Texas Sorghum Insider

January 16, 2013

Texas Legislature Update – As the Texas legislative session began last week, much of the debate will be tackled over budget allocation. State Comptroller Susan Combs announced the legislature will have $101.4 billion to craft the two-year budget out of the general fund, along with an extra $11.8 billion in the Rainy Day Fund (also known as the Economic Stabilization fund, supplied by oil and gas taxes). Comb’s predicted the state will collect $96.2 billion in revenue from taxes, fees and other income during the 2014-15 biennium, with the fund having $8.8 billion leftover from the current biennium. Of the new revenue, $3.6 billion will be transferred to the Rainy Day Fund. Republicans are vying for the need to control the state’s spending growth while Democrats are wanting lawmakers to restore the cuts from the last session and account for the state’s expected population growth over the last two years. On a water note, State Rep. Alan Ritter (R-Nederland) filed two bills that would allocate a one-time, $2 billion sum from the Rainy Day fund to create a revolving fund for water-supply projects and assist the Texas Water Development Board for water infrastructure projects. State Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) has also already filed a bill to use $1 billion from the fund for water projects and Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) predicts that up to $1.6 billion would be needed for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s proposed $1 billion from the fund for water. Stay tuned…

ChloroFill Using Chromatin’s Sorghum Biomass for Building Materials – ChloroFill LLC, a renewable, sorghum-based building material company, and Chromatin, Inc., an agriculture biotechnology company that is developing sorghum feedstocks for bio-industrial processes, have collaborated and will harvest, for the first time, Chromatin sorghum for the production of ChloroFill’s building products. Despite the drought, the crop pulled through growing nine feet in less than four months. The trial is 90-acres of Chromatin sorghum and was planted in June 2012. ChloroFill’s vision is to revolutionize the building materials industry by making the reduction of deforestation, cancer-causing carcinogens, greenhouse emissions and air pollution an industry standard. ChloroFill is the only sorghum-based, U.S. made, health-friendly fiberboard panel company.

Upcoming Meetings

TAWC Winter Meeting – The Texas Alliance for Water Conservation (TAWC) is hosting their annual meeting on Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Floyd County Unity Center in Muncy, Tex. The event begins with registration at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude around 2:00 p.m. The program’s topics will include:  crop production alternatives, commodity genetic updates, 2013 production budgets, TAWC online tools, and herbicide options with dealing with resistance. The event is free and open to producers and industry that are interested in attending. For more information, and a final schedule, please visit www.depts.ttu.edu/tawc.

Sorghum U – The Sorghum Checkoff, High Plains Journal and Chromatin, Inc. are sponsoring an event in Lubbock on Jan. 22 at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center to give Texas producers the opportunity to explore the profitability potential and water management qualities of grain sorghum. The event is free, open to all producers and includes a catered lunch. The program begins at 8:30 a.m. with registration and will conclude by 2:00 p.m. Industry leaders will provide information on topics that include:  Water and Irrigation Management; Sorghum Economics; Sorghum Agronomics; and Sorghum Marketing Opportunities. Don’t miss this great event! You can register prior to the event at www.SorghumU.com or by calling 1-855-422-6652, or on the morning of the event at 8:30 a.m.