United Sorghum Checkoff Program celebrates 15 years of innovation
Sorghum industry leaders are marking a milestone in the industry as July 1 marked the 15th anniversary of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, the leading producer-funded organization championing the sorghum industry in the United States. Since its founding, the Sorghum Checkoff has dedicated its efforts to advancing sorghum profitability through innovative research, promotion and education.
"We’ve made significant strides in the past 15 years, and we’re deeply committed to continuing to advance the crop for U.S. sorghum producers and end-users across the world," Sorghum Checkoff CEO Tim Lust said. “Our 13-member board of sorghum producers located across the U.S. has invested over $46 million into research aimed at optimizing sorghum as a robust, profitable crop for several value-added end-use markets. These strategic projects and collaborations in research, education and market development have been pivotal to the sorghum industry’s success and are anticipated to stimulate further growth.”
Over the past decade-and-a-half, the Sorghum Checkoff has made significant strides, including funneling resources into cutting-edge research to advance production techniques. Key agronomic milestones include the introduction of the first-ever over-the-top weed and grass control in sorghum, the development of sugarcane aphid-tolerant hybrids and the potential to fast-track breeding methods due to the discovery of doubled haploid in sorghum.
The Sorghum Checkoff has also played a key role in expanding international markets, specifically in countries like China, and it has significantly boosted public awareness about the nutritional and environmental benefits, establishing sorghum as a versatile crop.
A recent return on investment study revealed the significant positive impact of expenditures towards promoting sorghum exports on the total export of sorghum. Between 2008 and 2021, an approximate investment of $44.5 million yielded an impressive return of $376.7 million, reflecting a robust return on investment ratio of 7-to-1. This study also highlighted the Sorghum Checkoff’s investments in crop improvement activities, resulting in a noteworthy increase in sorghum production from 133.3 million to 166.8 million bushels during the same period.
"Sorghum is a crucial crop for the U.S., and it holds immense potential for growth and expansion," Sorghum Checkoff Executive Director Norma Ritz Johnson said. "Our work in the last 15 years has laid a strong foundation and promising future for the sorghum industry, and we are eager to continue that success as we amplify our mission to support and promote The Resource Conserving Crop.”
With a clear focus on the future, the Sorghum Checkoff continues to place strong emphasis on expanding the demand for sorghum within premium markets. This objective will be pursued through the establishment of robust strategic partnerships, the implementation of compelling marketing campaigns and the provision of targeted technical assistance programs. These efforts aim to not only increase demand but to also have a tangible impact on acreage yields and allow for significant growth and progress in the sorghum industry.
Grounded in breakthrough nutritional research, the Sorghum Checkoff plans to promote the potential of sorghum as a healthy, versatile food source for consumers. Simultaneously, the growing pet food market presents a prime opportunity for introducing more sorghum-based products.
On the production side, the Sorghum Checkoff is dedicated to fostering innovative practices and technologies aimed at increasing sorghum yields. This commitment to enhancing productivity will play a crucial role in meeting the rising demand for sorghum. Moreover, the Sorghum Checkoff is actively promoting the utilization of sorghum in various industries, including aquaculture and dairy. By exploring and embracing new applications, the Sorghum Checkoff aims to unlock additional market opportunities and drive further growth within the sorghum industry.
For further insights into the accomplishments of the Sorghum Checkoff over the past 15 years, as well as its efforts to enhance the sorghum industry, please visit SorghumCheckoff.com/celebrating-15-years-of-innovation/.