Kansas Farmer Learns More with Leadership Sorghum


Daniel Riffel ProfileDaniel Riffel from Stockton, Kansas, grew up on his family’s farm in the northern part of the state. Riffel remembers working on the farm during summers and weekends throughout high school and college. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Technology Management from Kansas State University, Riffel returned to the family farm full-time.

“I just really enjoyed farm work,” Riffel said. “I knew pretty early on that an office job wasn’t for me so it seemed like the right fit.”

Alongside his father, uncle and cousin, Riffel helps run the family operation producing wheat, soybeans, alfalfa and beef cattle. In addition to these ventures, Riffel has over 1,000 acres each year he puts into sorghum production and says sorghum is a great rotational crop for their area of Kansas.

“It’s a really good fit for our area. Sorghum is a good summer crop that we can count on every year,” Riffel said. “The stalks are great to graze our cattle out on, and it’s just a crop that comes through for us when others don’t.”

A former class member and close family friend introduced Riffel to Leadership Sorghum. He said he is grateful for the opportunity and has enjoyed his time so far in the program. Riffel said the best part of the program so far has been learning about the sorghum industry as a whole. The opportunity to share farming knowledge and experiences with the other class members has been one of the highlights of the program for Riffel.

“Every producer does things a little differently,” Riffel said. “No farming operation is the same and it’s been great to get the chance to compare with the other class members.”

Although Riffel says the work he does can be trying at times, he knows there isn’t another job in the world he would rather be doing. For Daniel Riffel, farming is more than a way to make money — it’s his life’s passion.

“This job isn’t easy, in a lot of different ways,” Riffel said. “But I get a feeling of fulfillment from what I do. It’s nice at the end of the day to feel like you really accomplished something that matters to the whole world. Every day doesn’t always feel that way. But when you add them all up together through a season it really does give me that sense of fulfillment.”

Equipment Color: International Red
Tractor Tunes: Country and Classic Rock
Favorite Season on the Farm: Harvest
Favorite Part of Farming: The feeling of fulfillment at the end of a season to know all your hard work has paid off
Hobbies: Working with computers, HTML coding, home improvement and gardening

Daniel is a member of Leadership Sorghum Class III, a program designed to foster the next generation of sorghum leaders. The program exposes members to various aspects of the sorghum industry from basic and applied research to international marketing. Through both hands-on and classroom-style education, participants gain an understanding of how sorghum moves through the value chain, how checkoffs and interest organizations interact on behalf of the industry and what the future holds for the crop. The program also provides professional development training and networking opportunities.