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Staples Awards Disaster Grants – Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples announced awards of $2.1 million in federal disaster relief grants to Texas cities and counties who are still suffering the effects of the severe drought from last year. The communities being awarded are: Concho County, Falls City, Lawn, Leakey, Real County and Sabine County. The funds were made available from a new initiative that directs funds toward drought needs from the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) Texas Community Development Block Grant Program. TDA awarded the grants from its Disaster Relief Fund, which provides assistance to eligible communities to help alleviate the effects of a natural disaster. The program serves approximately 1,017 eligible rural communities, 245 eligible rural counties and provides services to more than 375,000 low-to-moderate beneficiaries each year. Counties must have populations less than 200,00 people, and cities must have populations under 50,000.
2012 National Sorghum Crop Projections – The USDA has set projections for the new sorghum crop year. The 2012 U.S. sorghum crop is expected to produce up to 335 million bushels this crop year (up from 214 million last year). Reports indicate planted acreage is expected to increase to a total of 5.95 million acres (up 469,000 acres), while the yield is projected to jump 10.4 bushels. Sorghum beginning stocks are forecasted at 26.9 million bushels (down 0.6 million) and total production is set to be at 362 million bushels (up from 242 million) due to the higher production levels. Sorghum use is expected to increase by 105 million bushels. Exports are projected higher at 140 million bushels (up 80 million), while feed and residual use is projected at 90 million (up 25 million). Ending stocks are expected to be at 42 millions bushels (up 15 million). The season-average farm price is projected to be $3.85-$4.65 per bushel (down from $5.85-$6.15).
Reminder! DCP & ACRE Deadlines Approaching – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminded producers that enrollment for eligible farms the 2012 Director and Counter-Cyclical Program (DCP) and the Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE) ends on June 1, 2012. Producers must enroll their farms each year and all owners and operators who will share in the DCP or ACRE program must sign-up. Since 2009, producers had the option to choose one program or the other, and a producer who initially chose to remain in DCP has the option to switch to ACRE during the enrollment period, but producers who chose to enroll in ACRE in the past cannot switch back to DCP. Growers can enroll on the electronic DCP (eDCP) at www.fsa.usda.gov/dcp which saves time, reduces paperwork and speeds up contracts processing (must have an active USDA eAuthentication Level 2 account which can be completed online at www.eauth.egov.usda.gov) or by visiting their local FSA office.
Sorghum Growers Needed for Study – The United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) is funding an in-depth study that involves tracking all data used by sorghum growers to raise, harvest and market their sorghum crop. The study will begin in June 2012 and participating growers will be asked to provide information relating to all inputs and outputs relating to their crop. The data will be used to assess the carbon footprint of growing sorghum versus other crops, and a model will be developed to demonstrate those interactions. If you are a sorghum grower and are interested in participating please contact Dusti Fritz of USCP at firstname.lastname@example.org. The series will include four 5-to-10 minute surveys online and will be conducted by SGS and Strategic Marketing Research and is strictly a scientific resesach project that does not include sales of any kind.
Senate Ag Committee Passes Farm Bill - After much speculation, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry passed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 by a vote of 16-5 on April 26th. More commonly known as the “Farm Bill”, this piece of legislation will move to the Senate floor this summer. The House Ag Committee will begin mark ups in the next few months. National Sorghum Producers (NSP) and other agricultural groups worked tirelessly to make farmers voices heard. The Senate Ag Committee’s legislation was a major shift in policy with potentially major implications for the sorghum industry. NSP stated it believes it is vital to build a program that allows equitability among commodities to encourage crop diversity and rotation on the farm. NSP has some concerns regarding the Commodity Title, but noted there are some positive changes in the Insurance and Conservation Titles. NSP will continue to represent growers as this legislation moves forward.
FSA Offers New On-line Tool – USDA Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that farmers and ranchers in Texas now have a more efficient, timely option for receiving important FSA program eligibility requirements, deadlines and related information. FSA is offering a free online communications through their GovDelivery electronic news service and news will be sent directly to your home or farm office, or to your Smartphone. Growers can sign-up to receive information based on topic and/or location. You can subscribe online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/subscribe or contact your local FSA office for assistance.
TDA’s Family Land Heritage Program – The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is accepting applications for their Family Land Heritage (FLH) Program. FLH recognizes farms and ranches for continuous agricultural production by the same family for 100 years or more. The families being awarded will be honored at a ceremony in Austin and will receive a certificate, will be eligible to purchase a Texas historic farm or ranch gate sign and/or bronze marker to display on their property. To qualify to apply for the FLH the same family must have maintained the land in continuous agricultural production for 100 years by blood, marriage or adoption. Families must be able to trace the line of ownership from the first family member to the present one. The land must be 10 acres or more with agriculture sales of $50 or more a year; or if less than 10 acres, sales of at least $250 a year, and owners must be actively managing the everyday operation. More information on the rules and the application may be found at www.tda.state.tx.us. Applications must be postmarked by June 1st.
Sorghum Foundation Seeking Scholarship Applicants – The National Sorghum Foundation was established to promote and aid higher education in agriculture and to promote the study of sorghum and its impacts on agriculture. Producers, researchers and private industry collectively fund the Foundation endowment. The Foundation offers two scholarships – the Darrell Rosenow Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to be applied to one semester of education expenses and the Sorghum Challenge award winner in the amount of $1,000 to be applied to one semester of tuition expenses and also a trip to Washington, D.C. with NSP during their annual fly-in. For more information, please contact Dr. Bruce Maunder at email@example.com.
Three TGSB Board of Directors Retire -
Last week, the Texas Grain Sorghum Producers Board (TGSB) bid farewell to three of its directors as they moved on to retirement. Jim Boston of Roscoe served on the board since 1988, Dale Artho of Wildorado served since 1994, and Robert Hoot of Raymondville served since 2000. TGSB thanks those directors for their time, dedication, service and leadership to the Texas sorghum industry. With their retirement, three new elected board members were sworn into their seats – Blake Tregellas of Perryton, Kathy Brorman of Hereford and Glenn Wilde of Lyford begin their duties and we are excited for their leadership. Also, Troy Skarke of Claude ended his four-year term as Chairman and Chuck McDonald of Monte Alto was elected into this new position.