At their summer board meeting, the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) Board of Directors voted unanimously to proceed with the process of creating a national sorghum checkoff to fund critical research for sorghum producers.

“Like many farmers, I need sorghum in my crop rotation,” said NSP President Greg Shelor of Minneola, Kan. “But to increase profitability, we have some basic needs like better grass and weed control technology. We also need to increase our yields.”

In May, Shelor appointed NSP President-Elect Dale Murden of Monte Alto, Texas to serve as Chairman of the National Sorghum Checkoff Committee. The committee, made up of producers and state sorghum staff, was charged with the task of assessing if a national sorghum checkoff would help meet critical producer needs. The committee was asked to offer its recommendations at the August board meeting held in Lubbock, Texas.

“After several meetings, phone calls and a lot of research, our committee felt that a national sorghum checkoff would help producers across the country to realize better returns and profitability through a more focused research approach,” said Murden. “Profitability is certainly what drives producers and what will drive the priorities of a national sorghum checkoff.”

NSP CEO Tim Lust said that the NSP board has been evaluating the possibility of a national sorghum checkoff for quite some time. “If we can meet our most pressing needs, producers will continue to see expanded opportunities for sorghum. There is substantial growth in the forage sorghum market and with the utilization of sorghum for ethanol production.”

Lust said that there is a need to increase sorghum’s fermentable, extractable sugars to compete with other feedstocks utilized in ethanol production. He also said with the sorghum genome being fully sequenced soon, it will be critical to exploit this scientific breakthrough to help sorghum producers become more productive and profitable in the future.

Directors on the NSP board are now getting feedback from their sponsoring organizations to bring recommendations forward. If you have any questions regarding the process of creating a National Sorghum Checkoff, please call the NSP office at (806) 749-3478.