For Immediate Release
December 19, 2022

LUBBOCK, TX (December 19, 2022) – At the annual board of directors meeting in December, the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) swore in a new director—Zack Rendel of Miami, Oklahoma, who was appointed by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The board also elected officers, selecting Adam Schindler of Reliance, South Dakota, as its new chairman.

“There are exciting opportunities on the horizon for the sorghum industry, including globally expanding markets and innovative end uses in consumer and industrial products,” newly elected USCP chairman Adam Schindler said. “The 2022 crop year has been one of the toughest in history due to the drought; however, as The Resource Conserving Crop™, sorghum is a robust and resilient crop that will bounce back. We have so many opportunities on the horizon that have the potential to revolutionize the industry where the things that we are developing now will be discussed 10-20 years from now.”

In addition to Rendel, Jeffry Zortman of Fowler, Kansas; Kendall Hodgson of Little, River, Kansas; and Joshua Birdwell of Malone, Texas, were reappointed to serve a second three-year term starting in December 2022. Additional officers elected include Hodgson as Vice Chairman, Ethan Miller of Columbia, Missouri, as Secretary, and Zortman as Treasurer.

Zack Rendel is a sixth-generation, row-crop producer from Miami, Oklahoma, where he farms 6,500 acres of sorghum, corn, wheat and soybeans alongside his father and uncle on their family land that was homesteaded in 1893 in Indian Territory before Oklahoma became a state in 1907. Before returning to the family farm, Rendel obtained his degree in welding from Northeast Tech Center and started his career as a pipeline welder. Rendel is a member of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, the American Farmers and Ranchers Cooperative, National Sorghum Producers and National Corn Growers Association. Rendel is also a graduate of Leadership Sorghum Class III. He has served on the Ottawa County Fair Board for six years, Vice President of the Ottawa County Farmers Union Local 67 for three years and a member of NEO A&M College’s Crop Research Committee since its inception. Zack, his wife Kristi, their two children and nephew reside on the family farm in northeast Oklahoma. 

“We are beaming with excitement for this group of producers to lead the industry over the course of the next year,” USCP Executive Director, Norma Ritz Johnson said. “It’s been a tough year all around due to the widespread drought but there is no doubt there are tremendous opportunities that are on the cusp of transforming the sorghum industry for the better.”

The 13-member USCP board is composed of nine sorghum farmers who represent the three states with the largest sorghum production – Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas – and four at-large national representatives. More information about the board is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) United Sorghum Checkoff Program webpage and the board’s website,


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