Posted on Feb 18, 2019
Dustin Borden, Texas A&M University graduate and former sorghum researcher, has spent the last year transitioning into full-time farm operations in Gruver, Texas.
Following his career in the research side of the industry, Borden began farming with his in-laws in the northern Texas Panhandle. The family farm is primarily geared toward providing their 10,000 head feed yard with a flow of commodities and pasture. The feed yard was started approximately 60 years ago by Borden's wife’s grandfather. Her father now continues the business, and Borden is helping keep it in the family.
“I always liked the outdoors and wanted to be in an industry that allowed me to be outside,” said Borden. “I had an affection for agriculture, got involved in agronomy, really had a passion for it and just continued to pursue it.”
This passion led him to participating in sorghum research as an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University under Bill Rooney, Ph.D. This experience helped cultivate his interest in agronomy, particularly in sorghum. Borden worked full time under Rooney while pursuing his master’s degree in agronomy. After completing his second degree, Borden was given an opportunity at NexSteppe as senior manager of U.S. breeding, overseeing all personnel and breeding decisions for the U.S. sorghum breeding program.
About a year ago, while at NexSteppe, the opportunity arose to farm with his in-laws in Gruver, Texas. With his wife and two young sons in mind, Borden decided to make the transition. At a different scale and pace than research-based breeding, the past year has been a learning experience for Borden and his family.
“It’s been good, it’s been fun, and I look forward to continuing to do it,” Borden said. “We’re just taking it one year at a time right now, but I think this is where we’re going to be.”
Looking back on his life experiences so far, Borden reflected on what he’s learned.
“Everything is a learning process and sometimes you don’t know why you got to learn that, but you take what you got from it and apply it to the next thing, whether it was good or bad,” he said.
Borden plans on actively staying involved with the sorghum industry moving forward. This was his motivation behind applying for Class IV of Leadership Sorghum.
“So far it’s been a really good program to refresh me, to see what else is out there and to see what other people were doing,” said Borden. “You make a lot of connections, do a lot of networking and meet a lot of great people who have different views sometimes. Getting to see those things and how they could benefit you is important. It is definitely an eye-opening program.”
Overall, Borden looks forward to improving his farm efficiency, expanding into other areas of production and increasing his knowledge of all the sorghum industry has to offer.
Equipment color: Green or anything that doesn’t need to be worked on all the time.
Go-to tractor tunes: Audio books.
Favorite season on the farm: Harvest – It is rewarding to see the fruits of your labor as well as moving cattle and being more involved in that part of the operation.
Favorite part of farming: Being able to have his family with him. His boys love it and seeing their interest motivates him.
Hobbies: Hunting, fishing and spending time with his boys who are about to start sports.
Dustin is a member of Leadership Sorghum Class IV, 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.