USCP taking the bull by the horns, chair says
By Larry Dreiling
The new United Sorghum Checkoff Program is up and running. Its chairman said it's taking the "bull by the horns" to advance marketing, research and promotion of sorghum.
Bill Greving spoke during the National Sorghum Producer's bi-annual joint conference with the Sorghum Improvement Conference of North America, held during the recent Commodity Classic at Grapevine, Texas.
While he admitted the USCP has had "a few hiccups" getting started, Greving said the organization, which saw the board formally seated Nov.1, has great potential to assist producers.
"This is all about developing new technologies," said Greving, a Prairie View, Kan., producer. "It's about developing new markets and it's about information and education."
Greving discussed the checkoff's funding method set to 0.6 percent of the farm gate value of a producer's crop for grain and 0.35 percent for forage as a reasonable method to raise funds.
"The reason we did this is to adjust the assessment whenever prices are lower," Greving said. "It makes it hard for the program, to budget, but it's more fair to the producer."
With the national checkoff's system that passes funds back to state organizations, Greving noted that all but two states have stopped their individual checkoff programs.
Among the more specific issues Greving said the checkoff program hopes to fund are development of higher yielding varieties, ways to control shattercane, and finding new uses for the crop.
"Sorghum has great potential. Grain sorghum is finding new places in American diets. Forage and sweet sorghums have potential for biofuels," Greving said. "We look forward to working with everyone in the industry to make good things happen."
Larry Dreiling can be reached by phone at 785-628-1117 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.