For more information, contact:
Clint White
Director of Communications
United Sorghum Checkoff Program

For Immediate Release
February 20, 2024

LUBBOCK, TX  (February 20, 2024) – The United Sorghum Checkoff Program is now accepting applications for Leadership Sorghum Class VII, a program designed to cultivate the next generation of sorghum leaders.

The Sorghum Leadership Program is a 14-month journey designed for industry professionals and farmers eager to make a lasting impact on this dynamic industry. Through a blend of hands-on experiences, classroom learning and valuable networking opportunities, gaining a deep understanding of every aspect of sorghum, from seed to market and beyond.

“The design of the program is centered around farmers who are passionate and are looking for opportunities to grow in this industry,” Sorghum Checkoff Executive Director Norma Ritz Johnson said. “This investment in the program is not just an investment into individual class members, but the U.S. sorghum industry as a whole. Those who choose to participate will walk away armed with the skills, knowledge and understanding to be the next generation that takes the sorghum industry to new heights.”

USDA-approved criteria state eligible applicants must be actively engaged in sorghum production within the U.S. and U.S. citizens. Fifteen growers will be accepted into the program’s seventh class. More information on the class schedule and program criteria can be found at Leadership Sorghum.

“Watching each class member grow, learn and experience new things has been so fulfilling,” Director of Emerging Markets & Grower Leader Development Shelee Padgett said. “We are equipping each Leadership Sorghum class with the tools to advocate for sorghum, take new-found knowledge back to their communities and further the industry by becoming involved in leadership positions across the industry.”

Full consideration will be given to all applicants regardless of age, gender, race or occupation. Every effort will be made to select a class, based on the applicant pool, which is representative of the entire sorghum industry, its diversity and rural community interests.

Applications for the program are available at Leadership Sorghum Class VII Application and are due by 5:00 pm CST on September 13, 2024. The accompanying reference forms must be submitted by the 5:00 pm CST September 13  deadline, as well. Following the application deadline, all applications and references will be reviewed by a selection committee. Finalists may be contacted via phone to arrange an interview. 


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