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This week’s Sorghum Notes

Guestworker Bill Passes Out of Committee
The House Judiciary Committee narrowly passed Representative Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) Agriculture Guestworker Act out of committee Wednesday. The AG Act would replace the existing H-2A program with an H-2C system to allow imported workers to work year-round. The program would drop requirements that employers provide housing and transportation to farmworkers. However, employees would no longer be limited to working on the farm that applied for their visa. The bill would initially allow as many as 450,000 visas to be issued, including 40,000 set aside for meat and poultry processors. The bill allows for the cap to be increased on an annual basis to meet demand. The bill will now go to the House floor and is expected to face a tough fight in the Senate later.

More Nominees Pass Committee Vote, Awaiting Full Senate Vote
Four nominees for key positions at the Environmental Protection Agency are now awaiting a full Senate vote after being passed by a committee vote yesterday. The Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee approved the nominations of Michael Dourson to be assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, William Wehrum to be assistant administrator for air and radiation, David Ross to be assistant administrator for water and Matthew Leopold to be general counsel. Dourson’s experience, spanning four decades, includes multiple science and risk assessment related posts in low to middle tier EPA offices through the 1980s and 1990s, as well as decades as a research toxicologist. Dourson has elicited fierce opposition from Senate Democrats and the outcome of the full Senate vote is unclear.

Additionally, the Senate Finance Committee has approved Greg Doud as chief agriculture negotiator. His approval process now moves to the full Senate for a vote. Doud is a former chief economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and a former member of the Senate Agriculture Committee GOP’s professional staff where he helped draft the Senate’s 2012 Farm Bill.

Bill Seeks to Fix Some ARC Issues
A bipartisan Senate proposal intended to address complaints about payment disparities in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program was introduced this week. The bill is sponsored by Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). It does not make any changes in the formula for ARC revenue guarantees to increase the likelihood of payments, but the legislation would make the changes that many producers have been requesting. One would base county yields on risk management agency data. Another change would allow Farm Service Agency state committees to adjust yield data when there are inexplicable variations. According to Senate aids, the bill should not increase the cost of the program

House Farm Bill Prep Accelerates 
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) said this week that the Congressional Budget Office has sped up its analysis of farm bill provisions that the committee is considering. He told reporters that the committee is still on track to bring out a bill before the end of the year or early 2018.

Enter the 2017 National Sorghum Producers Yield Contest
Sorghum harvest is, or will soon be, underway for many. We pray for a safe and bountiful harvest for all of our sorghum growers and remind you to enter the National Sorghum Producers Yield Contest before beginning harvest. The NSP Yield Contest provides sorghum farmers with the opportunity to showcase your sorghum crop, competing with farmers across the Sorghum Belt. This contest allows our industry to recognize some of the best growers in the U.S. and helps farmers to grow and learn from one another.

Entry forms must be postmarked, emailed or faxed at least 10 days prior to harvest of the contest acreage. Harvest rules, a harvest report form, and a management information form will be mailed to the contestant as soon as the entry entry is received. All forms must be completed and in the NSP office no later than December 1. For more information, click here.

ATTENTION: College Students in Need of a Scholarship?
Applications for the National Sorghum Foundation-BASF Joint Scholarship are now open. The scholarship will include a tuition award for the 2018-2019 school year as well as cover recipients’ cost to attend the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, California. Applicants must be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in an agriculturally related curriculum. Students must be a child or grandchild of an NSP member, and undergraduates must be entering at least their second year of study by the 2018-2019 academic year.

Click here to download the application. Applications are due December 1, 2017. For questions or to submit application materials, please contact Debra Lloyd at [email protected] or 806-749-3478.

Crop Update
By week’s end, 89 percent of this year’s sorghum was considered mature, four percentage points behind last year and slightly behind the five-year average. Nationwide, sorghum producers had harvested 47 percent of the crop by October 22, 19 percentage points behind last year and 12 points behind the five-year average. Overall, 65 percent of the sorghum was reported in good to excellent condition, unchanged from last week and equal to the same time last year.

Export Report
Export commitments moderated this week after a historic start to the marketing year. Shipments continued to be strong, though, with China and Mexico taking delivery of 2.8 million bushels. At this pace, total shipments to China will reach one billion bushels by spring 2018. Price continued to be firm in the interior as well as on the Gulf Coast where bids for delivery to the vessel maintained a large premium to corn.

Sorghum in the Spotlight:
Controlling Annual Weeds with Fall-Applied Herbicides Ahead of Corn and Grain Sorghum – Ottawa Herald
Farmers Sequestering Carbon for Better Soil Health – Post Bulletin
Some Sweet Fun at the Sorghum Festival – The Sampson Independent
Higher Altitudes for Sorghum – KGNC
Global Sorghum Seed Market 2017 – Invest Daily News

Upcoming Sorghum Events
Nov. 8-9         NAFB Trade Talk, Kansas City, MO
Nov. 14-17     NSP Board of Directors Meeting, Lubbock, TX
Nov. 23-24     NSP & USCP Offices closed for Thanksgiving
Nov. 28-30     Amarillo Farm Show, Amarillo, TX
Nov. 29          West Texas PAC Event, Amarillo, TX

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, on Facebook and Instagram @SorghumCheckoff.

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