LUBBOCK, TEXAS, U.S. — U.S. sorghum growers are hoping the sale of 2.6 million bushels of U.S. sorghum to China represents a sign trade tensions between the two nations is lessening.

The sale was reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) export sales report for the week of Feb. 28 – March 7, 2019.

“This vessel purchase is great news for U.S. sorghum, and we are thrilled to see it on the books going into the 2019 planting season as hopefully a first of many,” said Dan Atkisson, chairman of the National Sorghum Producers (NSP). “We look forward to returning to trade with our largest export partner, and we are encouraged by not only this sale but the reported 2.2-million-bushel sale to Spain, as well. We believe today’s news is a direct result of meetings between our two nations’ leaders, and we appreciate both administrations continuing to press forward to achieve a long-term agreement in U.S. and China trade relations.”

According to the NSP, this is China’s first significant purchase since the country initiated an anti-dumping and countervailing cases in February 2018. China’s Ministry of Commerce  terminated the anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations in May 2018 because it did not serve the public interest.

Despite the termination of the investigation, in December 2018 China’s imports of feed grains such as sorghum and barley fell. China, previously the world’s top sorghum buyer, bought none of the grain in December, compared with 160,000 tonnes a year earlier, according to Reuters, citing data from the General Administration of Customs.

China primarily uses sorghum to feed its large livestock sector.