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House panel OKs sorghum study funding

Efforts to improve cold tolerance in grain sorghum and studies to improve end uses for the grain crop will get a boost in funding if recommendations passed by the House Appropriations Committee become law.

“This is a step in the right direction and furthers NGSP's focused effort the last several years to bring federal funding for grain sorghum research more closely in line with other crops,” says Tim Lust, executive director for the National Grain Sorghum Producers Association.

“Until recently, federal funding for grain sorghum research has lagged behind that of other major crops.”

The proposed fiscal year 2004 budget provides $300,000 in new funding for research at the USDA Agricultural Research Service's Plant Stress Laboratory at Lubbock, Texas, which would extend growing seasons for sorghum and provide increased profitability for sorghum producers by increasing cold tolerance through collaborative work in Texas, Kansas and Oregon.

Additionally, House appropriators recommended $400,000 for work on new end uses for sorghum at the ARS Grain Marketing Research Laboratory at Manhattan, Kan., which will be coordinated with related research in Nebraska, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Georgia and Texas.

Lust notes that NGSP worked closely with House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Henry Bonilla (R-Texas), and with former Rep. Larry Combest (R-Texas), and Reps., Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.).

‘Good contribution’

“This is a good contribution to research efforts funded by producers through their checkoff as well as by private industry,” says Lust, adding that NGSP will continue to urge this important federal funding for the industry to round out a public/private/producer research partnership.

The measure now faces a floor vote in the House. The Senate Ag Appropriations Subcommittee is considering similar research funding.

NGSP represents U.S. grain sorghum producers nationwide. The organization has headquarters in Lubbock, Texas.

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