Support for research into improved crops sometimes falls squarely on the shoulders of the farmers who raise those crops. For grain sorghum, the job gets done through the help of a checkoff program. This week, the National Grain Sorghum Producers are getting new help in that effort.
Arkansas and Louisiana state grain sorghum associations announced they are joining four other states in funneling grain sorghum checkoff dollars to the national organization.
The announcement comes during the National Grain Sorghum Growers annual convention in Little Rock, Arkansas. The two-day meeting includes awards for the organization's yield and management contest and presentations on promotion and marketing efforts for gain sorghum along with sessions concerning crop water use, ethanol production and sorghum's place as food for human health.
The checkoff move gives Arkansas and Louisiana checkoffs status as state affiliates of NGSP and puts the two organizations in the league with similar organizations from Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, says NGSP Director Tim Lust.
"We look forward to working with the checkoff boards of Arkansas and Louisiana, and we are eager to increase our involvement in the two states," Lust explains, noting one of NGSP's most important new-end-use research studies is at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock - and that both states can brag recent winners in NGSP's annual yield and management contest.
Grain sorghum is growing in importance in Arkansas as many cotton growers adopt it as a rotation crop for cotton in their fight against nematodes, says Arkansas producer Paul Hawkins, who has served on the NGSP board as an at-large seat for the past two years.
Lust notes the Arkansas and Louisiana moneys generated for NGSP will be used for promotional and educational purposes. "Due to laws in most states, it's our policy that support from checkoff organizations will not be used for legislative or regulatory efforts such as the farm bill or registration of new crop protection tools, so we'll continue to count on voluntary, dues-paid members from Arkansas and Louisiana for our work in that area."
In Arkansas, the corn and grain sorghum checkoff amounts to a penny per bushel of all corn and grain sorghum grown and sold within the state. In Louisiana, the checkoff is one-half cent per bushel, collected at the first point of sale.