Port of Brownsville Secures $14.5 Million Infrastructure Grant to Increase Grain Handling Capacity

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 14, 2020)—Through collaborative efforts between National Sorghum Producers, Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Association, West Plains LLC, Representative Filemon Vela (TX-34), Senator John Cornyn (TX) and Senator Ted Cruz (TX), the Port of Brownsville has secured a $14.5 million infrastructure grant from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).

Texas Sorghum’s efforts to enhance export markets at the Port of Brownsville began with support through State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grants from the Texas Department of Agriculture, allowing West Plains to ship five vessels of sorghum to China through the Port of Brownsville. According to the DOT, the infrastructure grant is directed to the Brownsville Navigation District Project to support the development, expansion and upgrade of the grain and bulk handling facility at the Port of Brownsville. The project will involve landside, rail and road improvements in addition to related planning and development activities to improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of the movement of goods. Here is what collaborators are saying about the grant:

“This grant will create immense opportunity for market access and expansion for sorghum growers in Texas and throughout other sorghum growing regions of the U.S.,” said NSP CEO Tim Lust. “We are appreciative of the collaborative effort of all those who worked to push this project across the goal line, but we are especially grateful to Congressman Vela for spearheading this initiative and Senators Cornyn and Cruz for their support through the grant application process.”

“This is an incredible collaborative effort headed by Congressman Vela’s office with support from both of our state senators, as well,” said Texas Sorghum Producers Executive Director Wayne Cleveland. “This will be a game changer for sorghum growers not only in Texas but for the rest of the states as you very seldomly get the opportunity to increase capacity for infrastructure. Along with National Sorghum Producers, we are grateful for our state representatives’ support, and we look forward to the opportunity this grant creates for sorghum farmers through the Port of Brownsville.”

“West Plains is delighted to have received the port infrastructure grant award from the Maritime Administration, as the private sector partner to the Brownsville Navigation District,” said Chairman and CEO of West Plains LLC Amit Bhandari. “We think this will be a game changer for the sorghum sector. We’ll be able to offer a much more cost-effective solution for U.S. sorghum exports once the improvements to our facility are made, and that will put some much needed wind back in the sails of sorghum farmers. The rest of the world should get prepared for many shiploads of sorghum proudly coming from our Brownsville terminal very soon.”

“I am pleased that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the Port of Brownsville over $14 million to support a project which will provide an efficient and safe export outlet for South Texas farmers,” said Congressman Filemon Vela (D-Texas). “The Port of Brownsville is a major exporter of steel, aluminum and wind energy products in South Texas, and I look forward to seeing how the port will benefit from this grant to restore its business in agriculture.”

“As the coronavirus outbreak disrupts our way of life, it is critical that we take active measures to ensure that struggling Texas families and industries can weather the storm,” said Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas). “I applaud this announcement and will continue to do everything I can to make trade and economic growth along our southern border a high priority.”

“Texas farmers play a critical role in feeding families and supporting businesses across the country and around the world,” said Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “Today’s announcement is important for growing agricultural exports from the Port of Brownsville, expanding trade, and opening up foreign markets.”


National Sorghum Producers represents U.S. sorghum producers and serves as the voice of the sorghum industry coast to coast through legislative and regulatory representation and education. To learn more about NSP, visit www.sorghumgrowers.com.