John Duff, Chief Economist for the National Sorghum Producers

(Jamie) We’re back with Kyle and John as they discuss sorghum’s growing numbers and uses.
(Kyle Bauer) Hi, this is Kyle Bauer. I have the opportunity to visit with John Duff. He’s with National Sorghum Producers and he is the Strategic Business Director. John, what does Strategic Business Director mean? (John Duff) I’m the Chief Economist for National Sorghum Producers. I get up in the morning and first priority, if there’s anything going on, it is farm bill. Priorities after that are renewable fuel standard, California low carbon fuel standard, regulatory policy particularly as it relates to biofuels. I also have a role on the Sorghum Checkoff doing overall ethanol promotion and marketing. (Kyle) It sounds like you spend the lion’s share of your time dealing with ethanol issues. Ethanol has been a huge part of the progress for sorghum. (John) Absolutely, ethanol has been absolutely key in sorghum’s history and bringing back and facilitating a sorghum resurgence over the past five to 10 years. About a third of the crop typically goes in the first generation ethanol, and I can get a little more specific on those numbers. But that’s about a third of the crop over all that goes into first generation ethanol alongside corn and it’s absolutely key for grinding through those excess stocks and making the piles go away. (Kyle) Well, and truly there’s going to be a lot of piles. There is a huge supply this year. A few years ago we saw huge export demand. All of those different things are very political in nature. (John) They are, absolutely. There’s no doubt that there’s a big policy impact, particularly in the Chinese market. But one thing to remember is that China’s a billion and a half people that continues to grow. Many of those people are coming into the middle class, and they want a more American-style diet, and that means more meat and that means more protein demand. Regardless of the protein source whether that’s soybean meal or whether that’s distillers grain or whether that’s sorghum, they need the protein and then that’s going to be very important to them regardless of policy. (Kyle) When you talk about policy and politics, though, it involves everything from research dollars to transportation to trade tariffs all over the world. (John) Absolutely, it does. It’s a very complicated puzzle to get just that. It is all conspired to be very good for sorghum over the last few years, and we’re optimistic that that continues over the next few to create that demand for markets that the sorghum industry has always needed to live up to its full potential. (Kyle) Like you said, that’s a great way to put it, “Conspired for its success,” but it just seems that sorghum is very politically correct these days. (John) It is, no doubt. The sustainability aspects of sorghum are very important from what it does for the soil to what it does for water use, giving irrigation wells a break. I think that the environmental aspects of the crop are very positive for it, and no doubt helped in China and other markets as well. (Kyle) We’re visiting with John Duff. John is with the National Sorghum Producers. This is Kyle Bauer reporting, back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Thanks Kyle! Folks, come back after the break to see why Poky Feeders stands out today as a Kansas Feedyard known for quality.

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