Leaving a Legacy

Reflecting on the past seven years of the sorghum industry, a lot has changed – in a good way. For three of the last founding Sorghum Checkoff board directors, they’ve had a front-row seat in the evolution of the industry, playing an integral role in its successes.

As their years of commitment to Sorghum Checkoff board come to a close, Bill Greving of Prairie View, Kansas, Bill Kubecka of Palacios, Texas, and Greg Shelor of Minneola, Kansas, agree this was an experience of a lifetime, especially having the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of farmers across the nation.

“I guess when you do things not for yourself, but for others,” Greving said, “and people recognize that and compliment you for it, there isn’t any money that could make up for it.”

These retiring board members have overseen millions of dollars in research, experienced booms in the export, livestock and high value markets, and put producer dollars to good use. Shelor said it is gratifying to see the industry grow through the efforts of the checkoff.

“It was a vision we had early on when the industry was on a decline,” Shelor said. “Now it has turned around in a greater extent not only from producers but the industry as a whole, and it is satisfying to see that.”

The outgoing board members have been on the front line of many wins for the sorghum industry, but perhaps, Kubecka said the most important win is the commitment the board made to working for the good of the producer.

“I think everyone on the board has really embraced the idea of making sorghum producers more profitable while making sorghum a more viable commodity for all of us, including end-users,” Kubecka said. “I am anxious to see the hard work continue to benefit producers across the country.”

When the checkoff began, Shelor said the industry needed an additional voice to share sorghum’s viability as a crop. Expansion and improvements have changed the landscape, but he said there is still work to be done.

“The sorghum industry has improved a lot, but we still have a ways to go,” Shelor said.

In order to continue sorghum’s momentum, the outgoing board directors said it will be vital to reflect on past efforts, continue education and awareness efforts, and most importantly, work toward increasing producer profitability.

“Get on this board because you want to make a positive change in farmer’s fields and farmer’s pocket books,” Greving said.

Although it has been rewarding to see the many exciting moments for sorghum, Kubecka said it is the relationships with producers across the country, staff and others that will stay with him for a lifetime.

“The people I have met and became good friends with is the most rewarding experience from a personal standpoint,” Kubecka said.

Time dedicated to the sorghum industry is something Greving, Kubecka and Shelor said is an adventure they have truly valued and look forward to what the future has in store for sorghum.

“If you were to write me a check for a million dollars or let me relive our last meeting,” Greving said, “I would tell you to keep your million dollars. I wouldn’t need it, because I’d rather always remember that last meeting where my peers spoke highly of our leadership and accomplishments.”

Founding Sorghum Checkoff Board Director Bill Greving
Founding Sorghum Checkoff Board Director Bill Greving attended the board meeting in December.