|NSP Leaders Participate in Southwest Ag Issues Summit
The Southwest Council for Agribusiness and the Texas Ag Forum partnered together to host the third Southwest Agriculture Issues Summit earlier this week in Fort Worth, Texas. The summit was an opportunity for farmers and ranchers, as well as other agriculture stakeholders and policy makers to come together to discuss issues faced by the agriculture industry.Many farm policy heavy hitters attended, including House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas). National Sorghum Producers’ board director Kody Carson participated in a panel of grower leaders on “Summing up the Needs for the next Farm Bill.” CEO Tim Lust also participated in a panel discussion on “What It Will Take to Pass a Farm Bill: Advice from Washington Farm Bill Veterans.” Commentary focused on past farm bill challenges and how interested organizations can lay the groundwork for the success of the 2018 Farm Bill.NSP Vice Chairman Speaks on Panel at Kansas Commodity Classic
Yesterday, Feb. 8, National Sorghum Producers Vice Chairman Dan Atkisson participated in a panel discussion at the 2017 Kansas Commodity Classic. Atkisson and the other “2018 Farm Bill Policy, Strategy and Planning” panelists discussed the downturn of the farm economy and the importance of building a better farm bill to ensure a bright future for both Kansas and U.S. agriculture. Hard work and unity among agriculture groups were key points stressed during the panel’s discussion.
Texas Receives Section 18 Exemption for Transform
Texas producers have received Section 18 emergency use exemption for the use sulfoxaflor, the active ingredient in Transform WG, on grain sorghum for the 2017 growing season. This exemption gives farmers more options to treat sugarcane aphids. Transform has been an important tool for sorghum producers, used by more than 10 states under the Section 18 emergency use exemption in previous growing seasons.
Pesticides May Get ESA Review
Agri-Pulse reported on a decision issued last week by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that may require the Environmental Protection Agency to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the effects of 31 pesticide active ingredients on endangered species. The claims by the Center for Biological Diversity were dismissed by a district court judge, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals mostly agreed. But the appeals court also said that a portion of pesticide products should be subject to examination under the Endangered Species Act. Further proceedings will take place in the district court.
USDA Predicts Net Farm Income Drop
On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the USDA released the latest data concerning farm income forecast. According to the information released, USDA anticipates an 8.7 percent decline in net farm income in the next year, which brings net farm income to $62.3 billion. If predictions hold true, this would be the fourth consecutive decline since the peak in 2013. According to the department, it would be the worst performance for the U.S. farm economy since 2002. The next scheduled forecast release is August 30, 2017. For more information on farm income and wealth projections, click here.
Turnover in the House and Senate Agriculture Committees’ Staff Leadership
In the House of Representatives, agriculture committee Chairman Mike Conaway announced Matt Schertz will become staff director, replacing long-time Conaway aid Scott Graves. Schertz has worked for the committee since 2002 and has a long history of working with the sorghum industry. Graves will head up the agriculture practice at Williams and Jensen, a law and lobbying firm in Washington, D.C.
Earlier this week, Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) announced he is naming James Glueck to be staff director, replacing Joel Leftwich. Glueck, from Canyon, Texas, was named policy director of the committee in late 2016 and was a senior policy adviser prior to that. Glueck also has a long history of working with the sorghum industry. Leftwich is expected to leave his role later this month, but his next opportunity has yet to be announced. NSP knows the strong leadership of these two individuals and looks forward to working with them as we move into the next farm bill.
House Ag Announces First Two Hearings
The House Agriculture Committee announced two public hearings next week as the committee readies for considerations on the 2018 Farm Bill. State of the rural economy is on the table for the first hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15. The second hearing, to be held the following day, will delve into the pros and cons of restricting the types of foods and beverages that people can buy with their SNAP benefits—a topic long contested by nutrition advocates and industry groups. Both hearings will be held at the Longworth House Building in Washington, D.C. For more information on the House Agriculture Committee hearings, click here.
FBI Backlog Holding up Perdue Confirmation
Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) says he is holding off scheduling a confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s nominee for agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, due to backlogged FBI background checks. The hearing will be pushed back to at least the end of the month if it can not be scheduled for next week.
Exports continued this week with China, Japan and Mexico leading purchases, and China, Indonesia and Mexico leading shipments. Seven countries have now purchased a total of 128 million bushels or 57 percent of the USDA export target.
Sorghum in the Spotlight:
Feb.15 House Agricultural Committee Public Hearing, Washington D.C.
Feb.16 House Agricultural Committee Public Hearing, Washington D.C.
Feb.21 South Plains Profitability Workshop, Lubbock, Texas
Feb.23 Senate Agricultural Committee Public Hearing, Manhattan, KS
Feb.23-24 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Arlington, Virginia
March 1-4 2017 Commodity Classic, San Antonio, Texas
March 3-4 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, Memphis, Tennessee
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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