It is early June and we are making final preparations for wheat harvest on my farm in northwest Sedgwick County. Growing conditions have deteriorated since the early-May wheat tour due to heat and dryness. These conditions will easily cut my yield prospects by at least half.
Soon we will begin planting our full-season grain sorghum and begin plans for double-cropping. As of now, our plan is to double-crop grain sorghum behind wheat, unless meaningful moisture can arrive in the next few weeks.
Aside from unforeseen weather conditions, there has been several recent, concrete WINS scored for grain sorghum. The 178 percent tariff imposed by the Chinese government on grain sorghum has been lifted, thanks to behind-the-scenes action by Senator Pat Roberts, Senator Jerry Moran, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the White House and countless others.
At the time of the 178 percent tariff announcement, one of the ships loaded with grain sorghum initially headed for China was turned around for Spain; but was redirected back to China when the tariff was lifted. To make ship destination changes at sea takes a ton of money, and is powerful evidence of incredible demand for grain sorghum in China. This demand is real and will hopefully be reflected in market basis in Kansas soon.
Also, the Kansas Legislature recently delivered $150,000 in funding for grain sorghum research to be directed to the Center for Sorghum Improvement, located at Kansas State University. As a lifetime sorghum producer, I recognize the importance of grain sorghum to Kansas agriculture and am grateful for this action pushed by our state grain sorghum association and vigorously supported by the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the House legislative “Sorghum Caucus”, led by chair Ken Rahjes of Agra.
Kansas is consistently the No. 1 grain sorghum producing state in the nation. We recognize grain sorghum for its drought tolerance, establishing a prominent seat at the table as a sustainable feed grain that helps extend the life of the Ogallala Aquifer.
Lastly, I was able to attend the recent “roundtable” events in Manhattan with Ag Secretary Perdue, Senators Roberts and Moran, and Governor Jeff Colyer. I witnessed a genuine support for grain sorghum and all of Kansas agriculture from these leaders and their staffs. The constructive policy decisions moving forward are heavily influenced by these folks who favor production agriculture in Kansas.