Texas Sorghum Insider

October 23, 2013

First Large Shipment of U.S. Sorghum Arrives in China – On October 18, 2013 the first-ever bulk shipment of U.S. sorghum to China began unloading at the Guangzhou Port Facility. The shipment of 60,000 metric tons (2.36 million bushels) will be used for animal feed in the country and demonstrates the continuing modernization of China’s feed industry. Bryan Lohmar, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) director in China said, “The Council believes U.S. sorghum has significant potential to become a regular feed ingredient in China. Sorghum imports from the U.S. can help keep food prices low and improve China’s overall food security.” Alvaro Cordero, USGC manager of global trade, also noted “that as of this month there are approximately 20 Panamax vessels sold of U.S. sorghum to China, which represents 1.1 to 1.2 million tons (43.3 to 47.2 million bushels), and traders estimate the 2013/14 crop year should register sales of 1.6 million tons (63 million bushels) or more.” The sale comes as restrictions on corn imports through China’s tariff rate quota are providing a opportunity for the Council to to help China’s feed industry and livestock producers look at other feed ingredients. In September, USGC and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP), provided technical seminars and assistance to help the industry understand the nutritional value of sorghum, how to incorporate it into feed formulations and the potential for future sorghum export supplies from the U.S.

Conserving the Ogallala Aquifer – As we all know, agriculture depends heavily on water; and a big piece of the nations agricultural growing region relies greatly on the Ogallala Aquifer. The aquifer was already in decline, and the continued drought isn’t helping to replenish the aquifer so with those things in mind, the NRCS begins its third season of conservation work in the Ogallala Aquifer region. Many farmers in the High Plains region of Texas, who recognize the aquifers importance, are highlighted in “This American Land,” a national public television series that was recently aired on PBS in large markets nationwide. In the first episode of the series titled “Critical Aquifer,” the video shows how farmers in the region use conservation to minimize water use and prevent it from drying up in the future. To view this episode, click here. The aquifer covers about 170,000 square miles stretching from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle. The aquifer is under eight states and is used for one million acres of irrigated cropland. According to the Texas Water Development Board, Northern Texas is the most stressed section of the aquifer, where it is cut off by previously drained areas to the east and the Pagos River to the west, preventing the recharge of water from the Rocky Mountains.  The NRCS is helping many farmers with conservation practices and financial assistance to help conserve the Ogallala Aquifer now and into the future. To read more about the work NRCS is doing on this project, click here.

TAWC Summer Field Day Videos – While on the subject of water conservation, the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation (TAWC) has provided videos of their summer field days on YouTube. The videos showcase several speakers demonstrating results and showcasing a variety of water conservation practices the project implements. To view these videos, click here.

2013 DCP/ACRE Direct Payments & 2012 ACRE ACRE Payments – The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has recently released information about DCP and ACRE payments. The 2013 DCP/ACRE direct and 2012 ACRE ACRE payments will be processed on or about October 24, 2013 and will be available for certifying and signing throughout the day on October 24, 2013. The last day the Prepayment Report was processed was September 30, 2013. Direct payments issued under the 2013 DCP and ACRE program have been reduced by 8.6 percent due to the sequester-related reductions. The amount is applied at the payment entity level and is not attributed to members. Software allowing the entry of the COC approval date for 2009-2013 DCP/ACRE contracts was disabled as of October 1, 2013. Normal processing will resume for approving 2009-2013 DCP/ACRE contracts after modified payment software is released. For more information, visit your local FSA office.

Buyers from Mexico in Texas – This week, five buyers from Mexico are in Texas to learn about the quality of our sorghum and to network with potential sellers. The group began in the High Plains of Texas. While in the Lubbock region, the group:  visited USDA to view and learn about their sorghum research; toured the local ethanol plant – Diamond Ethanol in Levelland, TX; visited Glenn Schur’s farm, a sorghum grower in Plainview; toured Cone Elevator in Lubbock; and finally visited with regional elevator managers from Attebury Grain and Gavilon Grain. Today the group headed to Houston to visit with Louis Dreyfus Commodities and tomorrow the group will tour Cargill and the Port of Victoria. Finally, the group will end the trip at the Victoria Farm and Ranch Show. The group is hosted by the U.S. Grains Council, the Sorghum Checkoff and the Texas Grain Sorghum Board. These trade missions are set-up to educate international customers about the value of Texas sorghum and with the hopes of selling more sorghum in the future.