By National Sorghum Producers
Lopez Named Sorghum Checkoff Executive Director
The United Sorghum Checkoff Program Tuesday welcomed Florentino Lopez as the organization’s new executive director. Lopez brings valuable knowledge and experience in the grain industry to his new leadership role within the Sorghum Checkoff.
He has been the Sorghum Checkoff marketing director since 2009 and was previously production manager at Texas Farm LLC in Perryton, Texas. His overall understanding of the sorghum industry and expertise in foreign and domestic sorghum markets make him a valuable asset to the checkoff program. Lopez is replacing Dr. Virgil Smail, who retired after serving as the organization’s executive director since the program began.
Senate Ag Committee Takes Up and Passes HR 872
The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011 (H.R. 872) is designed to eliminate costly permitting requirements for pesticide applicators. This bill, which passed the House back in March, was not foreseen to be taken up by the Senate so soon but passed Tuesday afternoon with strong bi-partisan support.
For most of the past four decades, water quality concerns from pesticide applications were addressed within the registration process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), rather than a Clean Water Act permitting program. H.R. 872 amends both the Clean Water Act and FIFRA in order to restore the previous regulatory framework.
After the Senate Ag Committee passed the measure on Tuesday afternoon, Congressman Lucas called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow a floor vote on the measure immediately. NSP commends work done by both the Senate and House Ag Committees to reduce burdensome permitting requirements for farmers.
EPA Spells Out New Targets for Ethanol
The Environmental Protection Agency this week released its projected ethanol targets for the 2012 year. In an expected move, EPA lowered the cellulosic biofuels annual volumetric mandate down to 3.45-12.9 million gallons. However, EPA did not lower the total advanced biofuels mandate of 2 billion gallons, which includes cellulosic biofuels, biodiesel and other advanced biofuels. With a 1.5 billion gallon ethanol equivalent mandate of biodiesel, the remaining advanced biofuel mandate of 487-497 million gallons needs to be filled with other advanced biofuels. NSP continues to work with EPA to qualify grain sorghum ethanol as an advanced biofuel to help fill the mandated amount for 2012. This would provide ethanol plants more incentive to use sorghum as their feedstock in the coming year.
NSP Signs Letter to Congressional Leaders
NSP recently signed onto a letter sent to Senators Patrick Leahy and Lindsey Graham, chair and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Operations Subcommittee, and Representatives Kay Granger and Nita Lowery, chair and ranking member of the House Foreign Operations Committee. This letter was written to express NSP’s support for the FY 2012 U.S. investment in global food security. The letter explained that recent episodes of very high global agricultural prices have reminded the world of the hardships that unexpected price volatility can create. The letter went on to say that as the world population increases over the coming decades and rising incomes in emerging economies drive increasing demand for high-quality foods, the agricultural sector will be greatly challenged to develop sustainable approaches to increasing agricultural productivity that will enable the poor to secure food at affordable prices.
This Week’s Crop Report
As of June 20, planting progress varied between states. Arkansas was 100 percent complete, Colorado at 70 percent, Illinois at 79 percent, Kansas at 86 percent, Louisiana at 100 percent, Missouri at 83 percent, Nebraska at 97 percent, New Mexico at 47 percent, Oklahoma at 83 percent, South Dakota at 92 percent, and Texas at 87 percent. Harvest continues to move up the Gulf Coast with surprisingly strong yield results despite almost no rain. More stories to come on how resilient sorghum has proved to be this year.
Upcoming Field Days and Events
June 28 Northeast Research Station Pest Management and Crop Production Field Day, Joseph, La.
June 27-29 International Food Aid and Development Conference, Kansas City, Mo.
June 27-30 Fuel Ethanol Workshop, Indianapolis, Ind.
July 22 Oklahoma No-Till Conference, Norman, Okla.
July 25-27 U.S. Grains Council 51st Annual Board of Delegates Meeting, San Francisco, Calif.
July 29 Oklahoma Commission Meeting, Goodwell, Okla.