Texas Sorghum Insider

July 24, 2012

Texas A&M Agencies Plan Formal Name Changes – Seven state agencies of the Texas A&M system will be officially renamed at the Board of Regents meeting set for Aug. 2, 2012. Texas A&M has the goal of maintaing a stronger agency brand for the future to maximize the benefits of the shared equity in the Texas A&M name. A new logo will be created for the agencies, but there will be no changes in lines of authority or reporting relationships. Three of the seven examples of the name changes include:  Texas AgriLife Extension Service will be Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service; Texas Transportation Institute will be Texas A&M Transportation Institute; and Texas Forest Service will be Texas A&M Forest Service.

USDA to Assist Farmers & Ranchers Suffering in Drought – Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced recently USDA’s new flexibility and assistance plan in their major conservation programs to offer much needed help to producers as the most wide-spread drought in seven decades intensifies in the U.S. So far, USDA has designated 1,297 counties across 29 states as disaster areas. He noted that many farm families will be struggling to make ends meat at the end of the crop year. The four programs within USDA that Secretary Vilsack’s is using his discretionary authority over are as follows: the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) – by allowing additional acres under CRP for haying and grazing under emergency conditions; the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – by allowing producers to modify current EQIP contracts to allow for prescribed grazing, livestock watering facilities, water conservation and other conservation activities to address drought conditions;  the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) – by authorizing haying and grazing of WRP easement areas in drought-affected areas where such haying and grazing is consistent with conservation of wildlife habitat and wetlands; and the Federal Crop Insurance Program – by encouraging crop insurance companies to help producers who may have cash flow problems to voluntarily forego charging interest on unpaid crop insurance premiums for an extra 30 days, to November 1, 2012, for spring crops. Policy holders who are unable to pay their premiums in a timely manner accrue an interest penalty of 1.25 percent per month until payment is made. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/drought.

Texas Sorghum Prices Staying Strong – As the drought lingers across the Midwest and dampers the corn crop, the futures prices continue to climb. At the end of last week across the state for delivery to elevators, the Rio Grande Valley was said to be averaging a cash price of $6.51/bu for sorghum, the Texas Upper Coast compared at an average of $6.46 while the Coastal Bend averaged $6.78. Central Texas compared to the southern region offering an average of $6.72 for sorghum. Currently, the Northern and Southern High Plains are almost a dollar higher than the other parts of the state, but they are the only ones not finished with or in harvest. Their prices averaged in range from $7.67 to $7.76. Export prices ended last week relative to the region – with the New Orleans port offering the highest price at $8.19.