Sorghum Industry Establishes Coordinated Research and Marketing Program


Beginning April 1, 2016, the Sorghum Checkoff, Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission and Kansas State University (KSU) will enter into a cooperative agreement to increase grain sorghum productivity and expand markets by 2025.

Coordinated efforts for the Collaborative Sorghum Investment Program will operate through the Center for Sorghum Improvement at KSU. However, results will impact sorghum producers throughout the country.

“After more than a year of planning and orchestrating, the Collaborative Sorghum Investment Program is now a reality,” said Florentino Lopez, Sorghum Checkoff executive director. “This program will serve as a platform aimed at reaching the Sorghum Checkoff’s mission of investing checkoff dollars to increase producer profitability and enhance the sorghum industry. This program helps by aligning many resources to meet the needs of sorghum farmers throughout the U.S.”

The program will aim to increase the average national yield from 61.95 bushels per acre to 100 bushels per acre by 2025 by funding research in beneficial areas such as over-the-top grass control and yield improvements involving breeding program developments and field-level management techniques. Long-term research areas such as seed innovation and information management will also be addressed, including the development of new and novel genetic traits and the development of research and genomics databases.

The program will work to develop marketplaces, attributes, qualities and other factors capable of increasing demand to 1.25 billion bushels of sorghum by 2025. This will include the expansion of international markets, domestic food use, livestock feeding, ethanol production, specialty products and more. In addition, tools, information and other factors will be developed in an effort to decrease the trading discount of sorghum to corn from 4.6 percent to 2 percent by 2025.

“This agreement will provide a valuable investment in long-term sorghum research,” said Stephen Bigge, Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission chairman. “Sorghum producers will benefit from the advancement of sorghum technology for many years to come.”

Support for this program will total $4.8 million, consisting of a $2 million investment from the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission and $2 million from the Sorghum Checkoff, both made in annual payments of $200,000 for 10 years, as well as an $800,000 investment from KSU.

The resources will be used to hire a managing director of the program in Manhattan, Kansas, provide capital for center activities and research funding, and build the Center for Sorghum Improvement Excellence Fund for long-term support of sorghum initiatives. Overseen by an advisory committee, the managing director will actively seek additional funding for projects that serve the objectives of this program and to extend the life of the program beyond 2025.

“We look forward to implementing this agreement to the benefit of the entire sorghum industry,” said John Floros, KSU Dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. “We are pleased to leverage our resources with this new program.”

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The United Sorghum Checkoff Program is a producer-funded organization that is dedicated to improving the sorghum industry through research, promotion and education. For more information about the USCP and other research projects please visit www.sorghumcheckoff.com.

The Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission is a producer-funded organization with the mission to enhance the profitability of the Kansas grain sorghum producer with research, education and promotion. For more information visit ksgrainsorghum.org.

K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.