Export Sorghum Recap – The Sorghum Checkoff and Texas Grain Sorghum Producers hosted 25 international grain buyers from China, Mexico and Japan in Houston last week for the second biannual Export Sorghum conference. Also supporting the event were domestic grain merchandisers, farmers, traders, researchers, nutritionists, U.S. Grains Council representatives and other industry professionals. The three-day event provided information on topics ranging from seed technology, market updates and nutritional information. Attendees also had the opportunity to tour both a sorghum farm and the Louis Dreyfus shipping facility at the Port of Houston. Prior to and after the event, the buyers from Mexico and China toured other parts of Texas to learn more about this years crop. “We believe these communications will be extremely useful for us to understand clients’ needs and therefore help us to better position ourselves for mutual benefits,” noted a buyer who attended the event from China. Exports are predicted to consume 77 percent of U.S. sorghum production in the 2015/16 marketing year, according to the most recent USDA WASDE report.
Sorghum Checkoff Referendum Passes – USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the results of the recent national sorghum checkoff referendum that took place from March 23, 2015 through April 21, 2015. Sorghum producers and importers who voted in the national referendum approved the continuation of the Sorghum Promotion, Research, and Information Order, commonly known as the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP). There were 1,202 valid ballot casts across the nation and 96.5 percent or 1,160 voted in favor of the program while 42 or 3.5 percent opposed continuing the program. Texas had 602 votes, the most of any of the states, where 580 favored the continuation of the program and only 22 opposed it.
New Sorghum Agronomist for Checkoff – The Sorghum Checkoff recently named Brent Bean, P.h.D., as the organization’s agronomist. In this new position, he will focus on identifying critical sorghum agronomic issues and designing targeted national and regionally based programs that provide farm-level yield advancements. His efforts will be on grain, forage, sweet and biomass sorghum. Texas Sorghum is excited to have Dr. Bean join the Sorghum Checkoff team as he has always been a valuable resource for sorghum agronomic information in the past. Bean was formerly the director of agronomy for NexSteppe Inc. where he had worldwide responsibilities for agronomy research and determined best management practices for optimizing biomass and sweet sorghum production. Prior to working for NexSteppe, Bean worked for Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension for more than 25 years.
TGSB Board Elections – Texas Grain Sorghum Board (TGSB) will hold its biennial election on August 27, 2015. The current terms of five of the 15 board members will expire this year. Any person who is engaged in the business of producing, or causing to be produced, sorghum for commercial purposes, is eligible to vote, including owners of farms and their tenants and sharecroppers, if such person is subject to paying the assessment that is collected on sorghum in Texas. Eligible voters in the districts may take part in the 2015 election. Voters will elect directors to serve a six-year term. Expiring terms include two directors from TGSB’s North District, one director from TGSB’s Central District, and two directors from TGSB’s South District. Any person qualified to vote in the election may place his or her name in nomination to represent the district in which he or she resides on the Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Board for a maximum term to six years. The nominee must certify that he or she is willing to serve if elected. The nomination form must be signed by the nominee and must have the signatures and complete mailing addresses of ten other eligible voters who reside in the district the person is seeking to represent. Nominations will open on June 22, 2015 and nomination forms may be obtained by contacting TGSB. Nominations must be filed with TGSB by July 27, 2015. The election will be held by mail ballot, which will be available to all eligible voters no later than 15 days prior to the election. Completed ballots must be mailed to Texas Grain Sorghum Board, 4201 N. I-27, Lubbock, TX 79403 and must be postmarked before midnight on August 27, 2015. Persons qualified to vote who do not receive a ballot 15 days prior to the election may obtain one at their local county agricultural extension office, or grain elevator, or by contacting TGSB.
Current Ag Legal Issues Update – Tiffany Dowell, Texas A&M Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, recently provided an update on a number of hot topics through her blog. WOTUS Rule Update. Many of you have asked questions recently regarding what is going to happen with the EPA’s now-final “waters of the United States” rule. The rule should be published in the Federal Register any day. Sixty days after that, it will become effective. Numerous groups have already drafted lawsuits that will be filed challenging the scope of the new rule. In the meantime, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a bill this week that would repeal the final rule, provide guidelines to the EPA for re-formulating a rule, and require the EPA to consider input from stakeholders. The bill will now be on the floor of the Senate. [Read article here.] New Texas Law Would Protect Groundwater Conservation District Board Members from Personal Suit. Earlier this year, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3163, which provides immunity for GCD Board members from lawsuits for official votes and official actions. The Texas Statesman published an interesting article this week discussing the stress on GCD board members and why this bill is needed. [Read article here.] The bill is currently on Governor Abbott’s desk awaiting signature. To subscribe to the daily blog updates on legal topics affecting the ag industry click here.