Hoping to create trade relationships between Saudi Arabia and U.S. sorghum suppliers, the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) in conjunction with the U.S. Grains Council will sponsor a Saudi Arabian buying team Sept. 27 through Oct. 3.

“The mission will allow the team to actually see production and hear about the potential opportunities U.S. sorghum offers,” said Florentino Lopez, USCP marketing director.

On Thursday, Oct. 1, the team will hear presentations on sorghum production, supply and demand from U.S. Grains Council Manager of International Operations - Marketing, Alvaro Cordero.

“Once they have a better understanding of the benefits of sorghum, that will allow us to acquaint them with further applications of the crop,” Lopez said.

A presentation from industry expert Dr. Leland McKinney will address the advantages of including U.S. sorghum in livestock feed, as well as specific points on sorghum nutrition and the quality of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

That afternoon, the team will travel to USCP Board Member Jeff Casten’s farm near Quenemo, Kansas. This visit will provide a hands-on look at sorghum fields and the crop’s production process.

“We’ll be able to sit around the kitchen table and talk about a few things involving sorghum production and quality,” Casten said, “and I’ll answer any questions that I can help with.”

Casten said the team will have the opportunity to observe machinery used in sorghum production.

“We’ll fire up the combine and be able to show the team how the machinery actually harvests the grain,” he said.

By familiarizing the Saudi Arabian team with the basics of sorghum, USCP hopes to further educate the team on the nutritional value of the crop.

The team of eight will consist of government officials and feedmill managers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Also as part the program, the team will travel to various dairies and farms and attend the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.

The trip will conclude with a visit to the Federal Grain Inspection Services (FGIS), where the team will be further educated on proper handling practices and standards for sorghum and other grain products.

The United Sorghum Checkoff Program was established in 2008 under the authority of the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. Funding for the checkoff is derived from value based assessments on all grain sorghum and forage sorghum produced in the U.S. as well as from a similar assessment on imported grain sorghum. A 13-member producer board of directors administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.