First Class Graduates from Leadership Sorghum Program

LUBBOCK, Texas – The first class of Leadership Sorghum completed their fifth and final session of the program Dec. 9-10 during the Sorghum Checkoff board of directors meeting in Lubbock, Texas.

The 15 sorghum growers who made up the first class of Leadership Sorghum, a program sponsored by the Sorghum Checkoff to develop the next generation of leaders for the sorghum industry, represent eight states and a wide range of farming regions.

The 16-month, five-session program exposes participants to various aspects of the U.S. sorghum industry from basic research to international marketing. The final session was held during a Sorghum Checkoff board meeting to give class members the opportunity to learn about board operations. A graduation ceremony was also held signifying the class’ completion of the program.

“From what I have observed through Leadership Sorghum, one can be assured that our checkoff investment is being used wisely and prudently,” said Martin Kerschen of Garden Plain, Kan. “The program has allowed us to see how sorghum can and will grow in the future.”

The Leadership Sorghum program also provides participants with valuable networking opportunities and professional development.

“This program has really shown me the value of producer leadership in commodity organizations, as well as the broad diversity and opportunities that exist within the sorghum industry,” said Class I member Luke Sayes, a sorghum grower from Larto, La. “This has been a phenomenal experience, and I would recommend this program to any grower interested in getting involved in the sorghum industry.”

Sorghum Checkoff Chairman, Stewart Weaver of Edmondson, Ark., says he feels confident the graduates of the first Leadership Sorghum class will make a lasting impact on the sorghum industry.

“The Sorghum Checkoff board of directors is excited to see the enthusiasm and interest exhibited by this first Leadership Sorghum class,” Weaver said. “This program is a great way to develop future leaders, whether they serve on state or national level boards or act as advocates out in the countryside.”

The Sorghum Checkoff will open the application process for Leadership Sorghum Class II in February 2014. For more information about the program and a schedule of Class II activities, visit


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