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Sorghum Notes | December 21, 2017

Sorghum Notes | December 21, 2017

SORGHUM E-Notes | December 21, 2017

The voice of the sorghum industry

Merry Christmas
May peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through! NSP would like to wish all of our members a Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year. Thank you for an unforgettable 2017. It has been both challenging and rewarding, and as our industry changes each year, NSP continues to look forward to serving you.

NSP and USCP offices will be closed Dec. 25-26 for staff to celebrate Christmas with their families. Have a blessed holiday!

EPA Announces Next Step For Sorghum Oil Pathways
After almost four years of work by National Sorghum Producers industry partners and staff, the EPA has released a draft Renewable Fuel Standard pathway allowing for production of biodiesel using sorghum oil. We expect a Federal Register notice as soon as Friday with a 30-day comment period to follow. This is significant positive news for sorghum producers and ethanol plants in the Sorghum Belt as it provides more opportunities and better returns producing ethanol from sorghum.

NSP thanks Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Congressman Roger Marshall (R-KS) for leading a bipartisan letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in support of the pathway. Congressman Jody Arrington (R-TX) was also a key partner in this effort. Congressman Roger Marshall in response to the announcement said:

“I’m pleased to see that the EPA has completed their review of the Grain Sorghum Oil Pathway and published the ‘notice-and-comment-period’ in the federal register. After meeting with the EPA staff this past spring, it was clear to me that a pathway for sorghum is necessary for our Kansas sorghum producers, biofuels plants and the environment.

As our Kansas farmers continue to face decade-low grain prices, we must ensure that federal policy encourages new markets for grain and related products. I would especially like to thank Administrator Pruitt and his staff for moving this approval process to the next step. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this pathway will have in the Kansas First District.”

This pathway will mean ethanol plants are able to pay more for sorghum, but the immediate, direct impacts are difficult to quantify as basis appreciation due to Chinese demand is occurring rapidly and sorghum ethanol plants still face a disadvantage selling fuel in California. NSP continues working on the latter issue and will provide updates as they become available.To read the full statement click here.

Tax Bill Summary and Update
On Friday, Dec. 15, the House and Senate conference committee finalized H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The conference report was first approved by the full House and then by the Senate Dec. 19, before the House had to approve the conference report again on Dec. 20, for procedural reasons. Details impacting our members will be included in the Winter 2018 issue of Sorghum Grower, expected to hit mailboxes the week of Jan. 15.

2017 NSP Yield Contest Winners Announced
National Sorghum Producers announced this week winners of the 2017 sorghum yield contest. Farmers from 24 states entered to win. Producer yields are highlighted in 10 different categories with this year’s top yield at 228.07 bushels per acre.

The 2017 first place winners of the NSP Yield Contest were Winter Johnston of Pennsylvania in the Dryland Conventional-Till category with a yield of 228.07 bushels per acre; Stephanie Santini of New Jersey in the Dryland Double Crop category with a yield of 192.11 bushels per acre; Harry Johnston of Pennsylvania in the Dryland No-Till category with a yield of 226.31 bushels per acre; Robert Santini Jr. of New Jersey in the Dryland Reduced-Till category with a yield of 198.00 bushels per acre; Ball Farms of Idaho in the Irrigated Conventional-Till category with a yield of 212.70 bushels per acre; Jeff Scates of Illinois in the Irrigated Double Crop category with a yield of 188.22 bushels per acre; Robert Santini Sr. of New Jersey in the Irrigated No-Till category with a yield of 220.49; Mike Baker of Nebraska won the Irrigated Reduced-Till category with a yield of 202.25 bushels per acre; and Ron Robinson of Nebraska won the Irrigated National Food-Grade category with a yield of 191.43 and the Non-Irrigated National Food-Grade category with a yield of 161.88 bushels per acre.

NSP also recognizes Ki Gamble as our newest inductee into the Sorghum Yield Contest Hall of Fame. Gamble had the highest yield in the 2003, 2007 and 2012 contests in the irrigated conventional-till category planting Pioneer 84G62 in Kiowa County, Kansas.

The national winners and new hall of fame member will be further recognized at Commodity Classic in Anaheim, California, on Feb. 28, 2018, at an awards dinner sponsored by DuPont Pioneer. To see a complete list of the NSP Yield Contest national, state and county results, or to learn more about the contest, click here.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Announcement
The Congressionally mandated electronic logging device (ELD) compliance deadline was Dec. 18, which requires commercial vehicle drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records of duty status to use ELDs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently published: 1) a limited 90-day waiver from the Federal HOS regulations pertaining to electronic logging devices (ELDs) for the transportation of agricultural commodities; and 2) proposed regulatory guidance concerning the transportation of agricultural commodities.

For information on Limited 90-Day ELD Waivers for the Transportation of Agricultural Commodities click here. For information on Proposed Regulatory Guidance Concerning the Transportation of Agricultural Commodities click here. For more information on ELDs, please visit here. For questions about ELDs, the 90-day waiver, and/or proposed regulatory guidance, please contact FMCSA State field offices, find your office here.

House Introduces Emergency Disaster Aid Package
On Dec. 18, House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) introduced H.R. 4667 to Congress. The bill intends to provide additional emergency assistance to recent natural disasters including hurricanes, wildfires and other related agricultural losses. The $81 billion package will include funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Economic Development Grants, Agriculture Assistance and other programs. For more information on H.R. 4667 click here.

House Passes Measure to Avoid Government Shutdown
House Republicans narrowly passed a stopgap measure to avoid a government shutdown, one day ahead of the deadline. H.R. 1370 passed by of a vote of 231-188 sending it to the Senate for a final passage as early as Thursday evening.

USDA Reduces Chief Information Officers
In efforts to make the USDA more effective and efficient, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky announced the Agriculture Department will end the practice of having 22 chief information officers in its divisions. Instead, there will be a single chief information officer for the department and seven assistant chief information officers for the mission areas. The USDA will also consolidate its 39 data centers to one data center and a back-up. The implementations will deliver new online farm bill programs through service portals. For more information click here.

Export Report
Exports were very strong again this week with China purchasing 17.2 million bushels. This commitment makes the week the fifth-largest on record and brings total commitments for the year to 158 million bushels or 61 percent of the USDA export target just 14 weeks into the new marketing year. Actual shipments were also very strong with China and Mexico taking delivery of 9.9 million bushels. The shipments to China bring total deliveries to the country to 989 million bushels since 2013. Basis remained strong on these purchases and deliveries with sorghum delivered to the Gulf in January trading at 120 percent of corn or $4.81 per bushel. Central terminal bids were also firm with average basis among Kansas terminals at -$0.15 for sorghum compared to -$0.36 for corn.

Sorghum in the Spotlight:
EPA Announces Next Step for Sorghum Oil Pathways – KTCI
2017 Sorghum Yield Contest Winners Announced – Farm Futures
U.S. Sorghum Producer Tops Yield with 228 Bushels per Acre – Ag Daily
Sorghum Yield Contest Winners Announced – DTN
An Ancient Grain Takes Root in Honomu – Big Island Now
A Dietitian’s Picks for the Top Food Trends of 2018 – Self

Upcoming Sorghum Events
Dec. 25-26 NSP and USCP Office Closed for Christmas
Jan. 1-2 NSP and USCP Office Closed for New Years
Jan. 9 Ag Builders of Nebraska Annual Meeting – Lincoln, NE
Jan. 9 Sorghum U – Salina, KS
Jan. 11 Sorghum U – Dodge City, KS
Jan. 12 Oklahoma Sorghum Meeting – Enid, OK
Jan. 17 NM Sorghum Annual Meeting – Clovis, NM
Jan. 18 NeGSPA Annual Membership Meeting – Grand Island, NE
Jan. 26 Kansas Commodity Classic – Manhattan, KS
Jan. 29 Sugarcane Aphid Workshop – St. Louis, MO
Jan. 29-31 SICNA Conference – St. Louis, MO

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.

Quote of the Week

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a sate of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”  -Calvin Coolidge