Texas Sorghum Insider

March 19, 2014


Texas participants visiting the port in China during the Texas sorghum trade mission.

Overwhelming Interest from China with US Sorghum:  Texas Grain Sorghum Producers (TGSB) host educational seminars in China. – TGSB, in conjunction with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP), Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), recently conducted a series of three educational seminars across China. Each of the seminars, held in three different cities in China, provided various presentations that included growing sorghum, sourcing sorghum, transportation, and logistics of handling and shipping the grain. The seminars met an overwhelming support from Chinese customers.
“While we anticipated a good crowd, we were excited to see standing room only in each of the seminars,” said Wayne Cleveland, Executive Director of TGSB. “We estimate that approximately 600 people attended the seminars. Not only did they attend, but stayed after and asked pertinent questions and were extremely interested in meeting the folks that presented.”
Each of the seminars included various aspects of the sorghum industry. James Born, a producer from Ochiltree County and a TGSB board member, presented information regarding producing grain sorghum with no-till practices and very limited availability of water. “The Chinese were attentive to the fact that sorghum acres could grow significantly in the near future with limited water as well as advancements in yield and nutritional aspects of sorghum,” stated Born, “this indicated they are interested in a long-term purchasing relationship and wanted to ensure that stocks would be sufficient to meet their growing demand.”
Presentations also addressed the nutritional aspects of grain sorghum presented by Dr. Kimberly McCuistion of Texas A&M University Kingsville. Sourcing and transportation of grain sorghum were presented by Benjamin Smith of Attebury Grain.
Other participants on the trip included Guy Brady with Vista Exports in Houston, Ronnie Wittig with Coastal Grain Warehouse in Wharton, George Ferguson with Bailey Grain in DFW, Shelee Padget with USCP, and Carlos Guerrero with TDA.
In addition to the seminars, participants were invited to tour two major ports along the pacific coast, visit with end users, and meet with the United States Ag Trade Officials. Each participant was a recipient of the the TDA STEP grant which encourages the sale of Texas products into foreign markets.

James Born, a producer form Ochiltree County and a TGSB board member, presents to potential Chinese sorghum buyers during the Texas sorghum trade mission in China.

USDA Seeks Nominations for USCP Board – USDA is seeking nominations of sorghum producers to serve on the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) Board of Directors. There are five producer member vacancies for the upcoming board. Kansas, Texas and Nebraska each have one vacant position. In addition, the board will have two At-Large vacant positions. Any sorghum producer within the U.S. that owns or shares in the ownership and risk of loss of sorghum can be considered for nomination. All eligible producers are invited to seek nominations by May 16, 2014. A sorghum producer must be nominated by a Certified Producer Organization (CPO) and submit a completed application. For more information and the contact information of the CPO in your state, and for a copy of the nomination form, visit www.ams.usda.gov/lsmarketingprograms. The USCP board is composed of 13 members who administers a research and promotion program authorized by the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996. The Secretary of Agriculture selects appointees from producers nominated by CPO’s.

Farm Bill Informational Meetings – The Southwest Council of Agribusiness (SWCA), Texas A&M Food & Policy Center, and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension held and are still having Farm Bill informational meetings across the state.  The Honorable Larry Combest, past-Chairman of the House Ag Committee, has been welcoming growers to the meetings and explaining the importance the Farm Bill has played and will continue to play in growers daily decisions. As speakers got into the complexity of the Farm Bill, it is important for producers to realize how each crop grown is affected by the different programs. Dr. Joe Outlaw, an economist and Director of the Texas A&M Ag & Food Policy Center, explained different options and the potential impacts that each program could play out for producers. Producers will have to make decisions by farm number and crop basis when FSA opens sign-ups (possibly in September 2014) for the new programs. Tom Sell, of Combest, Sell & Associates, concluded the meetings with an overview of the process of the Farm Bill and the importance for growers of various crops to come together to let their voices be heard in Washington. He commended the important Congressmen and Senators and the various agricultural organizations who helped to commit to the passage of the bill. He noted that this is the first bill in this administration that passed with an overall budget decrease. If you were not able to attend the meetings, you can view Dr. Outlaw’s powerpoint by clicking here. Two more meetings will be held in Texas over the next few days. The first in Lubbock on March 20 at 9:00 a.m. at the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA) Delegate Body Room, and the second in Amarillo on March 21 at 8:30 a.m. at the Amarillo Civic Center, Regency Room B.