Producers, re-searchers and industry leaders attending the 2001 Sorghum Industry Conference and 22nd Biennial Grain Sorghum Research and Utilization Conference in Nashville Feb. 18-20 will hear the latest on industry trends, research and legislation.

The joint conferences will be held at the Airport Marriot Hotel. Those in attendance will hear the latest information about crop protection products, discussions with the nation's emerging sorghum end-users, developments on the research frontier, and new marketing efforts National Grain Sorghum Producers (NGSP) will be rolling out to encourage sorghum consumption and processing.

This year's conference is a joint effort hosted by NGSP and the Sorghum Improvement Conference of North America (SICNA). The meeting format allows all segments of the grain sorghum community to share ideas and newtechnologies.

Leo Bindel, NGSP president, and Roger Monk, SICNA chairman, will kick off the conference on Monday morning. Sen Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has been been invited to present his insights Monday morning on upcoming farm legislation as preparations get under way for the 2002 farm bill.

The latest developments in sorghum research will be featured during the conference by leading scientists from across the continent. In addition, discussion panels and presentations from agribusiness representatives will roundout the agenda.

NGSP will unveil a new marketing program geared toward promoting sorghum to the food processing industry, retailers and consumers. Plans include new logos, an aggressive implementation plan and a comprehensive strategy to integrate the program into every level from farm to consumer.

"We've been working hard on this program, and we can't wait to unveil it," says Tim Snyder, NGSP marketing director. "The folks who come to our conference in Nashville will be fortunate to be the first to get a peek at this exciting new program."

The opening reception on Sunday evening, Feb. 18 will again include a silent auction to benefit the National Sorghum Foundation. Proceeds will fund scholarships to college students studying agriculture.

In addition to an optional "Night at the Grand Ole Opry" planned for Saturday Feb. 17, two acts have been slated to entertain conference attendees.

First, L.H. "Cotton" Ivy will open the general session. A former Tennessee state legislator and Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture, Ivy was born and raised in the cotton fields of Decatur County, Tenn., where he absorbed the culture of an environment that he now shares in the form stories and humorous accounts.

The banquet Tuesday evening, Feb. 20, will feature ventriloquistGreg Claassen, who has built a national reputation with organizations of all types and sizes.