Sorghum Checkoff Invests $3.65 million to Further Producer Profitability


The United Sorghum Checkoff Program board of directors invested $3.65 million to fund proposals targeted at furthering sorghum growers’ productivity and demand. The commitment, which was approved during the Dec. 10. board meeting, concludes the request for proposal that started June 2014.

The Sorghum Checkoff board, external committee members and staff dedicated the past several months to reviewing proposals in a two-part process in the crop improvement, high value and renewable priority areas. A total of 116 pre-proposals were received and 44 full proposals were requested, totaling $6.9 million.

“The board has invested a significant amount of time since their strategy meeting held in January when the board initially established industry needs,” said Sorghum Checkoff Executive Director Florentino Lopez. “Since the beginning, their goal has been to provide funding for projects that will result in producer profitability.”

The board of directors made a final decision on 20 projects through the RFP process to address key priorities for the sorghum industry. The approved RFP projects include:

  • David Stelly of Texas A&M University was funded $240,488 to identify methods of eliminating gene flow from sorghum to johnson grass.
  • Muthukumar Bagavathiannan of Texas A&M University was funded $213,419 for the development of new sources of herbicide resistance in grain sorghum.
  • Bryan Ayre of University of North Texas was funded $225,000 for the development of methods to enhance breeding opportunities.
  • Bob Fanning of South Dakota State University was funded $10,000 for establishing a Nebraska and South Dakota production guide.
  • Mithila Jugulam of Kansas State University was funded $30,000 for herbicide development.
  • Paul Ulanch of North Carolina Biotech was funded $98,314 for grain sorghum variety evaluation.
  • Nancy Turner of Texas A&M University was funded $130,000 for pet food development.
  • Lonny Sweet of Tthe Connect Group was funded $200,000 for branding and public awareness within the food industry.
  • Jim Zenner of JPZ Consulting was funded $41,500 for institutional food promotion.
  • Earl Roemer of NuLife Market was funded $120,000 for food development.
  • Jason Bootsma of Prairie Aqua Tech was funded $120,000 for livestock nutrition.
  • Jim Zenner of JPZ Consulting was funded $80,200 for food industry promotion.
  • Rhonda Miller of Texas A&M University was funded $69,000 for food development.
  • Sajid Alavi of Kansas State University was funded $130,000 for pet food development.
  • Morawicki of University of Arkansas was funded $90,000 for animal nutrition.
  • Nancy Turner of Texas A&M University was funded $185,000 for coproduct enhancement.
  • Mark Riley of University of Arkansas was funded $74,953 for coproduct enhancement.
  • Battelle was funded $80,000 for coproduct enhancement.
  • Daria Aragon of Louisiana State University was funded $30,000 for biofuels enhancement.
  • Michael Aide of University of Missouri was funded $8,000 for biofuels enhancement.

Funding of these proposals is contingent on approval from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.

“The Sorghum Checkoff was founded with the intent of leveraging grower dollars,” said Sorghum Checkoff Chairman Dale Murden. “Checkoff dollars give farmers the ability to actively remain engaged in research that will benefit producers and the sorghum industry in the future, and we are excited about the opportunity presented by these projects.”