Texas Sorghum Crop Conditions – Flash fooding last week in the Rio Grande Valley and the Coastal Bend didn’t cause much havoc with the current crops but some parts were hit harder than others. Places in the Lower Rio Grande Valley saw up to 15 inches of rain over a few days. About 70% of the sorghum crop is harvested in the valley and the rain did minimal damage; just delaying harvest for the crops that are still in the field. The Coastal Bend is projecting to be about 80% of the volume the sorghum crop produced last year with yields averaging 6,500 to 1,000 lbs/acre and very little insect pressure. The Upper Coastal Bend looks good with above average crops and late season insect pressure. Central Texas sorghum is looking good and is projected to produce average yields. The Plains failed out approximately one million cotton acres last week with many of those acres being planted in grain sorghum this week and next week. If you are in this area and are looking to plant after failed cotton or wheat, please refer to our tips on sorghum as a secondary crop on the home page of our website.
House Passes 2018 Farm Bill – On Thursday June 21, the U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of the farm bill by a margin of 213-211. The narrow passage came one month after the bill first failed to pass due to a combination of unanimous Democratic opposition and Freedom Caucus horse-trading. Democrats opposed changes made to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that comprises the brunt of the fiscal obligations in the farm bill. The Freedom Caucus, aware that democratic opposition granted their caucus the number of votes to determine the bill’s passage, used their leverage to force the House to consider immigration legislation.
Hours before Thursday’s farm bill vote, the House voted down a conservative immigration bill by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) that would have, among other things, funded a border wall, instituted E-Verify standards for agricultural guest workers, and provided a path to citizenship for the recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals known as “Dreamers.” After Rep. Goodlatte’s bill failed, the House postponed its previously scheduled vote on a more centrist immigration bill from Thursday to Friday.
Although the Democrats maintained their blanket opposition, enough members of the Freedom Caucus were satisfied with the House’s consideration of immigration legislation to pass the farm bill the second time around. This achievement was made possible by the diligent and steady leadership of House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Midland), who has strived to craft a strong farm bill for a beleaguered rural America throughout this difficult and political process.
The Senate is expected to vote on the passage of their farm bill next week. Although there are expected to be harmful amendments filed during floor debate, the bill is expected to pass with less consternation than in the lower chamber. The Senate version does not contain any of the SNAP reforms that drove the House Democrats from the table and therefore all Senate Democrats are expected to follow their party colleagues on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee who voted unanimously for the bill.
Mexico Buyer Team Visits Texas – This week a group of ten buyers from various regions of Mexico visited the Gulf Coast and upper Gulf Coast region of Texas to meet with potential sellers of grain sorghum and to assess the current crop that awaits harvest. “While Mexico has not been the primary buyer of grain sorghum in the past few years, they remain a very viable and important market to our growers as various trade issues come and go,” said Wayne Cleveland, Executive Director of Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Board. “It’s of great importance that we continue to provide educational as well as purchasing opportunities as trade agreements are being vetted. Mexico understands the importance of the nutritional benefits of feeding grain sorghum into their rations and are keen buyers of feed stuffs. They are a very developed market for our grain and we are providing the opportunity for them to make further purchases,” stated Cleveland.
The group, in conjunction with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program and the US Grains Council, visited farms and ports along the Texas Coast. They also enjoyed a steak dinner complete with grain sorghum dishes with the backdrop of a scenic view of a sorghum field awaiting harvest. After the Texas portion of the trip, the group spent several days in Kansas where they toured various farms and a visit to the International Grains Program Institute of Kansas State University as well as an ethanol plant.
Luckett makes Move – Katelyn’s husband recently graduated from Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine and they have moved to Muleshoe, Texas to pursue his veterinary career. After four years with Texas Sorghum Katelyn’s last day was May 31. She has accepted a new position with Muleshoe Vet Supply and she looks forward to continuing to work closely with producers in this new capacity. Katelyn is in good health and would like to sincerely thank everyone for their prayers, patience and support during her battle with cancer. If you’d like to reach Katelyn, her cell phone number has not changed and she hopes to see some of you at MVS!