Texas Looks for Opportunity in Cuba-Today, the Texas House will host a joint hearing between the Committee on Agriculture and Livestock and the Committee on International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs regarding the opportunities Texas has to promote its agriculture products domestically and internationally. There will be specific emphasis on potential opportunities for trade with Cuba, and our legislative analyst Patrick Wade will deliver testimony on the subject and his personal experiences traveling to the embargoed country last month. Representatives from the rice, wheat, and cattle genetics industries will join Patrick as they weigh the benefits of free trade with Cuba. Cuba has, of course, been under an embargo since 1962, but in 2000 certain narrowly restricted agriculture products were allowed to be exported, along with medical devices and some other goods. This hearing is coming right on heels of President Obama’s visit to the island country last week, where he announced he was ending the restriction on industry-funded checkoff programs spending money on Cuban market research and development. Today marks the first hearing from the House Agriculture committee during the interim and will address one of their six charges from Speaker Joe Straus. For a full list of interim charges, click here.
Chinese Customers Praise Grain Sorghum as a Feed Ingredient-Despite recent reports of deep reform in Chinese “carry-out policy” that has allowed their government to amass somewhere between 4.3 mm bu (USDA estimate) & 9.8 mm bu (private estimate) of corn into reserves, Chinese end-users continue to purchase US grain sorghum. The country whom consumes a whopping 590 mm bu of feed grains monthly, continually expressed to a group, sponsored by the US Grains Council last week, their attraction to grain sorghum stems from it’s “enhanced” nutritional factors in swine and duck rations. Particularly highlighted was the quality of pork that fit into a higher-end market and the enhanced growth of ducks when using grain sorghum. “Chinese end-users primarily wanted to know what acreage would be for the coming year as well as quality and availability”, said TGSB Executive Director Wayne Cleveland, who accompanied the group. Cleveland served on a panel that discussed US grains supply and demand as well as provided a platform for approximately 500 end-users to ask questions regarding the US grain sorghum industry. “With the recent policy announcement by the Chinese government we need to keep steadfast in our minds that we can’t rely on one market to prop up our industry,” Cleveland continued. “We must be diligent in finding and servicing both domestic and foreign markets that are willing to utilize grain sorghum. China gave us a great pricing and acreage expansion opportunity as well as the ability to showcase our product – they like it’s feed values and want to purchase, now its time for us to find the next big market.”