Martin Kerschen and the Sorghum Checkoff

(Jamie) We’re back with Kyle and Martin Kerschen, who explains how the Sorghum Checkoff works for producers.
(Kyle Bauer) Hi, this is Kyle Bauer. I have the opportunity to visit with Martin Kerschen. Martin is with the Sorghum Checkoff but he’s also a farmer. Let’s start Martin with telling about your farming operation. (Martin Kerschen) We’re from South Central Kansas. Our operation along with my son, and son-in-law, and my wife, we have 2,500 acres of dryland and it’s in a sorghum, soybean and wheat rotation. (Kyle) What county is that? (Martin) That’s in Sedgwick County. (Kyle) You work with the Sorghum Checkoff, there’s other organizations in sorghum; tell us about the difference between the Checkoff and some of the other organizations that people serve on. (Martin) Well, the Sorghum Checkoff, we take producers’ dollars and invest them in research, in renewables, and in exports to try to bring more value to our product. We’re doing a better job of working together with the state organizations also, because we all need to get these prices and get these piles of grain used up. We do research, we have three different committees, crop improvement, and we’re still working on that. But I think we all know with the rain we’ve had, crop improvements have been pretty decent this past year and the last year. (Kyle) Transportation is a huge issue when it comes to sorghum, and you’re working on that constantly? (Martin) Yes. We’re here today, I think, trying to work on relationships with other industries. The railroad industry is a big plus for us, because to try to get the sorghum out of Kansas is much more difficult than if you were down by the port. One of the ways we’re trying to do that is by using containers, we get — specifically sorghum is, we get calls — I get calls from companies in Chicago wanting containers. We only have one container loading facility in Kansas right now down at Edgerton, Gardner/Edgerton. I think, hopefully, after today with some action plans we’ll get one or two more of those, and that will help the sorghum, and it will help all the crops in Kansas. We don’t want to just be specific to sorghum because we know “High tide raises all ships” like Kerry Wefald always says. We’re just looking to grow our industry and get profitability for our producer. That’s what the Sorghum Checkoff is; we invest dollars to get producer profitability. (Kyle) When it comes to sorghum, Kansas is a major player not the major player but one of the biggest players in the nation. (Martin) Well, Kansas is the largest producer of sorghum. Texas ranks second. It’s a valuable crop for us. In western Kansas it’s going to get more valuable with their water issues, and if those guys are going to have to use it in rotation. In south central Kansas and our dryland operations with the pigweeds and everything else, that’s why we rotate now. Sorghum fits in good with those rotation, doesn’t build up resistant that way to chemicals. I think there’s a great future for sorghum as long as we can get the price up little bit for our producers. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Martin Kerschen; he is with the Sorghum Checkoff. This is Kyle Bauer reporting. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Thanks Kyle! Stay tuned for the Kansas Farm Bureau Update coming up next.

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