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Sorghum Notes | July 20, 2017

Sorghum Notes | July 20, 2017
 

SORGHUM E-Notes
July 20, 2017

NATIONAL SORGHUM PRODUCERS:
the voice of the sorghum industry

House Budget Committee Passes FY2018 Budget Resolution out of Committee
The House Budget Committee worked late into Wednesday night on the mark up of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution, which ended in an unanimous vote to pass the budget resolution. The FY2018 budget blueprint, titled Building a Better America, plans to reduce the deficit by $200 billion over ten years with $10 billion of that coming out of agriculture’s budget. The budget now goes to the House floor.

Senate Ag Appropriations Subcommittee Approves Spending Bill
The Senate Ag Appropriations Subcommittee approved a $145.5 billion spending bill Tuesday, proposing $7.9 billion less than FY 2017. The bill, which is $4.85 billion more than President Trump’s budget request, includes $20.53 billion in discretionary spending for FY 2018. Some provisions in the bill include $2.8 billion in discretionary spending for the Food and Drug Administration, $1.038 billion for the Food Safety and Inspection Service, $874.1 million for the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and seeks to reinstate the undersecretary for rural development position eliminated by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. Additionally, the bill provides $73.61 billion in discretionary funds for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), $4.86 billion below 2017 levels due to declining enrollment. Similar to the House bill, the Senate bill prohibits the closure of research facilities and includes a rider that would prohibit the USDA from closing county FSA offices.

USTR Releases NAFTA Renegotiation Objectives
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer introduced plans and objectives this week for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. This is just the beginning of what’s expected to be months of talks between the U.S., Canada and Mexico as negotiators jockey for new and improved trade deals. Stakes are particularly high for the U.S. who highly depends upon Canada and Mexico as two of its largest markets thanks to shared borders and nearly zero tariffs. Mexico alone purchases $19 billion in corn, soy, pork, dairy, sorghum and other agricultural products from the U.S.

Objectives outlined by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative include the need for increased transparency, equivalency, timely implementation, information sharing and using updated technology. It asks to keep the “existing reciprocal duty-free market access for agricultural goods” and asks to “promote greater regulatory compatibility to reduce burdens associated with unnecessary differences in regulation.” Additionally, it outlines the need to “update and strengthen the rules of origin.” Read the full report here.

Negotiators from all three countries are scheduled to meet in Washington, D.C., August 16-20 for the first round of negotiations to rework NAFTA.

Trump to nominate McKinney and Clovis to USDA posts
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued a statement yesterday commending the President for declaring his intent to nominate Ted McKinney for the new post of Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs and Dr. Sam Clovis for Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics.

Ted McKinney is currently serving as the Indiana Director of Agriculture and served on President Trump’s agricultural advisory committee during the campaign. In the new post, McKinney will be the nation’s chief agricultural salesman. According to Secretary Perdue, “I have always said that I want someone who wakes up every morning asking how can we sell more American agricultural products in foreign markets. Ted McKinney is that person.”

Dr. Sam Clovis, in his post, will be USDA’s Chief Scientist. He was a major influencer throughout the campaign and was one of the first transition staffs to be named at USDA in January. Secretary Perdue said, “(Clovis) has become a trusted advisor and steady hand as we continue to work for the people of agriculture. He looks at every problem with a critical eye, relying on sound science and data, and will be the facilitator and integrator we need.”

These announcements, in addition to the nomination of Stephen Censky to be Deputy Secretary last week, make four total Senate confirmable political appointments made to the department in the 6 months since President Trump took office.

USDA Fills Key Nutrition Posts
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has filled some key positions at USDA to oversee the biggest part of the department’s budget, nutrition assistance programs and federal school and breakfast programs. These appointments, which don’t require Senate confirmation, will be key in working on changes to child nutrition standards and advising Congress in development of the new farm bill.

Brandon Lipps, a former House Agriculture Committee Attorney, has been named Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service. He’ll also serve as acting Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services until someone is confirmed by the Senate. During his work on the House Agriculture Committee, Lipp led the Nutrition Policy Team that developed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during debate of the 2014 Farm Bill. Brandon is a Lubbock area native and his wife, Hannah, worked for NSP for a number of years. We wish the Lipps well in their return to D.C.

Perdue also named Maggie Lyons as Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser to Lipps and Kailee Tkacz as policy advisor. Lyons previously served as the Senior Government Relations Director for the National Grocers Association (NGA) where she worked on all issues pertaining to SNAP and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) programs at the retailer level. Tkacz previously worked as Director of Government Affairs for the Snack Food Association and Government Affairs Manager for NGA.

National Sorghum Foundation Awards Annual Scholarships
The National Sorghum Foundation awarded three scholarships to students who have shown an appreciation for the sorghum industry. Chris Weber, a senior agronomy major at Kansas State University, is the recipient of both the Sorghum Challenge and Darrel Rosenow Memorial Scholarship. Holly Appleton, a junior food science major at Iowa State University, received the Sorghum Feed and Food Scholarship.

Each scholarship provides students with $1,500 to help cover education expenses. As the Sorghum Challenge Scholarship winner, Weber will also have the opportunity to attend the 2018 NSP D.C. Fly-In to learn about agricultural policy and regulatory agencies.

NSP congratulates both of these students on their achievements and wishes them continued success. For more information about the National Sorghum Foundation, visit www.sorghumgrowers.com/sorghum-foundation/.

Crop Update
Nationally, 31 percent of the sorghum crop was at or beyond the heading stage by July 16, seven percentage points behind last year and two points behind the five-year average. During the week, coloring advanced by more than 10 percentage points in Louisiana and Oklahoma, reaching 60 and 11 percent, respectively, ahead of both last year and the five-year average pace. In Texas, sorghum harvest was underway in the Blacklands and continued in the Coastal Bend, Upper Coast, South Texas and the Lower Valley. Overall, 63 percent of the sorghum was reported in good to excellent condition, the same as last week but five percentage points lower than at the same time last year.

Export Report
Sorghum exports remained strong this week with China committing to purchase 2.3 million bushels. This brings the total commitments for the year to 182 million bushels, 85 percent of the USDA export target. Exports are still ahead of the five-year average pace and similar to last year’s pace. Deliveries were strong with shipments to China, South Korea and Mexico totaling 2.3 million bushels. Prices on the Gulf Coast were stable for July delivery at 115 percent corn prices or $4.94.

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

Sorghum in the Spotlight:
China Commercial Credit Enters into a Non-Binding Letter of Intent to Acquire Sorghum Investment Holdings Limited – Guru Focus
Sorghum: A New Ingredient for Fish Diets – All About Feed
Time to Scout, Manage Sugarcane Aphids in Sorghum – Enid News
Sorghum could Substitute Cassava as Starch Source in Feeding Pangasius in Vietnam – Feed Navigator
Sorghum Harvest Continues – High Plains Journal
New Grant will Shift Focus of UW-Madison Alternative Fuel Research Center Away from Ethanol – Madison.Com
Plant Scientists Aim to Turn Sorghum into Jet Fuel – Nebraska Today
Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board to Meet July 27 – High Plains Journal
China Merchandisers Learn about U.S. Sorghum Industry with Trade Team – World-Grain.com
Sorghum Exports Surging – KGNC NewsTalk
National Sorghum Foundation Awards Annual Scholarships – KTIC Radio

Upcoming Sorghum Events  
Aug. 1             NSP/BASF Scholarship Applications Open
Aug. 1-3         Leadership Sorghum Session, New Orleans, LA
Aug. 8-9        NSP Budget and Board Meeting, Wichita, KS
Aug. 15-16     USCP Board Meeting
Aug. 20-23    MISE Conference, Atlanta, GA

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.

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
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” -Winston Churchill