Sorghum Checkoff Board Invests $6.198 Million in Industry

The United Sorghum Checkoff Program board of directors invested $6.198 million, the largest investment made by the board since its establishment, to fund proposals targeted at furthering sorghum growers’ productivity and demand. The commitment, which was approved during the Dec. 9 board meeting, concludes the request for proposals that began July 2015.

The Sorghum Checkoff board, external committee members and staff dedicated the past several months to reviewing proposals in a two-part process within crop improvement, high value markets and renewables. A total of 114 pre-proposals were received and 37 full proposals were requested.

“This culminates the board’s efforts in requesting, reviewing and establishing funding for projects intended to assist the sorghum industry and more importantly, the sorghum farmer,” said Sorghum Checkoff Executive Director Florentino Lopez.

Lopez said the board continues to emphasize its commitment to funding projects that will support increases in field-level productivity as well as market-level demand and value enhancements, which continue to be seen as a valuable means of increasing opportunities for farmer profitability.

The board of directors made a final decision on 30 projects through the RFP process to address key priorities for the sorghum industry. The following includes approved projects, principal investigators and funding allotment:

  • Todd Gaines of Colorado State University was funded $150,000 to develop new over-the-top grass herbicide resistance traits in sorghum using mutagenesis.
  • Anita Dille of Kansas State University was funded $160,000 to evaluate ecology of grass weeds in grain sorghum including critical period weed control.
  • Mithila Jugulam of Kansas State University was funded $30,000 to evaluate sorghum germplasm for herbicide tolerance.
  • The Connect Group, Cassandre Pallas and The Door were funded $175,000 to reinforce the momentum created within the food and chef communities to help solidify sorghum messaging, increase marketplace knowledge and consumption to open distribution channels and food sales.
  • Patricia Alemdar from Nature2Kitchen was funded $100,000 for promotion of food grade sorghum within farmers’ markets, festivals and shows.
  • Allison Talley with Enginuity Worldwide was funded $100,000 to analyze energy and cost effective pretreatment methods using a rotary compression dryer to increase starch digestibility, grain efficiency, porosity and total lipid uptake of feed grains.
  • Kun-Jun Han of Louisiana State University was funded $68,000 to explore the opportunity of maximizing sorghum grain prebiotics production.
  • Sajid Alavi of Kansas State University was funded $150,000 to examine sustainability, oxidative stress mitigation and sensory characteristics of sorghum-based canine diets designed for the international market.
  • Kenny Xie of International Chemistry Testing LLC was funded $20,000 to develop sorghum as a functional ingredient and nutraceutical for health promotion and disease prevention.
  • Fang Zhou of BioResource International was funded $79,403 to increase the use of grain sorghum in the Mid-Atlantic by reducing anti-nutritional compounds with novel enzyme applications in feed for pigs.
  • Donghai Wang of Kansas State University was funded $180,000 to evaluate the potential of pedigreed sorghum mutants for biofuel production.
  • Kansas State University was funded $2 million to be leveraged with the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission and KSU to implement the Kansas Improvement Program.
  • The U.S. Grains Council was funded $127,000 for grain sorghum promotion within Mexico.
  • The U.S. Grains Council was funded $135,000 for grain sorghum promotion within Europe as a consumer food product and as a commodity.
  • The U.S. Grains Council was funded $93,000 to conduct a duck feeding trial in China.
  • The U.S. Grains Council was funded $35,000 to develop a Japanese promotional booklet.
  • The U.S. Grains Council was funded $88,000 to conduct a catfish feeding trial in Vietnam.
  • The U.S. Grains Council was funded $80,000 to create a sorghum quality report.
  • $300,000 for continued sugarcane aphid management and a support system*
  • $100,000 for best management practices for ALS technology*
  • $120,000 for fungicide yield enhancements, effects on yield and ROI*
  • $50,000 for regional development of herbicide guidelines*
  • $25,000 for multiple projects designed to evaluate and inform producers*
  • $1,150,000 for the continuation of the conversion program*
  • $75,000 for an evaluation of lipids, oils and waxes*
  • $75,000 to determine the ability of sorghum DDGS in replacement of soybean meal*
  • $50,000 for ethanol production with and without oil extraction*
  • $350,000 for leveraged investments with DOE*
  • $120,000 for the continuation of the Prairie Aqua Tech project*
  • $13,000 for qualitative consumer research*

*Principal investigators and project specifics to be determined


Funding of these proposals is contingent upon approval from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.

“The Sorghum Checkoff board and staff do a great job allocating sorghum producers’ checkoff dollars,” said Sorghum Checkoff Chairman David Fremark. “Checkoff dollars give farmers the ability to actively remain engaged in research, promotion and education that will benefit producers and the sorghum industry in the future. We are excited about the opportunity presented by these efforts.”