum industry from coast to coast through education and legislative and regulatory representation.

Quote of the Week
“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” -Confucius