|House Passes CR, but Shutdown Looms
The House voted late Thursday to keep the government funded for four more weeks, but chances of a shutdown increased when Senate Democrats announced they have the votes to block the continuing resolution in the upper chamber, shutting down the government at the stroke of midnight tonight. Democratic senators say they are resolved to oppose any CR until a deal is reached to authorize Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been advising members of the Senate that they should prepare to stay in D.C. for the weekend unless a deal can be reached. The range of outcomes includes a shut down tonight, Senate passage of a CR due to a deal being struck in the nick of time, or the passage of a very short-term CR, the last of which is made complicated by House plans to adjourn this morning. Beyond the CR, in the context of the larger end game on an array of issues including DACA, the House has proposed including the H-2C agriculture guest worker program authorized by legislation recently reported by the House Judiciary Committee, although the 6-member bipartisan Senate proposal — unveiled last week and panned as inadequate by President Trump — does not contain a fix to the guest worker problem.
House Agriculture Committee Awaiting Farm Bill Price Tag from CBO
According to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX), the House Agriculture Committee is waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to provide an official score on its farm bill draft. The Chairman also noted the Committee is still on track to unveil the legislation by March. Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) stated that Feb. 14 is being eyed as a potential date for debating the new farm bill within the committee, although that date seems ambitious. Meanwhile, efforts to improve the farm bill safety net are in a holding pattern in the Senate as a disaster package that includes fixes to cotton and dairy has been caught up in the debate over government funding and immigration policy.
Sorghum Checkoff Seeks Applicants for Leadership Sorghum
The Sorghum Checkoff is accepting applications for Leadership Sorghum Class IV, a program designed to develop the next generation of sorghum leaders.
During the 15-month leadership program, class members will be exposed to various aspects of the sorghum industry in addition to personal development and networking opportunities. Class members will participate in both hands-on and classroom-style learning experiences to gain an understanding of how sorghum moves through the value chain, how checkoffs and stakeholder organizations interact on behalf of the industry and what the future holds for sorghum.
Eligible applicants must be farmers actively engaged in sorghum production in the United States. Fifteen growers will be accepted into the program’s fourth class.
Full consideration will be given to all applicants, regardless of age, gender, race or occupation. Every effort will be made to select a class, based on the applicant pool, which is representative of the entire sorghum industry, its diversity and rural community interests. More information on the class schedule and program criteria can be found here.
USDA to Work with Congress on CO-OP Tax Issue
As cooperative and non-cooperative stakeholders work together to arrive at a deduction for farmer members of cooperatives that is at least as generous as section 199 of previous law but not as generous as section 199A under the new law, USDA officials, including Marketing and Regulatory Programs Undersecretary Greg Ibach, say they want to help. Read more on the USDA’s role in reexamining Section 199A here.
Advanta Opens New Biotech Center
Advanta Seeds has announced a new state-of-the-art biotechnology facility at Texas A&M University in College Station. Representatives from Texas A&M University and leadership from Advanta’s U.S. and global headquarters were present. Sorghum Checkoff Crop Improvement Director Justin Weinheimer, Ph.D., attended a ribbon cutting ceremony. The new center will focus efforts on genetic gains in sorghum along with other crops in Advanta’s portfolio.
Sorghum in the 21st Century: Early Registration Deadline Extension
Early bird registration for the Sorghum in the 21st Century conference has been extended. The program will include five cross-cutting themes: accelerating progress in advanced breeding for improved crop adaptation to climate risks, improving productivity and increasing profitability to expand opportunities across global markets, enhancing resilience in the face of biotic and abiotic challenges, tackling key issues in food security and farming systems for improved livelihoods for the smallholder farmer and exploring the future of the value-added: Nutrition, biofuels and feedstuffs for evolving consumer demands. The conference will be in Cape Town on April 9-12, 2018. For more information about Sorghum in the 21st Century click here.
President Trump Coming Around on NAFTA Says Perdue
According to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, President Trump has come to see that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has some significant benefits to U.S. agriculture. Still, Sec. Perdue says that President Trump will not soften his approach to the NAFTA negotiations. According to Perdue, good progress is being made on the negotiations as he believes Canada is starting to engage and take the talks more seriously.
Export sales were very strong again this week with China and Japan committing to purchase 7.4 million bushels. This brings total commitments to 188 million bushels or 72 percent of the USDA export target just over four months into the marketing year. Shipments were also strong with China, Japan and Mexico taking delivery of 2.8 million bushels. Total deliveries now stand at 75 million bushels. Basis continues to respond to this demand with central South Dakota terminal bids of -$0.20 for old crop sorghum and -$0.60 for new crop sorghum (compared to -$0.48 for old crop corn and -$0.70 for new crop corn); central Kansas terminal bids of +$0.15 for old crop sorghum (compared to -$0.45 for old crop corn); and Free On Board (FOB) vessel Gulf bids of $5.16 per bushel or 126 percent of corn. FOB vessel bids are higher than at any time since August 2015, when the premium for sorghum was 31 percent.
Sorghum in the Spotlight:
Sorghum Still has Place on the Farm – Agrinews
Advanta Seeds Opens New Biotechnology Center – Benzinga
Advanta Seeds opens new Biotech Center – Feedstuffs
Texas Extension Provides Topical Education for 2018 – High Plains Journal
Against the Grain: DC’s Newest Bakery Revives Ancient Art of Breadmaking – WTOP
Sorghum’s Value Touted at Informational Meeting – High Plains Journal
Research Examines Conservation Reserve Land – KTIC
Developing Leaders For Sorghum -KGNC
Upcoming Sorghum Events
Jan. 25 KGSPA Commission Board Meeting – Manhattan, KS
Jan. 26 KGSPA Annual Meeting – Manhattan, KS
Jan. 26 Kansas Commodity Classic – Manhattan, KS
Jan. 29 Sugarcane Aphid Workshop – St. Louis, MO
Jan. 29-31 SICNA Conference – St. Louis, MO
Jan 30-Feb 1 2018 International Production & Processing Expo – Atlanta, GA
Feb 5-8 NSP DC Fly-in – 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.