Texas Sorghum Insider

April 20, 2018

Statements on Preliminary Duties from China Against U.S. Sorghum— “National Sorghum Producers is deeply disappointed in the preliminary antidumping determination issued today by China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). U.S. sorghum is not being dumped in China, and U.S. sorghum producers and exporters have not caused any injury to China’s sorghum industry.

“National Sorghum Producers, alongside our producers, stakeholders and partners, has cooperated fully with China’s antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, including submitting several thousand pages of data demonstrating conclusively that U.S. sorghum is neither dumped nor causing any injury to China. None of this information appears to have been seriously considered or used in today’s preliminary determination, which is neither fair nor appropriate.

“We continue to greatly value our Chinese customers and what has been a win-win business relationship between U.S. sorghum producers and our Chinese partners. Today’s decision in China reflects a broader trade fight in which U.S. sorghum farmers are the victim, not the cause. And U.S. sorghum farmers should not be paying the price for this larger fight.

“Understanding the serious impact this preliminary decision will have on our farmers, NSP and our partners will continue to demonstrate U.S. sorghum farmers are not injuring China. We are evaluating all legal options moving forward.”

Secretary Perdue also released the following statement Wednesday:
“The international grain market is about the freest market there is, and it is ludicrous to even mention ‘dumping,’ because China can buy product from anywhere they choose. This is clearly a political decision by the Chinese and we reject their premise. Our sorghum producers are the most competitive in the world and we do not believe there is any basis in fact for these actions. As we explore options, we are in communication with the American sorghum industry and stand united with them. The fact remains that China has engaged in unfair trade practices over decades and President Trump is correct in holding them accountable. We remain committed to protecting American agricultural producers in the face of retaliatory measures by the Chinese.”

Farm Bill Passes House Committee—On Wednesday, the House Committee on Agriculture passed the 2018 Agriculture and Nutrition Act along party lines. Republicans voted to advance the legislation out of committee after listening to hours of bitter frustrations from Democrats about being excluded from the drafting process. The Democrats’ primary grievance was related to new provisions within Title IV of the Farm Bill that will create state-level programs to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries receive work training. Democrats felt that as a result of their being left out of the drafting process the legislation did not pay enough attention to the details and that many SNAP recipients who do not deserve to lose their benefits would fall through the cracks.

Commodity organizations across the country praised Chairman Mike Conaway (R – Midland) for passing the legislation, which includes strong Title I provisions to assist producers in times of financial uncertainty. Chairman Conaway has now made it clear that his goal is to find enough votes in the House to pass the bill. Democrats have declared that they will not support the bill so long as the SNAP work training programs remain in it. Chairman Conaway has indicated he would like the move the bill through the House floor by the end of May.

National Sorghum Foundation Scholarships Open—Applications for three Sorghum Foundation scholarships are now available. These scholarships all include a $1500 monetary scholarship award. The Bruce Maunder Sorghum Leadership Scholarship also includes an expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to accompany NSP leadership on their annual D.C. fly-in which takes place early February 2019. Scholarship information can be found here. Scholarship application packets must be postmarked by June 1 to be considered.

Cash Lease Rate in Texas—Each year, NASS surveys landowners and producers about current lease rates and, in August, publishes a report of the average lease rates (price per acre per year) for irrigated cropland, non-irrigated cropland, and pastureland for the United States and each state. For example, in 2017, nationwide averages were reported as $212 per acre per year for irrigated cropland, $123 for non-irrigated cropland, and $12.50 for pastureland. In Texas, the average lease rates were $87 for irrigated cropland, $28 for non-irrigated cropland, and $6.60 for pastureland (available at here). Every other year, NASS breaks down this data further by reporting data by district within a state and by county. This report is available in September of even-numbered years. Texas is divided into 15 districts, and average cash rent values reported for each one. For example, for the Northern High Plains in 2016, cash lease rates were reported as $113 for irrigated cropland, $22 for non-irrigated cropland, and $7.80 for pastureland. Similar results are available for each district on the USDA–NASS website (available at here). NASS also maintains a database including data analyzed by county for each even-numbered year. For example, average reported lease rates in Dallam County for 2016 are $97.50 for irrigated cropland, $55.50 for non-irrigated cropland, and $6.10 for pastureland. This piece first appeared in the Texas Ag Law Blog. To read the entire story, click here.

NSP Accepting Applications for Board Directors 
National Sorghum Producers is accepting applications from candidates who wish to serve on the board of directors. Candidates for the board must be a member of the National Sorghum Producers and have a passion for working on behalf of sorghum growers through lobbying and fundraising activities. The NSP board is not limited to growers, and there is no experience necessary to apply. If you have a desire to improve the sorghum industry through one of the four available leadership positions, NSP encourages you to apply. Applications are available at SorghumGrowers.com and will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. CST on May 11, 2018. Contact Debra Lloyd at 806-749-3478 if you have any questions.