Sorghum e-Notes | March 8, 2018


Farm Bill Timetable 
Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committee aim to complete their respective farm bill versions this spring. Chairman Conaway and the House Agriculture Committee have hopes of finishing a mark-up of the farm bill before Easter break. Earlier this week Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) noted the Senate is preparing for an April farm bill. He said the committee is already meeting with minority leaders and staff to discuss the bill and share legislative language.

Trade Continues to Take Center Stage 
Earlier today President Trump signed a companion proclamation imposing tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum. Debate continues as leadership from both the House and the Senate cautions the President of potential trade wars, economic dangers and counteraction of recent tax cuts. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday said that while the U.S. agriculture industry is “rightfully concerned” about being retaliated against if the president goes through with slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the strategy also may help the U.S. gain leverage in NAFTA talks. Canada is a top supplier of both the materials, and has been unwilling to engage with the U.S. on more controversial issues in the pact, Perdue said. Earlier this month U.S., Mexico and Canada met in Mexico City and made progress on issues pertaining to food safety, good regulatory practices and transparency during round seven of discussions. Continued meetings are scheduled over the next five weeks prior to the eighth round of NAFTA talks in April set to be in Washington, D.C.

Leadership Sorghum Class IV Application Deadline NEXT WEEK
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. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. March 16, 2018. Applications, class schedule and program criteria can be found here.

Commodity Classic Recap
Anaheim, California hosted over 7,000 agriculture producers, leaders and advocates during the 2018 Commodity Classic. America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show was held over a three day period, Feb. 27- March 1. Team Sorghum had a full schedule including spring board of directors meetings, the 2017 NSP Yield Contest Awards Dinner and Program and Sorghum PAC fundraiser. Sorghum staff and board directors were continually engaged throughout the week working the trade show booths and attending a variety of meetings and learning sessions.

During the Classic General Session, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue delivered a keynote address and spoke about trade, the RFS, farm bill action and his commitment to help U.S. farmers. Following Secretary Perdue’s remarks, NSP Chairman Don Bloss and leadership from other classic affiliate organizations took the stage to talk about the current issues pertaining to each industry. Bloss took the opportunity to address NSP action on behalf of growers relating to the ongoing China investigations and progress made on completion of a sorghum oil pathway.

Sorghum Checkoff Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary
The Sorghum Checkoff kicked off its 10-year anniversary celebration with growers at Commodity Classic Feb 27 – March 1. This year, the Sorghum Checkoff reflects on a decade of advancements in sorghum genetics and breeding, market expansion, increased research efforts and educational resource development and distribution. The Sorghum Checkoff celebrates this 10-year milestone alongside sorghum farmers, acknowledging their continued dedication to the sorghum crop and industry.

“We have made great strides in research, technology and market opportunity thanks to producer investments,” said Verity Ulibarri, Sorghum Checkoff chairwoman. “The Sorghum Checkoff will continue to work with producers and industry partners to meet the needs of our growers and pursue opportunities that make sorghum a smart choice.”

The Sorghum Checkoff celebrates this 10-year milestone alongside sorghum farmers, acknowledging their continued dedication to the sorghum crop and industry. Read full release here.

Bill Northey sworn in Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service 
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue administered the oath of office to Bill Northey at the Annual Iowa Ag Leaders Dinner on Tuesday. Northey’s position as Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs is President appointed and Senate confirmed as part of a reorganization of the USDA as directed by the 2014 Farm Bill. The creation of the new mission area prompted the repositioning of several agencies under a newly-named Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC), the position intended for Northey. FPAC includes the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Risk Management Agency. USDA is working with government officials to officially change the name of the mission area to FPAC.

National Sorghum Foundation and BASF Scholarship Recipients Announced 
In its second year, the National Sorghum Foundation and BASF partnered to present two $2,500 scholarships during the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif. This year’s National Sorghum Foundation – BASF scholarship winners are:

  • Micah Arthaud, from Keyes, Oklahoma – a sophomore at Oklahoma State University double majoring in biosystems and agricultural engineering with a minor in agricultural economics and agribusiness.
  • Payton Harrell, from Spearman, Texas – a junior at Texas Tech University studying agricultural communications.

Learn more about the National Sorghum Foundation here.

Export Report
Shipments for the week reached an all time high with China taking the delivery of 16.6 million bushels. Japan also taking deliveries this week and these shipments bring total shipments for the marketing year up to 134.8 million bushels. We have already shipped approximately 55 percent of the project export total for the marketing year. Texas Gulf bids are 110 percent of corn or $5.11 per bushel at the vessel. This does not reflect farmer price but instead is a representation of what exporters are willing to pay. This premium has declined over the last few weeks but remains in place as sorghum is being shipped at a rapid pace. Basis has also softened further north where central Kansas terminals are now bidding -50 for sorghum. However, corn bids are -45 so interior feed grain basis overall has softened.

Sorghum in the Spotlight:
Fight Over Sorghum Offers a Taste of a Trade Retaliation – The Wall Street Journal
Sorghum Checkoff to Celebrate 10-year Anniversary – High Plains Journal
Trade Tensions: US Sorghum Farmers Fear Possible Chinese Tariffs – CGTN America
U.S. Sorghum Industry Faces Chinese Trade Retaliation – WNAX
Sorghum’s Pluses are an Opportunity for Growers – High Plains Journal
Sorghum Report: A Look At RFS – KGNC
Tripling the Number of Grains in Sorghum and Perhaps Other Staple Crops – Science Daily
China’s Government Spurns US Sorghum, but its Feed Mills are Hungry for the Grain – Agri-Pulse
Trump Gets Mad; Farmers Get Hurt – Forbes
Kansas Governor Seeks Resolution in Potential Sorghum Dispute – High Plains Journal

Upcoming Sorghum Events
March 13-14  Governor’s Ag Conference – Kearney, NE
March 21     Colorado Sorghum Association Annual Meeting – Granada, CO
March 22     Colorado Sorghum Association Annual Meeting – Yuma, CO
March 23     Nebraska Sorghum Board Meeting
March 23     Oklahoma Sorghum Association and Commission Board Meeting

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.