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Sorghum Notes | June 29, 2017

Sorghum Notes | June 29, 2017

June 29, 2017

the voice of the sorghum industry

Budget Deal Close, Conaway Putting Foot Down for Farm Bill Funding

Budget negotiations lingered on this week as House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) stood his ground on his commitment to American agriculture, relentlessly defending policy funding that is vital to farmers and ranchers along with an agreeable cut to consumer food stamp spending. The agreed to number for cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has not been revealed yet, but Conaway said a deal has been reached and believes it is at a level that still makes it feasible to develop a new farm bill, one with greater opportunity to pass the Senate. The budget resolution, which was supposed to be revealed this week, is now expected the first part of next month after the Fourth of July recess.

House Appropriations Subcommittee Advances Ag Bill

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture advanced an ag spending bill Wednesday, cutting spending but still largely rejecting the significant cuts proposed in President Trump’s budget. Discretionary spending at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission was cut by $876 million from fiscal year 2017 levels. The ag bill preserves funding levels for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program. Agriculture research programs also received $2.8 billion, and international food aid is protected through the Food for Peace program, receiving $1.4 billion. The bill will now go to the full committee.

House Appropriations Subcommittee Advances Energy Bill, Cuts ARPA-e

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water also advanced their bill Wednesday that included a number of cuts–$209 million less than last year’s levels but $3.65 billion more than Trump proposed. National Sorghum Producers is extremely disappointed by the subcommittee’s actions. Most notable of the severe cuts was the surprise elimination of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-e) program under the Department of Energy. This program has played a crucial role in jump starting sorghum research and could have severe impacts on the development of new techniques and innovations that contribute toward America’s leadership in agriculture and our national energy security. NSP is actively pursuing an amendment that will restore full funding to this vital program as the bill heads to full committee. NSP members, watch next week for action and more information on this measure.

EPA, Army Corps Proposes to Rescind 2015 WOTUS Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers released a proposal to rescind the Obama administration-era Waters of the United States definition and re-codify the rules that existed prior to that definition. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said, “This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”

Regarding the proposal, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said, “WOTUS has never been about clean water. It was about feeding the Obama EPA’s insatiable appetite for power. Well, that ends now. Today’s EPA announcement is an important first step to getting the federal government out of America’s backyards, fields and ditches and restoring certainty and integrity to our regulatory process.” National Sorghum Producers applauds the EPA’s actions, as this proposal takes a step closer to alleviating unnecessary regulatory burden for many sorghum farmers and ranchers.

NSP Signs Letter to White House on USDA Appointments

National Sorghum Producers signed a letter to the White House on Tuesday along with other agriculture organizations urging President Trump to quickly fill key appointments within the United States Department of Agriculture. Sonny Perdue is the only person to have been nominated and confirmed for the USDA. Rural America, now, more than ever, needs strong leadership at the USDA and NSP will continue to urge these confirmations to get done in a timely manner. Read the letter here.

Senate Bill Would Address Ag Equipment Depreciation

A bipartisan Senate bill introduced by Amy Klobuchar (MN-D) along with Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts (KS-R) and Jon Tester (MT-D) would assist farmers and ranchers with replacing worn-out farm machinery faster with new equipment. The bill would create a five-year depreciation schedule instead of the current seven years for certain agriculture equipment. Senator Tester called the legislation “critical to reflect the needs of farmers and ranchers.”

China Trade Team Visit

After visiting sorghum operations in Texas last week, the group of 12 Chinese merchandisers continued their way north to Manhattan, Kansas, to meet with the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission and visit grain elevators, farms and ethanol plants. The group also spent time with the International Grains Program (IGP Institute) at Kansas State University. Representatives from the IGP Institute discussed sorghum production, marketing, USDA grain standards, grain inspection, export contracts and risk management.

China is the number one importer of U.S. sorghum with 276 million bushels imported in the 2015-2016 marketing year, and this two-week tour allowed hands-on learning experiences for the whole group while allowing producers and businesses to foster important relationships with buyers. This visit is one of many important opportunities created by the Sorghum Checkoff and U.S. Grains Council to continue valuable trade relationships with China.

USDA Launches Modernization Commission

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently launched its internal effort to modernize the department through its reorganization process. The Modernizing USDA Commission, described in a memo from Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Young, is in response to President Trump’s Executive Order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the Executive Branch.

The timing of the agency modernization effort will be tied to the FY 2019 budget process, according to the memo, and will include, “recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions; and will provide recommendations for necessary legislation and administrative measures to achieve the proposed reorganization.”

Considering Re-plant Options?

Export Report

Sorghum exports fluctuated this week as supply continues to tighten with China and Korea committing to purchase 80,500 bushels. This brings total commitments for the year to 174.5 million bushels, 80 percent of the USDA export target. Exports are still ahead of the five-year average pace and are very similar to last year’s pace. Deliveries remained strong with shipments to China, Japan and Mexico totaling 2.9 million bushels. Prices on the Gulf Coast were stable for July delivery at 113 percent corn prices or $4.62. New crop interior bids continue to strengthen.


Crop Update

By June 25, 95 percent of the nation’s sorghum was planted, slightly ahead of last year and two percentage points ahead of the five-year average. By week’s end, 20 percent of the sorghum was at or beyond the heading stage, five percentage points behind last year and two points behind the five-year average. Heading progress was most advanced in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. Overall, 65 percent of the sorghum was reported in good to excellent condition.

Sorghum in the Spotlight:

For Chinese, the Hot Product is Texas Sorghum – San Antonio Express News
Weed Management Options for Post-Emergent Control of Grain Sorghum – Salina Journal
Sorghum Pest Alert: Sugarcane Aphid Creeping North Once Again – The Progressive Farmer
Kentucky Allows New Pesticide to Save Crop. Will it Hurt or Help? – WFPL Radio
Sorghum Class Action Extended – Grain Central
KDA Rushes Pesticide Approval to Save Sweet Sorghum Crop – WKMS Radio
China Trade Team Checks out Sorghum – KVRN
World Attraction Comes to the Coastal Bend – KRIS 6 News
Sorghum Pest Alert, Sugarcane Aphid Creeping North Once Again – Progressive Farmer

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

Upcoming Sorghum Events  
June 19-30       China Trade Team Visits, Texas and Kansas
July 4               Independence Day (NSP & USCP Office closed)
July 6-8            TACC Annual Elevator Managers Meeting – Ruidoso, NM
July 15-19         Florida Food & Nutrition Symposium, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Aug. 1-3            Leadership Sorghum Session X, Houston

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
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
– Arnold Schwarzenegger