Texas Sorghum Insider

September 4, 2014


2014_08_18_Export_InfoGraphicTwitter-1024x750A “Look” at Sorghum International Markets – The Sorghum Checkoff (USCP) has created an infographic (pictured above) to demonstrate U.S. sorghum exports for the 2013/2014 marketing year. USCP, TGSB and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) are actively engaged within many international markets, promoting the value of U.S. Sorghum abroad. Demand is increasing internationally and it is important for producer-funded programs to understand the international marketplace to facilitate the sell of sorghum overseas, which will in turn, strengthen producer opportunities. Buyers from Mexico and China will be in the Texas High Plains in October to continue to understand the U.S. sorghum crop with hopes that they will continue to, or begin buying U.S. sorghum. For more information, click here.

Proposition 1 – At the end of August, Texas Grain Sorghum Association held their summer board of directors meeting in Austin, Texas. The board voted to support Proposition 1 after hearing a presentation from Scott Haywood of the Move Texas Forward initiative. Proposition 1 will be on the November 2014 Texas ballot and is a constitutional amendment authorized by SJR 1, which legislators approved last year. The amendment would authorize disbursements from the state’s oil and gas production tax collections on the State Highway Fund. An estimated $1.7 billion would be transferred into the State Highway Fund for the first year alone. In other words, 50% of future funds that usually go into the Rainy Day Fund will now go into the State Highway Fund, while no money collected in the past will be moved from the Rainy Day Fund, there will just be 50% less going in. Funds can only be used for new construction and preservation of the state highway system and not for toll roads. The amendment does not raise taxes, fees or debt on citizens or businesses. The Move Texas Forward initiative, notes that Texas has not kept up with our transpiration infrastructure and the state is $5 billion short for roads annually. Based on research, Texas needs to invest $315 billion over the next two decades just to keep up with current congestion and maintenance levels. They also note there is expected to be another 18 million Texas vehicles by 2040. For more information, visit the Move Texas Forward website.

EPA’s Proposed Ag Workers Protection Standard – EPA’s proposed modernization of its agricultural workers protection standard, that has not been updated since 1992, drew fire last month as the comment period closed. The new rule increases training frequency and updates prevention and treatment requirements in pesticide exposure situations. It also says workers less than 16 years old cannot handle any pesticide. Over 70 Democrat House members told EPA in a letter last week the proposed rule is too weak, protections should be as stringent as in other work areas, and that the rule contains “serious flaws…that perpetuate inequity and continue to leave the men, women and children who produce our food less protected than other workers.”  The lawmakers want more stringent requirements for emergencies, child-specific protections, including raising the age limit on handling pesticides from 16 to 18 years old, as well as medical monitoring of workers and protection from retaliation if a worker reports the misuse of a chemical. Additional information about specific changes can be found here.