Texas Sorghum Insider

February 21, 2013

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.

February 6, 2013

TEXAS GROUP MEETS WITH SAN FERNANDO – LEADING ANIMAL PRODUCTION COMPANY IN PERU (L-R): Benjamin Smith – Attebury Grain; Brian McCuistion – Planters Coop; Carlos Guerrero – TDA; James Born – TGSP; Joe Kelley – United Ag; San Fernando buyer; TJ Verver – TDA; Jaime Cuellar – USGC; San Fernando buyer; Wayne Cleveland – TGSP

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.

January 16, 2013

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.

Upcoming Meetings

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.

December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas!

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.

December 4, 2012

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.

November 7, 2012

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 morgan.newsom@gmail.com. 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.

Upcoming Elections/Referendums

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.

October 25, 2012

Texas Irrigation Impacts, Ag Comparable to Homeowners – Texas A&M University, along with the Texas Water Resources Institute and many other others, recently put together a study that shows the status and trends of irrigated agriculture in Texas. Texas ranks third in the U.S. for both irrigated agriculture acres and irrigation water applied. Some interesting facts the study found:  over six million acres irrigated are for agricultural production, making up more than 10% of irrigated acres in the U.S.; and one out of four harvested cropland acres in Texas is irrigated. The study also found that in 2000, 86% of the irrigated acres used groundwater (Texas High Plains), 11.6% used surface water (Rio Grande Basin and the upper portions of the Gulf Coast) and the remaining acres used both. It is estimated that in 2009 Texas used an average water use of 16.2 million acre-feet annually, and of that about 57% is used for agriculture irrigation. Texas has averaged less than 18 inches on a per acre basis annually since the 1950’s. With that, the study found that agricultural irrigation is comparable to homeowners application of water. A three-year study in College Station found average households supplemented rainfall by applying 22 inches of water annually to their lawns. The study details the need for water usage currently and what different regions in Texas will need in 2060, with the DFW metroplex and Houston regions showing the greatest increase for water in that time span. DFW and the Houston areas will need more water for municipal use and Houston will need an increase in water for  manufacturing as well. To view the full study, please visit www.twri.tamu.edu.

Water Efficiency Workshops to be Held in Rio Grande Valley – Workshops on low-cost, high efficiency irrigation techniques designed specifically for producers and irrigation district personnel will be held at the Rio Grande Center for Ag Water Efficiency near Harlingen, Tex. on Nov. 7-9. The two workshops are offered by the Texas Project for Ag Water Efficiency (Texas AWE). The topics will feature “District Technology Enhancements” on Nov. 7-8, and “On-Farm Irrigation Advances” which is geared toward ag producers and will cover low- or no-cost irrigation techniques and technologies to improve yields and boost net farm income will be held on Nov. 9. A small registration fee will cover the costs of lunch and materials. To register, visit www.TexasAWE.org.

New Plant in Missouri to Use Sorghum – The Rolla Daily News announced a new 5,400-square-foot manufacturing plant will be in production in the first quarter of 2013 to produce fiberboard products made from sorghum. The plant will be in Nodaway County in Missouri. The company notes that using sorghum will be making health-friendly building materials by lowering the carbon footprint, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, deforestation and health risks associated with traditional building materials. The plant will manufacture a product trade-named DurahForm, which consists of processed sorghum stalks fused together using a protein binder.  The product is produced in sheets and is similar to high-grade plywood.


TGSB 2013 RFP’S – TGSB’s deadline for submitting project proposals is Monday, October 29, 2012 for the 2013 project year. The proposal should be three pages or less and the desired funding amount should not exceed $10,000. The projects should focus on applied (on farm) research and the domestic and international marketing of sorghum. For a detailed outbreak of guidelines and deadlines, please visit www.texassorghum.org/2013-rfp. Please submit all proposals to morgan.newsom@gmail.com.

TGSA BOD Nominations – TGSA recently changed their election process for their board of director’s. TGSA is divided into three districts across Texas:  North, Central and South. Each district will now have three board seats (two producer’s and one at-large) for a total of nine TGSA director’s across the state. The nomination forms for all seats must be postmarked by Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 and mailed to TGSA, P.O. Box 905, Salado, TX 76571. To be nominated for a producer seat, you must be a dues-paying member of TGSA (either through individual membership or if you sell your grain to an E-member elevator) and you must be a sorghum grower. The at-large seats will be from FY2012 TGSA Corporate Members and Texas E-member elevators, and may be growers, owners, managers, etc. Once nomination forms are received, the election will be a mail ballot and posted on TGSA’s website soon after. For more information about the election process and/or to receive a nomination form, please contact Morgan at morgan.newsom@gmail.com or (806) 438-5994.

October 9, 2012

TGSB 2013 RFP’s – Texas Grain Sorghum Board (TGSB) is now accepting proposals for the 2013-project year for applied (on farm) research and for the domestic and international marketing of sorghum. Proposals are due Oct 29, 2012 and upon approval by the board at their December 2012 meeting, will begin on January 1, 2013. The proposal should three pages or less and the desired funding amount should not exceed $10,000. The board is looking for research that improves that profitability of sorghum; marketing that addresses the development of new markets; studies that involve movement of grain into markets; research that develops new uses of grain sorghum; and/or promotion that introduces sorghum to new sources. For a detailed outbreak of guidelines and deadlines, please view TGSB’s website here.

Schnell to Serve as State Sorghum and Corn Specialist – Texas A&M AgriLife has hired Dr. Ronnie Schnell to serve as state cropping systems specialist for sorghum and corn. Schnell will serve a joint appointment with AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M AgriLife Research. His goal will be to develop and provide information to the Texas agriculture community on profitable and water-efficient production systems, which include sorghum, corn and bioenergy crops as reported by Texas AgriLife. Schnell is a native of Central Texas, earned his bachelor’s degree in horticulture and crop science from Sam Houston State University in 2002, his master’s in agronomy in 2007 and a doctorate in agronomy in 2010 – both from Texas A&M University. Prior to this appointment, he worked at the University of Florida-West Florida Research and Education Center. Texas Grain Sorghum Producer’s staff recently met with Dr. Schnell and is already working on ways to improve the accessibility of sorghum information to grower’s across the state. We congratulate Dr. Schnell on this new position and we look forward to working with him in the future.

SURE Sign-Up for 2011 Crop Losses – Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan Garcia announced the sign-up period for the 2011 crop year Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program will open Oct. 22nd. SURE authorizes assistance to farmers and ranchers who suffered crop losses caused by natural disasters occurring through Sept. 30, 2011. For more information on the 2011 SURE program, visit your local FSA office or visit www.fsa.usda.gov/sure.

Past TGSP Director Laid to Rest – Howard Salge of Tynan, Texas passed away on Oct. 4th. He was a Board of Director for the Texas Grain Sorghum Board and Association in the 1980’s. Howard’s son, Darby, continues to farm in the Tynan area. TGSP’s condolences go out to his family and we were grateful for his leadership in the sorghum industry.

September 26, 2012

South Texas Commodity Symposium – Don’t forget to join us on Thursday, Oct. 4th in Robstown! Texas Grain Sorghum Producers, Corn Producers Association of Texas, South Texas Cotton and Grain Association and Southwest Council of Agribusiness will once again team up to bring a commodity symposium to South Texas growers. For the first time, the event will be held in conjunction with the Texas AgXchange Farm & Ranch Show at the RMB Regional Fairgrounds in Robstown, Tex. The symposium will begin at 10 a.m. in the Arena, next to the indoor exhibits. Speakers include Tom Sell of Combest, Sell and Assoc. providing a Farm Bill update, Brian McCuistion will give details on the upcoming Texas Grain Producers Indemnity Fund referendum, and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples will address border control and immigration issues. The event will conclude at noon with attendees receiving free tickets to the AgXchange BBQ luncheon. Hope to see you there!

Secretary Vilsack Announces USCP Board Appointments – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced four appointments to the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) Board of Directors. The four sorghum producers appointed are Bill Kubecka of Palacious, Texas; Gregory Shelor of Minneloa, Kansas; William Greving of Prairie View, Kansas; and David Fremark of St. Lawrence, South Dakota for the at-large position. The appointees were selected from nominations by certified producer organizations. USCP holds a 13-member board.

USCP Committee Positions Available – Last year the USCP Board of Directors developed new working committees to further develop the sorghum industry and the working capabilities of the Sorghum Checkoff. This change enables outside participants, whether that be growers, researchers, industry leaders, etc. to apply to be on these committees in order to provide insight, knowledge and different views. The three committees are Crop Improvement, Renewables and High Value Markets. If you are interested in sharing your leadership with the sorghum industry, please contact morgan@texassorghum.org to receive an application form. The deadline for application submission is October 8, 2012. The board will review and accept committee applications at their December board meeting.

Sorghum Syrup Making Its Way Into Mainstream Restaurants – A chef at a restaurant in Charleston, S.C. says that sorghum is on the rise. An NRP reporter provided an entire story about sorghum coming into restaurants and that she never heard of sorghum until she began to see it about a year ago on menus in Washington, D.C. She found sorghum in chili glaze on duck, sorghum syrup in cocktails, on desserts, and also found the sorghum seed incorporated into a salad. Mika Lata, the chef from South Carolina, makes sorghum butter to spread on biscuits by using sorghum syrup and unsalted butter. Kentucky and Tennesee are the top producers of sorghum syrup and the National Sweet Sorghum Producers & Processors Association noted that sorghum syrup can be substituted for any recipe that calls for molasses, honey, corn syrup or maple syrup. The syrup is made from the juice extracted from sorghum cane, and then it is filtered and cooked down in open pans while it becomes thicker and darker after a few hours of simmering and skimming in an evaporating pan.

September 12, 2012

TGPIB Referendum Near – The Texas Grain Producer Indemnity Board (TGPIB) will hold a referendum for the establishment of a Texas grain indemnity fund in the coming months. The TGPIB was set-up as part of legislation that was passed in 2011 after many grain buyer financial failures occurred across the state. The TGPIB will mitigate up to 90 percent of the financial losses suffered by producers of corn, sorghum, wheat and soybeans when a grain buyer experiences a financial failure. The fund will be voted on by Texas grain producers between 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 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. If producers vote to start the fund, the “first point of sale” grain buyer will collect the assessment when producers sell their grain, and then they will remit to the TGPIB. The rules adopted by the TGPIB set an assessment range of 0.2 percent to 0.6 percent of the final sale price of the grain. The TGPIB will set a minimum fund balance necessary to cover all anticipated administrative and operating costs, and a reasonable estimate of the indemnity claim payments. Once the fund reaches an amount determined by the TGPIB as sufficient to cover the risk, a refund process will be initiated to refund assessments on a first in, first out basis. The fund will be managed by TGPIB and the money can only be used for the indemnity fund program. To learn more about the fund, please visit www.TexasGrainIndemnity.org.

Sorghum Leadership Class I Begins – Last week, fifteen sorghum farmers from across eight states, started the beginning session of their Sorghum Leadership experience. The purpose of the first session was to educate the class on sorghum research and the seed industry. The class toured the Texas High Plains visiting Chromatin in Idalou, USDA-ARS in Lubbock, Pioneer in Plainview, Richardson Seeds in Vega and viewed a presentation from Advanta. The purpose of the program is to develop the next generation of leaders in the sorghum industry. The next stop for their class will be held in Kansas in November to learn about domestic markets and public research. The Sorghum Checkoff (USCP) is sponsoring the program because it feels future leadership in sorghum is a vital part to the industry. Paul Morris of Hubbard, Tex. and Joey Rieder of Sinton, Tex. are the two participants from Texas in the program. To view the class and learn more about it, visit www.sorghumcheckoff.com/leadership-sorghum.

USGS Conducting Global Sorghum Assessment – The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) will be conducting a comprehensive global sorghum assessment over the course of the remaining calendar year. The assessment will cover issues including a competitor analysis to derive the best way to market U.S. sorghum’s competitive advantage and new opportunities for U.S. sorghum market expansion. This assessment will allow the USGC to better understand current markets and engage markets that haven’t traditionally used sorghum. This assessment should help the Council to use producer funds more efficiently in the international marketplace. TGSB and USCP currently fund the Council to enhance the sorghum industry through international markets.

Watch Videos on Sorghum – The Sorghum Checkoff (USCP) has brought sorghum videos to your desktops, laptops, smartphones and iPads! The program has put together various videos related to sorghum and has posted them on their website and YouTube. You can view videos ranging from the information about the checkoff to watching sorghum harvest and even hear from past yield contest winners. To view the videos go to www.sorghumcheckoff.com/newsroom/videos-2 or simply search “sorghum checkoff” on YouTube.

Sign-Up for NSP’s Yield & Management Contest – Don’t forget to enroll in the yearly National Sorghum Producers (NSP) Yield & Management Contest to compete with other farmers and against your county averages for the best sorghum yields in the nation. It’s not too late, so visit www.sorghumgrowers.com for an entry form, instructions, deadlines and rules. This year’s winners will receive a trip to the 2013 Commodity Classic held in Kissimmee, Florida!

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