(Jamie) Welcome to Farm Factor! First Kyle Bauer and Sarah Sexton-Bowser visit about her new role at K-State as the Managing Director of the Center for Sorghum.
(Kyle Bauer) Hi, this is Kyle Bauer. I have the opportunity to visit with Sarah Sexton-Bowser. She is in a new position; been in the sorghum industry for a while, but taking a new position. Sarah tell us about where you’ve come from and where you are right now. (Sarah Sexton-Bowser) Certainly, thank you Kyle. As I know many of the sorghum farmers out there through my recent work with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program and National Sorghum Producers as a Regional Director. As a part of that work, I now have had the opportunity to take a new role in the sorghum industry at Kansas State University within the Center for Sorghum Improvement, Collaborative Sorghum Investment Program. What that is, it’s really an exciting and forward moving investment that was taken upon by the farmers. The United Sorghum Checkoff Program Board, the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission Board, and Kansas State University came together and said, “We know sorghum is a crop that is prime for domestic enhancement and how do we make that happen?” They created a platform through the Collaborative Investment Program for that to happen. They’ve invested $2 million from the Checkoff, $2 million from the commission, and $800,000 from Kansas State University, along with a recent announcement of $200,000 with the Kansas Department of Agriculture for a $5 million fund to take us to 2025 goals for the domestic sorghum industry. Goals specific to demand enhancement, growing a market for 1.25 billion bushels of sorghum annually, yield enhancement, increasing our yield to 100 bushels per acre average, national average as well as value enhancement. We know that sorghum farmers’ seeds need to have value at the farm gate. Reducing our current discount of 4.6% relative to corn to 2%. Those are the goals that we are selfishly chasing after through this farmer initiative and farmer leadership investment. I’m excited and honored to have the opportunity to join in as Managing Director in my new role. (Kyle) Well truly it’s multi-faceted and your position has got to be multi-faceted as well. The areas that you talk about, it’s really for the most part it comes down to you being the kingpin if you will or the center for communications and coordination. Is that fair? (Sarah) Certainly. How do we create a wheelhouse to bring others to the table? By all means, this is a farmer investment platform, but it’s not meant to be the beginning and end of what this center is. How do we create an opportunity for private, as well as public, resources to come to the table, identify common needs to enhance the domestic industry, and then go forward with this collaborative center and really put some initiatives in place to enhance and leapfrog the sorghum industry on the domestic level? (Kyle) Tell me where the center is located or where your office at least is located. Have you found it? (Sarah) I have found my office. It’s in Throckmorton. Third floor, Throckmorton, here in Manhattan, Kansas, with Kansas State. As many of you know, Kansas State has a plethora of sorghum researchers and talent. Really using some of that talent at Kansas State, the great human resource capitol in sorghum investment that Kansas State has strategically invested in, but not just doing work with Kansas State, doing work with the entire sorghum industry from other public resources, universities, ARS, as well as private companies. Being centered there in the research community and the Agronomy Department but also having an opportunity to lend over as important components of this program our focus on demand and value, working with value and utilization opportunities as well. (Kyle) Sarah Sexton-Bowser. This is Kyle Bauer reporting. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Thanks Kyle! Folks come back after these messages for this week’s Kansas Soybean Update.