Sorghum growers look for bigger markets OFFICIALS WITH the National Grain Sorghum Producers (NGSP) in Lubbock see a bright future for sorghum, based on potential new markets resulting from increased interest in sorghum's unique characteristics, such as its official non-genetically modified organism (non-GMO) status, nutritional characteristics and gluten-free properties.

Sorghum is a versatile grain that can be used in the cereal, snack food, baking and brewing industries, says Tim Snyder, NGSP marketing director. Sorghum's unique characteristics also make mycotoxins such aflatoxin a virtually nonexistent problem.

The U.S. Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) will provide upon request to U.S. sorghum customers official statements indicating that no genetically modified, or transgenic, sorghum moves in U.S. trade channels.

According to NGSP, this official non-GMO certification should reassure concerned U.S. grain customers that U.S. sorghum is free of transgenic enhancements or manipulation. Sorghum's non-GMO status also should reassure grain buyers and food processors that may be hesitant to purchase U.S. grain based on similar concerns.

"U.S. sorghum is a comparable substitute for other carbohydrate sources," said Snyder, noting that the sorghum starch matrix is similar to that of corn.

Nutritionally, sorghum is a gluten-free grain comprised of 11.3 percent protein and 3.3 percent fat. Antioxidant-rich sorghum varieties offer high levels of phenols and tannins, two compounds the American Heart Association has linked to cancer prevention and improved cardiovascular health, says Snyder.

Sorghum is available as a meal and flour, while the whole or decorticated kernels can be extruded, steam-flaked, popped, puffed or micronized.

Ingredient benefits include light color, bland taste, and flavor absorption in addition to its non-GMO status. Extruded sorghum flour puffs exhibit size and texture characteristics similar to that of commercial brands, says Snyder.

Additionally, breads produced with sorghum bran can provide approximately five grams of dietary fiber per 56-gram slice.

Questions concerning U.S. sorghum can be addressed to Tim Snyder, NGSP marketing director, by e-mail at tsnyder@ sorghumgrowers.com or by phone at 806-749-3478.

NGSP represents U.S. sorghum producers nationwide. Headquartered in the heart of the U.S. sorghum belt at Lubbock, Texas, the organization works to increase the profitability of sorghum production through market development, research, education, and legislative representation.