|NSP Joins Ag Groups in Asking Trump for Role in NAFTA Renegotiation
In a letter to President Donald Trump, National Sorghum Producers joined more than 130 farm groups and agribusinesses in asking for involvement in the renegotiating process for the North American Free Trade Agreement. The groups expressed eagerness to keep American industry competitive, add jobs and grow the U.S. economy. U.S. farmers want to keep the increased trade the U.S. shares with Canada and Mexico through NAFTA. Read the letter here. HudsonAlpha, Danforth Center Awarded Gates Foundation Grant for Sorghum Research
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $6.1 million to the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, one of the world’s largest independent plant science institutes. The money will be used for a project with Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a nonprofit genomics and genetics research institute, to expand and accelerate the development and deployment of advanced sorghum phenotyping and breeding technologies in support of improved varieties. Read more here.Trump Administration Issues Regulatory Freeze
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memorandum to all heads of executive departments and agencies ordering the immediate freeze of all regulatory actions. A common step when a new administration takes over, the regulatory freeze allows additional time for review of pending and upcoming actions. The freeze exempts rules designated by the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget as emergency situations or circumstances relating to health, safety, financial or national security matters.The memo also directs a 60-day postponement of regulations that have been officially published but have not yet taken effect. While details are unclear, legal counsel has advised they do not believe this regulatory freeze will affect Section 18 pesticide exemption applications. Regardless, most Section 18’s tied to sorghum were granted last year through April 8, 2017, so this should not impact them.
USDA Issues Biotech Proposed Rule
The day before leaving office, the Obama Administration issued its long-anticipated proposed rule to update its biotechnology approval process. The proposal calls for regulating only those genetically modified plants that pose a plant pest or noxious weed risk, otherwise, they would not be subject to USDA oversight. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Biotechnology Regulatory Services announced the postponement of a stakeholder update call originally scheduled for Jan. 26. The postponement comes after reports that the incoming Trump Administration has asked all agencies to cease communication while new officials are taking office. The NSP team is reviewing the more than 150 page rule. The comment period is open until May 19, 2017. To comment, click here.
Trump Officially Withdraws from TTP
On Monday, Jan. 23, President Donald Trump officially pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a long negotiated, 12-nation trade pact between the U.S. and Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Malaysia. Many will likely join a competing 16-member trade deal with China – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. National Sorghum Producers supports trade policies that keep markets open, level the playing field for U.S. sorghum producers and allows the industry to take advantage of non-traditional and opportunistic markets.
Perdue Confirmation Hearing Expected in February
The confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s Agriculture Secretary nominee, Sonny Perdue, is expected toward the end of February. According to transition officials, it will take several weeks to thoroughly analyze Perdue’s paperwork, including financial disclosures, business holdings, debt and income, for any conflicts of interest. Meanwhile, Michael Young, the director of the USDA Office of Budget and Program Analysis, is serving as Acting Secretary.
Senate Agriculture Committee Announces First Farm Bill Hearing
Chairman Pat Roberts (KS) announced the first Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee farm bill hearing in preparation for the 2018 farm bill. The hearing will take place on February 23, 2017, at Kansas State University’s main campus in Manhattan. The announcement of a second hearing in Sen. Stabenow’s home state of Michigan is expected soon.
Commodity Classic Discounted Registration Fees End Jan. 26
Today is the last day to get a discounted registration for the 2017 Commodity Classic scheduled for March 2-4, in San Antonio, Texas. Full registration covers all three days of the event, but one-day registrations are also available. Members of the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Sorghum Producers and National Association of Wheat Growers receive additional discounts on registration. Click here to register.
The pace of exports continued to increase with China, Indonesia, Japan and Mexico together committing to purchase just over 3 million bushels this week. Shipments were also very strong with China, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Nigeria taking delivery of 4.9 million bushels. With this week’s purchases, U.S. sorghum producers have now sold 50 percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture export target for the year.
Sorghum in the Spotlight:
Jan. 30-Feb.2 NSP DC Fly-In/Leadership Sorghum, Washington, DC
Jan. 31 2017 K-State Sorghum School, Wichita, Kansas
Feb. 1 2017 K-State Sorghum School, Colby, Kansas
Feb. 2 2017 K-State Sorghum School, Concordia, Kansas
Feb. 3 2017 K-State Sorghum School, Iola, Kansas
Feb. 8 Kansas Commodity Classic, Manhattan, Kansas
Feb.23-24 Agricultural Outlook Forum, Arlington, Virginia
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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