May 03, 2021 4:00 PM

National Sorghum Producers - Sorghum e-Notes

Posted May 03, 2021 4:00 PM

Updated NRCS Language on Resource-Conserving Crops
Last week, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced additional language concerning the definition of a "resource-conserving crop" (RCC) under the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) "to be more inclusive of all crops that could be resource conserving and fit within the purpose for which the definition was crafted." The new definition also fully redefines "resource-conserving crop rotation" RCCR for the same purposes. Prior to this a RCC was defined as: (1 A perennial grass; (2 A legume grown for use as a cover crop, forage, seed for planting, or green manure; (3 A legume-grass or diverse grass-forb mixture comprised of species selected for climate, rainfall, soil, and other region-specific conditions; or 4) A small grain or other resource-demanding crop grown in combination with a grass, legume, other forbs, or grass-forb mixture, whether interseeded, relay-planted into the resource-demanding crop, or planted in rotation. The new definition replaces the fourth component with 4) A non-fragile residue or high residue crop or a crop that efficiently uses soil moisture, reduces irrigation water needs, or is considered drought tolerant.

National Sorghum Producers has worked for several years with NRCS to amend this language and allow sorghum to be included in CSP. We expect this language to move to county and state technical committees soon and encourage growers to support the implementation of this language. 

Biden Administration Proposes Tax Changes
Announced Wednesday, the Biden Administration's American Families Plan proposes to impose higher capital gains taxes on inherited assets and eliminate stepped-up basis for gains in excess of $1 million. Stepped-up basis currently allows inherited assets to be taxed at the values at the time of the decedent's death rather than the value at which the decent acquired the property. However, farms and other family-owned business that continue in operation under the next generation have been promised protections from the tax hike. According to a USDA press release outlining the proposal, no capital gains will be due at death for family farms as long as long as the farm remains family-owned and operated. Additionally, there is a $2 million exclusion from  increased capital gains for all married couples. USDA claims 98% of farm estates will not owe any tax at transfer, provided the farm stays in the family. However, Patricia Wolff, a senior director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, said 32% of U.S. farms would be worth more than $1 million, and those farms account for more than 90% of farmland. Read more from Agri-Pulse here.

Thune, Stabenow Reintroduce Cover Crop Legislation
Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today reintroduced the Cover Crop Flexibility Act, legislation to remove the prohibition on harvesting or grazing cover crops on prevented plant acres prior to November 1 and allow this flexibility outside of the primary nesting season. The legislation would: 1) Remove a prohibition on grazing or harvesting cover crops for hay or silage, 2) Allow USDA to include cover crop seed costs when it sets the factor that is used to calculate the prevented planting indemnity, and 3) Direct USDA to conduct a study to examine the extent that cover crops reduce risks of prevented planting and other crop insurance losses. Read more here.

Sorghum Agronomy Insights: Optimizing Irrigation in Grain Sorghum
The latest agronomy article from Sorghum Checkoff Agronomy Director Brent Bean, Ph.D. features insight on optimizing irrigation in grain sorghum. "For maximizing sorghum yields, soil water should be maintained above 50 percent available water to a soil depth of three feet," Bean said. "However, yield of grain sorghum will normally not be reduced as long as soil-available water stays above 30 to 40 percent. This allows for irrigation water to be diverted to other crops in order to meet their water needs during critical periods." Bean said 30 days post-emergence was when the potential number of kernels per head is determined, making this a critical time to ensure the crop has adequate moisture. Read the full article at

USCP, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Partner for Strategic Conservation
Earlier this month, the United Sorghum Checkoff Program joined Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever as their newest national sponsor. This sponsorship is the next step in an existing conservation and working lands partnership between the organizations. The partnership will promote farm-level sustainability and profitability for sorghum growers the in Great Plains and will showcase the connection between upland bird habitats and sorghum production. Read the full release here.

Export Report
China dominated U.S. sorghum exports once again last week purchasing 9.6 million bushels for delivery in the 2020/21 marketing year. They also took shipments of 9.5 million bushels. The purchases this week bring the total U.S. sorghum exports for the 2020/21 marketing year to 281.8 million bushels, or 96 percent of the USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) export estimate. 

Reminder: Applications Open for for National Sorghum Foundation 2021/2022 Scholarships
The National Sorghum Foundation opened three scholarship applications this month for college students studying agriculture in the 2021-2022 academic year. Each scholarship is valued at $1,500, and the deadline to apply is June 1, 2021. More information about each scholarship’s criteria and application forms can be found online at

Sorghum Smart Talk
On this week’s episode, we visit with Sorghum Checkoff International Market Development Director Florentino Lopez. He discusses commodity availability on a global scale and what these conditions could potentially mean for American sorghum farmers. Tune in to learn more about Florentino’s perspective on what marketing sorghum could look like for the next several years. Visit or your favorite podcast platform to listen!

Sorghum Crop Progress Report
USDA reports that 19 percent of the nation’s sorghum was planted by April 25, one percentage point behind the previous year and 3 points behind the 5-year average. Texas had planted 65 percent of its sorghum acreage by April 25, two percentage points behind last year but equal to the 5-year average

Sorghum in the Spotlight:
Sorghum Farmers Weighing Acreage Shifts as Market Surges on Export Demand - ProAg
Sorghum Plantings Soar This Spring - Progressive Farmer
U.S. Sorghum Doubles Down On Sustainability Focus - Trust in Food
Texas sorghum has good prices, needs rain - AgriLife Today
Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever welcome United Sorghum as a sponsor, partner - High Plains Journal
Sorting out some sorghum decisions - Hay & Forage Grower
East Texas Ag News: Sorghum Acres Expected to be Up This Year - KLTV
Sorghum Crop on the Rise in Texas Panhandle - ABC 7 News

Upcoming Events
May 11                     2021 Center for Sorghum Improvement Seminar Series 4 - Virtual
May 31                     Memorial Day- Office Closed 
June 8                     2021 Center for Sorghum Improvement Seminar Series 5 - Virtual 
July 4                      Independence Day- Office Closed 
July 13                     2021 Center for Sorghum Improvement Seminar Series 6 - Virtual 

Market News - To view this week’s Gulf export grain report, click here.

About Sorghum Notes
Sorghum Notes is a publication of the National Sorghum Producers. NSP represents U.S. sorghum producers and serves as the voice of the sorghum industry from coast to coast through education and legislative and regulatory representation.