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SORGHUM E-Notes | April 5,  2018

SORGHUM E-Notes | April 5,  2018

SORGHUM E-Notes | April 5,  2018

The voice of the sorghum industry


Trade Tensions Between U.S. and China Build
This week China reacted to U.S.-announced tariffs by introducing their own proposed tariffs on multiple American goods. The latest list includes sorghum, soybeans, corn, raw cotton, tobacco and may other agriculture products. China, the second largest purchaser of U.S. farm products, made a statement saying they are implementing their own tariffs to preserve their interest and balance the losses caused by the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, which took effect in March. Neither country has released the dates new tariffs would be put into effect. In response to these actions, NSP released the following statement yesterday.

China Retaliation Threatens to Further Harm U.S. Sorghum Farmers

China’s announcement of a possible future retaliatory 25 percent tariff on imported U.S. sorghum will not help China’s consumers or U.S. farmers, according to National Sorghum Producers. Such tariffs would mean additional financial burdens on U.S. sorghum farmers, who are already in the midst of cooperating with China’s self-initiated anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations of U.S. sorghum. More tariffs would also mean higher prices for Chinese consumers for whom sorghum is an important product. Chinese customers are valued trading partners of the U.S. sorghum industry and farmers, purchasing over half of total U.S. sorghum exports. NSP Chairman and Nebraska farmer Don Bloss issued the following statement:

“Right now we are taking a close look at the list indicating sorghum and many other important agriculture products are among those included for a possible future 25 percent Chinese tariff. There are additional steps in the process announced today. The proposed tariffs are not immediate and the timing of possible additional tariffs remains uncertain. But the financial toll on our producers is already taking place with this morning’s widespread market reaction to the announcement by the Chinese government.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first time sorghum farmers have faced depressed prices and market uncertainty. We saw a similar reaction after the announcement of anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations on imports of U.S. sorghum into China on February 4, following the Administration’s tariff action on imports of Chinese solar panels and washing machines.

“Trade wars are not good for anyone, and we urge President Trump and other negotiators to take a constructive approach in the ongoing negotiations that do not threaten more harm to U.S. sorghum producers. Our hope is that this situation will be resolved sooner rather than later. Sorghum is good for U.S. farmers and traders, and good for China.”

NSP Seeking Financial Support for Sorghum Farmers Amidst Trade Cases, Tariff Talks
Since Feb. 4, not only has National Sorghum Producers been cooperating with China’s self-initiated anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations of U.S. sorghum, but the organization has also been working with USDA and appropriators to find a solution to financially support sorghum farmers who experienced an immediate 20 percent drop in value of their product and continued price fluctuations as result of the announcement of additional potential future tariffs.

NSP is encouraged by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue’s recent remarks, reported by Agri-Pulse, indicating, while difficult, a plan to compensate farmers with commodities targeted by China on two lists for retaliation may be in the works. NSP continues to have these conversations with the Administration, communicating the value of the China market to U.S. sorghum producers and the losses already incurred during this difficult trade situation.

Waivers Ignite RFS Discussions 
Earlier this week Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) joined ethanol producers and other organizations to dispute hardship waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard granted by the Environmental Protection Agency to several Andevor refineries. Organizations against the waivers argue the EPA’s use of authority is an attack to Renewable Fuel Standards. As discussions over the RFS continue, government officials are allegedly scheduled to discuss the Administration’s plan of action to resolve the biofuels policy debate next week. Pro-ethanol officials will likely ask to send the discussion back to Congress and to discontinue the use of hardship waivers for 2017 and 2018.

Trade Influences Future Farm Bill
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill may be more inclined to look at trade policies in the midst of the ongoing  trade dealings between U.S. and China. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recognized that Congress may need to utilize the farm bill to help producers effected by the ongoing trade disputes. “While we look to the farm bill to have a safety net, it has to be taken in the context of current events, and that would be the trade disputes that are ongoing,” Perdue said, acknowledging that there are still uncertainties as to how the current trade situation with China would ultimately affect agricultural producers. NSP has and continues to advocate on behalf of sorghum farmers to promote a strong farm bill.

NSP Accepting Applications for Board Directors 
National Sorghum Producers is accepting applications from candidates who wish to serve on the board of directors. Candidates for the board must be a member of the National Sorghum Producers and have a passion for working on behalf of sorghum growers through lobbying and fundraising activities. The NSP board is not limited to growers, and there is no experience necessary to apply. If you have a desire to improve the sorghum industry through one of the four available leadership positions, NSP encourages you to apply. Applications are available at and will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. CST on May 11, 2018. Contact Debra Lloyd at 806-749-3478 if you have any questions.

Officials Meet in Washington, D.C. to Talk NAFTA 
Senior officials from Mexico and Canada are in Washington, D.C., this week for NAFTA negotiations. In lieu of these discussions, President Trump would like to announce an agreement in principle at the Summit of the Americas scheduled in Peru next week. An agreement in principle is a legally enforceable, non-specific agreement between parties that outlines structural terms that will later be agreed upon. Kenneth Smith Ramos, Mexico’s chief negotiator, tweeted earlier this week that the renegotiation process is entering a new phase of intensive engagement at the ministerial level.

Sorghum Foundation Scholarships Now Available 
The Sorghum Foundation has three scholarships available for college students studying agriculture for the 2018-2019 school year. The scholarships include $1,500 to be applied toward one semester of tuition expenses. All applications are due June 1, 2018. For more information and applications, click here.

Secretary Purdue to Visit Kentucky Sorghum Farm
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue began his third “Back to Our Roots” tour on Monday. As part of his tour tomorrow, he will be visiting Sorghum Farm and Mill and meet with owner Danny Townsend in Jeffersonville, KY.

Sorghum in the Spotlight:
China Tariffs on Soy, Sorghum Spread Fear in U.S. Farm Country – Successful Farming
Ag Groups Urge Reasoned Trade Approach from Trump Administration – Delta FarmPres
The Fallout from US China Tariff Spat – Feed Navigator
China’s Tariff List Takes Aim at Texas Farmers and Ranchers – San Antonia Express News
China Retaliation Threatens to Further Harm U.S. Sorghum Farmers – KTIC
Boost Your Yields, Win A Prize – KGNC
First Solar, Then Steel…Now Soy? – Forbes
Millets and Sorghum: Forgotten Foods for the Future – Foodtank
Farm bill, ag matters at forefront at 3i Show – High Plains Journal

Upcoming Sorghum Events
April 9-13     International Sorghum Conference – Cape Town, South Africa
April 23-24   NAFB Washington Watch – Washington, D.C.

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.

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. 
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