Posted on Feb 03, 2016
By: Kayla M. Wilkins, Communications Intern
From the Texas Gulf Coast to the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Leadership Sorghum is seeking to develop the next generation of leaders for the sorghum industry.
After a year of learning about sorghum across the country, Leadership Sorghum Class II came to a close at the Sorghum Checkoff Board Meeting in Lubbock, Texas, December 8-9. It is now time to begin recruiting for Leadership Sorghum Class III.
Jessie Wyrill of Kirwin, Kansas, and graduate of Leadership Sorghum Class II, said Leadership Sorghum is an invaluable experience to any sorghum producer and their operation.
“If you grow sorghum you should know every part of the business,” Wyrill said, “This program will show you from the breeding all the way to getting it to another country. It is a very exciting process to learn everything.”
Through a series of hands-on and classroom-style education, participants will 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. In addition, the program provides professional development training and networking opportunities.
Members of Leadership Sorghum Class III will be given the opportunity to get an up-close look at the sorghum industry including seed production and basic and applied research in the Texas High Plains, public research and domestic markets in Kansas, the government’s role in sorghum, checkoffs and stakeholder groups in Washington D.C. as well as port operations, international marketing and next generation biofuels in the Texas Gulf.
Past members have walked away with a new-found appreciation and knowledge that has proven valuable in a multitude of ways, and Kent Martin of Carmen, Oklahoma, and Leadership Sorghum Class II gradate, said programs like this are key to building new leadership.
“I think that as farmers we need to be more engaged in our production, informing the public and in leadership,” Martin said, “I think that this type of a program is essential to building more understanding, more leadership and as farmers doing a better job of promoting our business to the public.”
Whether it is media training or being in a legislative setting, Craig Poore of Alton, Kansas, and Leadership Sorghum Class II graduate, said this program helps farmers with future involvement.
“This class prepares you to step up and do something in your community and at the state and national levels,” Poore said.
Any farmer actively engaged in sorghum production is encouraged to apply. Applications are being accepted until April 30, 2016. The interview process will begin in May and new class members will be announced June 30, 2016. For more information regarding Leadership Sorghum, visit LeadSorghum.com.
“My experience in the leadership program has been great, life changing almost,” said Lee Whitaker, sorghum grower from Claude, Texas, and Leadership Sorghum Class II graduate. “The new friends, the new contacts, this whole program has been eye opening, and I would really recommend it to others.”