As a life-long sorghum farmer who has seen up close to the drama of 2018 as it relates to sorghum value and export disruption, I want to thank United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. officials who have worked together to stand with U.S. farmers and provide much needed relief.
Sorghum farmers have a payment rate of 86 cents paid on 50 percent of production this fall. In visiting with Kansas Farm Service Agency Director David Schemm, I understand there is no need to rush into the office on Sept. 4. Finish harvest and touch base with your local office, but no need to rush in until you have this crop in the bin.
We believe in trade and need more of it. I am enjoying my role as President of Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association in part because of interaction I see with trade teams and their visits to Kansas. A Kansas delegation recently went to Peru. Our staff will be in China this month. Our boards at all levels are strategizing about direction and the need for more market development work.
Basis must get better. More buyers and improved market transparency can encourage others to grow sorghum.
The crop looks extraordinary in many places in “The Sorghum State.”
I want to thank our elected officials for their work on not only sorghum but agriculture issues, generally. It is an uncertain time for sure – but the strong message by our administration to the international trade community will hopefully facilitate a speedy resolution to our current trade disputes. There was a time when I was unsure about the usefulness of our grain commodity organizations.
I was wrong.
Today, so much of our profitability is tied to policy, every bit as much as the bushels we put into the bin. By policy, I am referring to multiple items, such as the Farm Bill, crop insurance, ethanol, sorghum oil pathway, world trade issues, harmful EPA regulations, etc.
I have seen the National Sorghum Producers staff go to the mat time after time for sorghum farmers to protect our interests and fight for our profitability on all of these issues. This is made possible by membership dues from sorghum farmers. It also happened because of cultivating and maintaining strong working relationships with elected officials and policy makers. NSP staff and leadership give top priority to be engaged and to be present in the room whenever policy decisions are being formulated that will impact sorghum producers.
How many of us are able to stop a tractor or a combine to be present in Topeka or DC when an issue arises? The 86 cents per bushel mentioned above did not "just happen" all by itself.
If you are not a member of National Sorghum Producers and Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association, please join. We can do more together and have extraordinary opportunities as a crop.
I want to be a resource for you. Our grassroots can and will get better, and we are committed to a better future for the sorghum farmer.