South Plains Finally Gets Moisture – The South Plains of Texas received some much needed rain on June 5. It was the first time you could see water standing in fields in quite some time. While some areas saw just a few tenths, other areas received up to 1.5 inches. The moisture should help boost the crops as planting is nearing an end; however, once you start digging it is not far until the moisture dissipates, especially on the dryland crops. This should help give a small boost to the irrigated fields, but dryland crops will still need added moisture to sustain a crop. The area has seen a bump in irrigated sorghum acres this year as compared to previous years, but several growers still decided to turn to cotton once the price started going up a few months back. West Texas wind plays a large role in the weather pattern too, especially in the plains, as the winds got up to over 80 mph with the storm and will probably make their way back into the west fairly soon. The sorghum fields that are already up look promising thus far. Even with the recent rains, ninety-seven percent of the state still remains in exceptional to extreme drought, as compared to ninety-one percent last year. Continue to pray for rain for the state!
Senate Farm Bill Inching to an End – With the Senate planning to have their cloture vote on the Farm Bill on Monday, the Republicans are going to have to step up their game. Plains Cotton Growers (PCG) reported there are many split decisions especially with net farm income in the Midwest showing increases much faster than the national average and income for the Southeast and Southern Plains trailing behind or even declining. The Senate bill is currently leaning towards devoting $23.7 billion over 10 years to a new Agricultural Risk Coverage program, favorable to corn, but to alleviate the South, Chairwoman Stabennow has added a $3.4 billion adverse market countercyclical program including target prices for rice and peanuts. The wait continues. As for the House, they are still expected to take up the bill on the floor in mid-June.
Trade with Colombia Getting Closer – The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) has been diligently working for the past 15 years educating the Colombia trade market on how to efficiently move grain from the U.S. into their country. One example, is last month, the Council sponsored Mike Toohey, president of the Water Way Council, to be the keynote speaker at the Colombian Business Chamber’s 4th Annual Forum on Bulk Transportation. The goal of the conference is for Colombian feed grain importers and government officials to find long term solutions to upgrade Colombia’s bulk gain transportation system and benefit Colombian customers. He addressed to the Colombians that modernization is the key to success. Colombia struggles from significant transportation systems such as poorly maintained roads, under-developed river systems and a limited railroad infrastructure; however, they are the only South American country with ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans giving them ideal means to make trades with the U.S. Once Colombia can improve their in-country transportation issues, the rest should readily fall into place. The USGC, the Sorghum Checkoff and the Texas Grain Sorghum Producers are hosting one of the top potential buyers of grain in Colombia, ITALCO, at the end of this month across Texas to showcase our quality of sorghum in hopes that future trades are in the near future.