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Sorghum Checkoff Job Openings – The United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) announced two available positions which are now open for application submissions. The first position is for a Regional Director – this job includes establishing, developing and maintaing end-user, first handler and producer relations within a geographic region. This position is also responsible for determining what can be done to develop, expand and promote sorghum. The second position is for a High Value Markets Program Director – this job includes determining what can be done to develop, expand and promote sorghum marketplaces both domestically and internationally. Resumes and cover letters for these Sorghum Checkoff positions will be accepted until June 15, 2013, and can be sent to email@example.com. To view the complete announcements and summary, visit sorghum checkoff.com.
Valley Growers Plant Sorghum Over Cotton – With the drought, the deflated market prices, the price of cotton in the world market during spring planting and China’s huge stockpile of cotton, many Valley farmers opted to plant sorghum over cotton this year. The Valley Morning Star reported the amount of cotton planted this year is less than last year, with 86,000 acres in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, down substantially from the 130,000 acres last year. Sorghum’s drought tolerance played an important role on the farmers decision as well, with the dry spell lingering on and uncertainty about access to irrigation water. After planting, the rain never fell and insurance adjusters are out in the fields assessing cotton crops – the expected failed cotton acres will probably be extremely high. Many farmers may try to go behind failed cotton with even more sorghum going into the Rio Grande Valley fields.
USDA Announces Farm Payments Scheduled to Resume – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced last week that farm payments, which had been temporarily suspended due to sequestration, were scheduled to resume May 8, 2013. This includes payments for the 2011 Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), the Noninsured Crop Assistance Program (NAP) and the Milk Income Loss Contact Program (MILC). The suspension began on March 4, 2013 in order for FSA to assess the impact of sequestration and determine the least-disruptive process possible for carrying out required cuts. Current enrollment deadlines for signing up this year are as follows: 2013 ACRE – June 3rd; 2011 SURE – June 7th; and the 2013 Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program – August 2nd.
Monsanto Wins Seed Case as High Court Backs Patent Rights – AgWeb reported that the U.S. Supreme Court bolstered Monsanto Co.’s ability to control the use of its genetically modified seeds, ruling that companies can block efforts to circumvent patents on self-replicating technologies. The justices unanimously upheld an $84,456 award Monsanto won in a lawsuit against Vernon Hugh Bowman, an Indiana farmer. Rather than buying herbicide-resistant soybean seeds from a Monsanto-authorized dealer, Bowman used harvested soybeans containing the technology to plant his crops. The case centered on a technology that has helped make Monsanto the world’s largest seed company, with $14.7 billion in annual revenue, as well as a prime target for opponents of genetically modified food. Monsanto has sued 146 U.S. farmers for saving Roundup Ready soybeans since 1997, winning all 11 cases that went to trial. Bowman sought to get around Monsanto’s rules from 1999 to 2007 by buying less expensive soybeans from a grain elevator. Because the elevator accepted harvests from farmers using Monsanto seeds, the second-generation beans proved to be herbicide resistant. The farmer says he saved $30,000 for his farm. For more details on the case, look up Bowman v. Monsanto 11-796.
NSP BOD Nominations – The National Sorghum Producers (NSP) nominating committee is currently seeking applications to fill four seats on its board of directors. Nominated directors will serve three-year terms that begin on Oct. 1. NSP’s mission is to improve the sorghum industry through advocacy and leadership, and their vision is to lead legislative and regulatory change through effective policy and relationships for a more profitable, diverse and competitive sorghum industry. The deadline to apply for the board of director positions are May 1, 2013. Anyone wishing to seek more information about these positions, or to download an application, visit their website.
High Plains Freeze Injury Tool – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension recently had reports of freeze damage in Lubbock Co. for sorghum (that began to emerge on Monday) as well as some other freeze damage on corn in the High Plains. AgriLife has a document online, “Assessing Hail and Freeze Injury to Field Corn and Sorghum B-6014”, you can download and/or print to assess your freeze damage on your crop. Click here to access the website where the document is located and type ‘hail’ in the search box. For example, you can assess the % adjustment in yield potential with leaf loss at certain growth stages.
Senate Crop Insurance Fight Ahead – With consideration of another Senate farm bill in the near future, Senate Agriculture Committee majority staff members are discussing ways to avoid harmful amendments during the floor process, including a possible strategy of adding to the base bill two amendments approved during last year’s floor debate. The concept is to include the previously-approved amendments – which would tie conservation compliance requirements to crop insurance and reduce premium subsidies to farmers with adjusted gross incomes of more than $750,000 – with some modifications to make each more “farmer friendly.”
Young Farmer Grants – The Texas Agricultural Finance Authority (TAFA) Board has announced they have $150,000 available in Young Farmer Grants to expand or enhance agricultural production in Texas. The grants are available to agricultural producers at least 18 but less than 46 years old. An original, signed application must be received in the offices of the Texas Department of Agriculture by 5:00 p.m., Friday, May 3. No electronic, incomplete or late applications will be considered. The grants received under this program may be used to provide operating expenses such as seed, fertilizer and fuel. Funds can also be used to purchase livestock, feed, and associated costs which may include lease of land and any other operating oats associated with agriculture operation. Capital purchases that exceed $5,000 will not be eligible. Complete program information and the application is available by visiting the Young Farmer Grants website. The TAFA Board will review the applications and the grants will be awarded at their next board meeting in July. At their last board meeting, the board awarded 16 Young Farmer Grants.
2013 USDA Sorghum Predictions – The recent report from USDA (March 2013) predicts sorghum planted acres across the nation to be up from 6.244 million in 2012 to 7.620 million acres in 2013. USDA also predicted Texas sorghum acres to be up from 2.3 million in 2012 to 3 million in 2013. If the predictions ring true, Texas will become the number one sorghum producing state in the nation, surpassing Kansas with an estimated 2.9 million acres; however, if the drought keeps lingering actual production numbers will be a lot lower. The state with the largest increase in acres is predicted to be Missouri with a jump from 65,000 acres to 110,000 acres. The only states showing a decrease in acreage from 2012 are Arizona, Mississippi ,and South Dakota. Corn acres across the nation are expected to stay about the same at 97.28 million acres, with a slight jump in Texas from 1.85 million to 2.1 million acres. Wheat is close to 2012 at 56.44 million acres, and is expected to have the same amount of acres in the state this year. Upland cotton is projected to go down from 12.077 million acres in 2012 to a staggering 9.82 million in 2013. This is a large decrease from the previous years. Texas is expected to plant a million less acres of upland cotton in 2013, than the previous year.
U.S. Sorghum Exports Have Large Competitor in South America – Agrimoney released a report that due to the high international prices of corn, Mexico has shifted to using sorghum in their feed rations. While Mexico is finding alternatives to corn, this will reduce Mexican corn imports this season to a seven-year low of 7.70m tonnes – 800,00 tonnes below the USDA’s official estimate. Although corn imports are decreasing, sorghum imports will reach 2.50m tonnes this season – 700,000 tonnes above the USDA estimate. It is projected this number will increase in 2013-14 to an 11-year high of 3.05 m tonnes. Although sorghum is being imported, it isn’t all coming from the U.S. Much of the sorghum imported into Mexico is coming from South America, mostly from Argentina due to more affordable prices. Mexico began searching for alternatives after last year’s Midwest drought troubled the U.S. surplus of grain amounts. Mexico has been the nation’s top sorghum buyer for many years. Mexico has begun to do risk analysis on buying grains from Argentina. TGSP will continue to promote and educate Mexico’s buyers that our sorghum crop is a quality alternative to other crops and countries.
Vela Blasting Agencies About Water Owed from Mexico – Freshmen U.S. House Representative Filemon Vela, of the 34th District in Texas, is battling the U.S. State Department on water owed to the U.S. from Mexico. Vela told the Brownsville Herald “they don’t give a damn about South Texas,” in a letter response he received from the State Department that didn’t mention if or when Mexico will deliver water to the U.S. under the 1944 Water Treaty with Mexico. The letter, dated April 1, only states the State Department has “brought together agencies to discuss solutions and that they remain hopeful a solution will be forthcoming in a timely manner.” Vela (D-Brownsville) said the State Department’s letter “has not been helpful” in addressing his concerns or addressing the concerns of the communities in the U.S. and the farmers in South Texas. Under the 1944 water sharing treaty between Mexico and the U.S., Mexico is to deliver water to the U.S. in cycles of five years. The current five-year cycle began in October 2010 and ends in October 2015; this means Mexico has until October 2015 to deliver the water. Federal, state county and local leaders said the water is needed now due to the ongoing severe drought in Texas. In addition, the leaders said Mexico is to deliver a minimum annual average of 350,000 acre-feet during a five-year cycle except in the event of extraordinary drought or serious accident affecting Mexico’s conveyance system. Carlos Rubinstein, commissioner of the TCEQ, is also bashing the State Department stating, “the State Department does not seem to recognize, or worse, chooses to ignore, the seriousness of the issue in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.” Five other South Texas congressional members sent a letter on March 13 reminding the State Department that the U.S. had provided water to Mexico on 17 separate occasions as a gesture of goodwill at the expense of the U.S. users.
Sorghum Headworm Calculator App Available – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has recently released a Sorghum Headworm Calculator. This online application tool will assist producers and other pest management professionals in making economically and environmentally sound pest management decisions. The headworm economic threshold in grain sorghum is calculated based on market prices, control cost, and actual damage potential of larval feeding. The tool can be accessed on your computer or smartphone. Details of how to operate the program, and how to collect and enter the data are available with the program. An example screenshot of the tool is located to the left. You can access the link to the online tool by visiting http://goo.gl/szKou.
Water Planning from a Farmers View – Danny Krienke, past-president and current board member of Texas Grain Sorghum Association, recently had an interview with The Texas Tribune on how he manages his water planning decisions on his farm. Danny farms sorghum and other crops in Ochiltree County and is also a member of the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District, which regulates groundwater in eight counties in the upper Panhandle. Danny has been very active in educating farmers, the general public and legislators about on-farm water use as well as being actively engaged in state water policy. Danny noted that he began metering water on his farm in 1988 as part of a demonstration program. Metering in his district began when they wanted to begin conserving water for the future, but wanted to treat everyone equally. In order to do that, they had to know how much everyone was pumping and the only fair way to do that was to measure it. “Everything you think is valuable in life, I think you measure. It’s kind of ironic,” stated Krienke. The rules in his district passed in 2005, requiring meters on new water wells; existing wells can still use alternative methods to measure water use, such as using the fuel bill for pumping to estimate the water use. Krienke noted that new wells cost around $1,200, and there can be some installation costs. As far as state water policy, Krienke states, “I think the in our case – first of all, our philosophy in our district is, everyone has the right to pump, but everyone has their responsibility to conserve…so we have every right, as agriculture, to pump water to grow a crop, but only the amount that we can efficiently use to grow a crop.” Krienke noted that there are many tools out there today to help farmers control and monitor their irrigation equipment.”There is technology out there that allows us to irrigate and make the system run more efficiently,” said Krienke “while you’re not out in the field, problems could happen with the sprinkler and/or the pump and if the sprinkler stopped, then it’s going to sit there and water in one place…we’re just kind of sitting there wasting water.” He stresses that these new tools can you alert you of these new types of situations, and you can have access to turn your water off right from your phone, wherever you may be. To read Mr. Krienke’s full interview with The Texas Tribune, click here.
Recent Texas Drought Monitor Released – The state’s ability to overcome the drought that began two years ago, has not seen much of a road to recovery. National Weather Service rainfall maps show that southwest Texas received no rain last month, while southern areas of the state saw no more than a tenth of an inch. The snow storm in the Panhandle helped to pull some of the area out of “exceptional drought” but the area still remains in drought conditions.
CRP Sign-up – Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and USDA Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Executive Director James B. Douglass announced that FSA will hold a general sign-up for the 45th Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) beginning May 20 and ending June 14, 2013. CRP helps to protect erosion, lends extra land for cattle to graze on during the drought, provides significant water quality benefits, and expands and enhances wildlife habitats. The U.S. currently has about 27 million acres enrolled, with more than 3 million of these acres enrolled in Texas. There are 3.3 million acres set to expire on Sept. 30, 2013 across the nation and more than 362,000 of those acres are set to expire in Texas. The average rental payment in Texas for the 43rd CRP sign-up was $37.58/acre, totaling a rental payment to Texas CRP landowners of $28,832,402. Producers who are accepted in the sign-up can receive cost-share assistance for planting covers and receive an annual rental payment for the length of the contract (10-15 years). CRP also offers other enrollment opportunities on a continuous, non-competitive, sign-up basis. Those sign-up dates will be announced at a later time. To sign-up for the general CRP during the allotted dates, visit your local FSA office or www.fsa.usda.gov.
Sequestration and Agriculture – Government sequestration, or forced government-wide spending cuts, will aim to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion in the next decade. If congress takes no action by March 1, sequestration will come into effect and Federal budget cuts of about $85 billion would start. That would include nine percent of all non-defense spending and 13 percent of the Pentagon budget in the next seven months. More than $500 billion would be cut from the Defense Department and other national security agencies, and the rest would come from the domestic side including national parks, federal courts, the FBI, food inspections and housing aid, where Medicare providers would see a two percent slash. Protected in the sequestration is Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Programs, food stamps, military personnel, and Veteran’s Administration. On the agriculture side, Senate Democrats will offer a sequestration package that aims to eliminate the direct payments for a savings of $27.5 billion, avoid all sequestration-related USDA cuts including meat inspections, and fund disaster assistance and all the programs that were left out of the extension of the Farm Bill, stated Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow in mid-February. Stabenow’s provision plans to fill in the holes to support all of agriculture left from the Farm Bill extension on New Year’s Eve ; however, if Stabenow’s package becomes law, half of the money to avoid the cuts would come from decreases in spending and half would come from what Stabenow described as “closing tax loopholes on the wealthy and well-connected,” – Republicans have said they are opposed to any increases in taxes. Stabenow plans to vote on this sequester measure package in the coming week, but before the possible March 1 sequestration. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) endorsed the package and stated that if sequestration were to happen, “farm commodities and conservation programs would be cut by some $7 billion, reducing every USDA discretionary program by five percent.” Stay tuned…
WASDE Grain Sorghum Changes – USDA’s February 8th WASDE report showed significant changes in the U.S. grain sorghum crop. Kansas State University (KSU) analyzed the data and reported that the grain sorghum usage projections changed dramatically reflecting uncertainty in “new crop” MY 2012/13. The Food, Seed and Industrial use went up 20 million bushels (mb), exports went up 5 mb’s, and Feed and Residual went down 25 mb’s, leaving “new crop” MY 2012/13 at a total use of 250 mb’s, and ending stocks at 21 mb’s. The February 8th report also projected the MY 2012/13 grain sorghum crop to have a total planted area of 6.2 million acres, with 5.0 million of those acres being harvested (a ratio of 79.4%). The projected yield went down from the 2011/12 at 54.6 yield/harvested acre to 49.8 yield/harvested acre. WASDE predicts the average farm price per bushel will be between $6.70 and $7.60 or $7.15/bushel.
Texas Group Promotes Sorghum in Latin America – Recently the Texas Grain Sorghum Producer Board (TGSB), in conjunction with Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) conducted a trade mission to Colombia and Peru utilizing the STEP Grant program through TDA. “This trip was very important as it educated potential buyers of grain sorghum about the quality, value and freight advantage of our product,” said James Born, a producer and board member of TGSB. While on the mission the team (pictured above) met with 14 companies that were vetted as the most likely to buy U.S. feed grains in the near future. With the 2013 passage of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, it is now attractive for Colombia to purchase U.S grain sorghum. Texas has a distinct 10 day freight advantage over Argentine sorghum and contains no tannins as opposed to the Argentinean sorghum. “Some of the buyers were surprised to find that you could actually use sorghum in rations and requested more feeding information, wile others were interested in purchasing sorghum as soon as the new crop becomes available,” said Wayne Cleveland, TGSB Executive Director. TGSB is currently working with the Sorghum Checkoff (USCP) and the USGC to bring a group of buyers from Mexico and Latin America to Texas in June to show them the new crop and hopefully sell grain. TGSB wishes to thank the Texas Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Grains Council for their input on this mission trip.
Ag Groups Relaunch Farm Policy Education Campaign – Several agricultural groups, including Southwest Council of Agribusiness, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Crop Insurance Services, and others, have united to relaunch the Farm Policy Facts education campaign during the 113th Congress. This coalition helps to communicate with the media and members of Congress via regular email alerts that include farm policy information, case studies, and more. To learn more about the organization and view the “Fact of the Day”, click here.
Sorghum U Information Available Online – The Sorghum U educational event, held on Jan. 22 in Lubbock, Texas, brought in about 150 farmers who were eager to learn more about the water sipping sorghum crop and how they can make it successful and profitable in their farming operation. If you weren’t able to attend the event, you can watch the presentations from each breakout session and view the materials online at www.SorghumU.com. There were two sessions held – one in Kansas and one in Texas – and with the success of these events, a third event will be held in Nebraska later this month.
HPWD Schedules Public Hearing – The High Plains Underground Water District (HPWD) Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on Feb. 19 to consider rule amendments allowing a one-time only extension of the deadline for submitting production reports to the district for groundwater in 2012. The amendments would extend the March 1, 2013 deadline to June 1, 2013. The board may take action to adopt the rules amendments or may adopt them with the additional changes based on the comments and discussion at the hearing. The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in the A. Wayne Wyatt Board Room of the HPWD office. You can view the proposed amendments here. Also on HPWD news, the Board set public meetings to appoint an individual to fill the unexpired term of Precint 5 Director, Bruce Rigler of Plainview. Precint 5 represents a portion of Floyd County, all of Swisher County and all of Hale County. Information about the public hearing dates, locations, and an application may be found here.
2013 High Plains Ag Marketing Short Courses – Texas A&M AgriLife is offering two workshops in February to interested producers. The first workshop, “Intro to Futures and Options” is $50 and will be Feb. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. This workshop will help participants gain a better understanding of the basics of how futures and options can be used in agricultural markets. The second workshop, “Feedgrains Workshop” is $125 and will be Feb. 13-14 from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. This workshop delve deeply into what and how fundamental and technical factors are affecting the feed grains market for the upcoming year. Both courses will be held at the Texas A&M AgriLife Center in Amarillo, Texas. The cost for each event covers meals, instruction, materials and breaks. To register for one or both of these events, visit http://agriliferegister.tamu.edu.
DCP and ACRE 2013 Sign-Ups – With the extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the sign-up for the extended farm programs, including direct payments, will begin on Feb. 19. The Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payment Program (DCP) sign-up period will end on Aug. 2, 2013, and the ACRE sign-up period will end on June 3, 2013. For more information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov.
Senate Plan on Comprehensive Immigration Reform – The Senate proposed bipartisan framework for the comprehensive immigration reform includes a new agricultural worker program that would make it easier for undocumented farm workers to become legally employed. The program would be part of a larger package aiming to create a pathway to citizenship for all illegal aliens while also providing businesses the ability to hire seasonal workers in a timely manner when U.S. workers are not available to fill jobs. This reform would be in exchange for increased border security and other provisions. National Sorghum Producers continue to stay on top of agricultural policy and actively engage in legislation that affect growers at the national policy making level.
Texas Legislature Update – As the Texas legislative session began last week, much of the debate will be tackled over budget allocation. State Comptroller Susan Combs announced the legislature will have $101.4 billion to craft the two-year budget out of the general fund, along with an extra $11.8 billion in the Rainy Day Fund (also known as the Economic Stabilization fund, supplied by oil and gas taxes). Comb’s predicted the state will collect $96.2 billion in revenue from taxes, fees and other income during the 2014-15 biennium, with the fund having $8.8 billion leftover from the current biennium. Of the new revenue, $3.6 billion will be transferred to the Rainy Day Fund. Republicans are vying for the need to control the state’s spending growth while Democrats are wanting lawmakers to restore the cuts from the last session and account for the state’s expected population growth over the last two years. On a water note, State Rep. Alan Ritter (R-Nederland) filed two bills that would allocate a one-time, $2 billion sum from the Rainy Day fund to create a revolving fund for water-supply projects and assist the Texas Water Development Board for water infrastructure projects. State Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) has also already filed a bill to use $1 billion from the fund for water projects and Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) predicts that up to $1.6 billion would be needed for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s proposed $1 billion from the fund for water. Stay tuned…
ChloroFill Using Chromatin’s Sorghum Biomass for Building Materials – ChloroFill LLC, a renewable, sorghum-based building material company, and Chromatin, Inc., an agriculture biotechnology company that is developing sorghum feedstocks for bio-industrial processes, have collaborated and will harvest, for the first time, Chromatin sorghum for the production of ChloroFill’s building products. Despite the drought, the crop pulled through growing nine feet in less than four months. The trial is 90-acres of Chromatin sorghum and was planted in June 2012. ChloroFill’s vision is to revolutionize the building materials industry by making the reduction of deforestation, cancer-causing carcinogens, greenhouse emissions and air pollution an industry standard. ChloroFill is the only sorghum-based, U.S. made, health-friendly fiberboard panel company.
TAWC Winter Meeting – The Texas Alliance for Water Conservation (TAWC) is hosting their annual meeting on Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Floyd County Unity Center in Muncy, Tex. The event begins with registration at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude around 2:00 p.m. The program’s topics will include: crop production alternatives, commodity genetic updates, 2013 production budgets, TAWC online tools, and herbicide options with dealing with resistance. The event is free and open to producers and industry that are interested in attending. For more information, and a final schedule, please visit www.depts.ttu.edu/tawc.
Sorghum U – The Sorghum Checkoff, High Plains Journal and Chromatin, Inc. are sponsoring an event in Lubbock on Jan. 22 at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center to give Texas producers the opportunity to explore the profitability potential and water management qualities of grain sorghum. The event is free, open to all producers and includes a catered lunch. The program begins at 8:30 a.m. with registration and will conclude by 2:00 p.m. Industry leaders will provide information on topics that include: Water and Irrigation Management; Sorghum Economics; Sorghum Agronomics; and Sorghum Marketing Opportunities. Don’t miss this great event! You can register prior to the event at www.SorghumU.com or by calling 1-855-422-6652, or on the morning of the event at 8:30 a.m.
2012 Census of Ag Coming to Your Mailbox – USDA will be mailing the 2012 Census of Agriculture forms to over 3 million U.S. agricultural producers the last week of December. In Texas, about 375,000 Census forms are being mailed out. It is important that you fill the forms out and return them as companies and cooperatives use the facts and figures to determine future locations of facilities for ag products, community planners use the information to target needed services to rural residents, and legislators use the Census statistics when shaping farm policies and programs. Other uses for the Census include allocating block grant dollars to states, allocating funds for beginning farmer, conservation and other programs, helps to identify research priorities and allocate funds accordingly, and used in rural economic development like broadband Internet expansion.
Sorghum Silage Insurance Expanded – The Federal Crop Insurance board of directors recently approved the expansion of the existing sorghum silage pilot program. The expansion will enable 59 additional counties in the Texas and Oklhoma Panhanldes and the Eastern portion of New Mexico to insure irrigated forage sorghum acres for the 2013 crop year. The National Sorghum Producers (NSP) worked closely with the Risk Management Agency (RMA) to provide information and data from individual growers and sorghum silage trials from previous years to achieve this expansion. The expansion will help growers to insure a more water-efficient crop alternative where there are many dairy and cattle feeding operations, and the demand for all silage is high. To view a map of the additional counties, please visit NSP’s website here.
HPWD Reminds Growers of Meter Recordings – The High Plains Water District (HPWD) reminds owner/operators of water wells or well systems that the recording period for their meter readings is from Dec. 15 to Jan 15. HPWD’s rule amendments require flow meter readings or readings from alternative measuring methods each year. The information is needed to report annual groundwater use from the Ogallala Aquifer to the district by March 1 of the following year. On-line reporting of meter readings or alternative measuring methods is available by clicking “Log Meter Entries Here” button on the right side of the HPWD website. Additional information and video tutorials on how to complete the water reporting process may also be found on their website.
NSP Announces 2012 Contest Winners – NSP’s Annual Yield and Management Contest has released their results for 2012. The National winner’s from Texas included: Reznik & Sons, Inc. of Moore county winning first in the Double Crop Irrigated division with a yield of 147.72 bu/acre and a score of 147.72 using Triumph 424; Stuhrenberg Farms of Jackson county winning third in the Conventional-Till Non-Irrigated division with a yield of 134 bu/acre and a score of 63.9 using Pioneer83P99; and D & A Pshigoda Farms, Inc. of Ochiltree county winning third in the Conventional-Till Irrigated division with a yield of 208.49 bu/acre and a score of 208.49 using DEKALB DKS54-00. A full list of all the national, state and county winners can be found at NSP’s website soon.
EPA Approves Grain Sorghum Pathway – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced yesterday it has approved grain sorghum as an eligible feedstock under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). National Sorghum Producers (NSP) has worked closely with EPA for about three years in getting grain sorghum listed as an advanced biofuel feedstock, and the feat has finally been won. The RFS requires a certain amount of feedstocks to be used to produced advanced biofuels. With sorghum’s listing, it will now create a significant amount of domestically-grown sorghum that needs to be used to produce ethanol. This use, in turn, will add value and profitability to the producers crop. This gives an incentive to the ethanol plants to use sorghum when producing their biofuels. EPA found that, when plants use sorghum to create ethanol at facilities that use natural gas, they have a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction of 32 percent, qualifying it as a conventional ethanol. NSP expects at least one existing ethanol plant to quality very soon. Finally, according to EPA, when grain sorghum is used to make ethanol at facilities that use biogas digesters in combination with combined heat and power technology, it achieves a lifecycle GHG emissions reduction of 53 percent, qualifying it as an advanced biofuel feedstock under the RFS. TGSA applauds NSP on their diligent attention to achieve this goal that will tremendously help sorghum producers crop value.
Sorghum U – The United Sorghum Checkoff Program, Chromatin Inc. and the High Plains Journal are teaming up to provide producers an opportunity to explore the profitability and water management qualities of grain sorghum at their new program – Sorghum U. The program in Texas will be held at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center in Lubbock on Tuesday, January 22, 2013. The event will provide breakout sessions on water management, sorghum economics, sorghum agronomics and sorghum marketing opportunities. The program will encourage informational discussions between industry insiders and experienced and new growers. There is no charge to attend the event and lunch is included. The event will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and conclude around 2:00 p.m. If you would like to register early, please visit www.hpj.com/sorghumu or call 1-855-422-6652.
Texas A&M AgriLife High Plains Variety Test Results – The variety plot test results from three locations in the High Plains were recently released by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. At the Lubbock limited irrigation test plot, the top two producing varieties were DeKalb DKS49-45 yielding 5,765 lbs/acre and REV RV9978 at 5,450 lbs/acre. The 20 trials at the Lubbock plot averaged 4,659 lbs/acre. The Hereford irrigated test plot’s top two producing varieties were DeKalb DKS49-45 yielding 9,263 lbs/acre and DeKalb DKS53-67 yielding 8,482 lbs/acre. The 20 trials at the Hereford plot averaged 7,374 lbs/acre. Finally at the Perryton limited irrigation test plot, the two top producing varieties were REV RV9782 yielding 6,642 lbs/acre and Pioneer 85Y40 yielding 6,215 lbs/acre. The 22 trials at the Perryton Plot averaged 5,133 lbs/acre. All of the results from these tests and the other six done around the state will be included in NSP’s Sorghum Grower winter edition magazine, in the High Plains Journal Sorghum Seed inserts, or can be found online at www.varietytesting.tamu.edu.
Farm Bill News at a Glance – The House Republican Conference re-elected Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma to serve a second term as Chairman of the Agriculture Committee for the 113th Congress. Lucas is still committed to do a full, five-year farm bill. On the Senate side, Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said he is now prepared to comprise on the commodity title and accept target price supports important to Southern producers and their allies in Congress, because he said “I have to have the crop insurance or my guys are really going to suffer.”
U.S. Sorghum in Japan – Thanks to the U.S. Grains Council and their attendance at the Japan Health Ingredients Show last month, there is now a new series of white sorghum food products available in the Japanese market. The use of sorghum in food in Japan has not been widely known, and the Council has been stepping in to educate the marketplace. Organic Foods Life Co., Ltd., has developed and started sales of serval non-allergy products using U.S. white sorghum. They sell pre-mix flour and ready-made sorghum pancakes, hotcakes and waffles online and in specialty stores around Tokyo. They also created a creamy salad dressing and frozen sorghum risotto.
Sorghum Meeting in Garden City – TGSP and USCP will hold a sorghum specific meeting at the Glasscock County Coop on Monday, Dec., 17 from noon to 2:00 p.m. The meeting will concentrate on sorghum’s economic and water challenges, and Dr. Trostle of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will provide sorghum agronomic information. The meeting is free and all growers are welcome. The event will include a free lunch, will provide one CEU and all attendees will be entered in a chance to win a Yeti cooler.
Final Reminder of TGPIB Referendum – The Texas Grain Producer Indemnity Board’s (TGPIB) referendum is in the final days and will end on Dec. 7, 2012. To obtain a ballot, visit your Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county office. There will be directions on the ballot of how to mail your completed ballot to TDA. A producer is eligible to vote once if he/she sold grain in the 36 months prior to Dec. 7, 2012. To learn more about the potential fund, visit www.TexasGrainIndemnity.org.
Sorghum Specific South Plains Meetings – Texas Grain Sorghum Producers (TGSP) and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) are teaming up to host sorghum specific meetings for producers in the Southern High Plains this month and next. The first round of meetings will be held on Monday, Nov. 19 at noon in Brownfield, on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 a.m. in Levelland, and at 12:30 p.m. in Muleshoe also on Nov. 20. The meetings will focus on how producers can maximize resources and profits by growing sorghum. Speakers and topics include: Dr. Justin Weinheimer of USCP to discuss sorghum economics and how you can utilize sorghum with new water restrictions; Dr. Calvin Trostle of Texas A&M AgriLife to discuss sorghum agronomics; Florentino Lopez of USCP to discuss sorghum marketing; and Wayne Cleveland of TGSP to discuss sorghum legislative issues. All events will include a meal and all attendees will be entered in a chance to win a Yeti cooler sponsored by TGSP. For more information on locations, please contact Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org. The second round of meetings will be held on Dec. 17 & 18 in Wall, St. Lawrence and Lamesa.
HPWD Releases Unofficial Director Results – The High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD), which services a 16-county area, recently held elections for two positions on the HPWUD Board of Directors. Mike Beauchamp of Friona was elected to Precint Three District Director and Lynn Tate of Amarillo was elected to Precint Four District Director. Beauchamp defeated incumbent Carroll Cook of Friona who has served on the board since August 2003. Beauchamp is an agricultural producer and will serve a four-year term representing Bailey County, a portion of Castro County and Parmer County. Tate defeated incumbent Robert Meyer of Canyon who has served on the board since September 1993. Tate is an agricultural producer and lawyer and will serve a four-year term representing portions of Armstrong, Deaf Smith, Potter and Randall Counties.
FSA Urges Farmers/Ranchers to Vote in County Committee Elections – Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced that the 2012 FSA county committee elections began on Monday, Nov. 5, with the mailing of ballots to eligible voters. The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is Dec. 3, 2012. If you are an eligible voter and do not receive a ballot in the coming week, you may obtain one at your local USDA Service Center. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1, 2013 and will serve three-year terms. To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program. Across the nation, there are about 7,700 farmers and ranchers serving on county committees, and committees consist of three to 11 members that are elected by eligible producers. More information may be found at www.usda.gov/elections or at your local USDA Service Center.
TGPIB Referendum Begins in Two Weeks – The Texas Grain Producer Indemnity Board (TGPIB) will hold a referendum for the establishment of a Texas grain indemnity fund beginning on Nov. 19, 2012 through Dec. 7, 2012. A producer is eligible to vote once if he/she sold grain in the 36 months prior to Dec. 7, 2012. Ballots will be available at all Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county offices, and ballots must be postmarked by Dec. 7 and mailed to the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to be counted. The referendum must pass with a two-thirds vote and if it does, the assessments will be put into place on Feb. 1, 2013. Producers who produced grain in Texas will pay their assessment to the “first point of sale” grain buyer whom will remit it to the TGPIB. Grain produced outside of the state will not be assessed by the grain buyer. These producers will not be protected by the TGPIB indemnity fund program. The rules set an assessment range of 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent of the final sale price of the grain. For FAQ’s, to learn about the potential fund and more information on how to vote, please visit www.TexasGrainIndemnity.org.