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Chairman’s Desk Lowering Your Risk

verything in farming is about risk and profi tability. What crops you plant, how you market, when you fertilize, when you spray – it is all about risks and try- ing to lower those risks by the actions you take. I’ve al- ways thought sustainability could be defi ned as long- term profi t. That is why the Sorghum Checkoff is our long-term risk management tool.


When the National Sorghum Producers board of di- rectors fi rst decided to move forward with a checkoff , I supported it because I knew a checkoff would help lower my risk as a sorghum farmer.

What risk am I talking about? Just think about the role sorghum plays on your farm to help lower your risk.

Do you use sorghum as a rotational crop to help break a weed cycle in your wheat acres? Is sorghum a rotational crop that breaks disease cycles on cott on acres and in- creases yields the next year? Is it a lower risk crop for you due to less inputs and fewer out-of-pocket expenses? Is it a way to take advantage of abundant summer moisture as a double crop behind wheat? Is it your top cash crop?

For many farmers, the answer is YES to each of these questions depending on their lo- cation. Location is very important to sorghum since its growing conditions and mar- keting are so closely tied to location. The key to the national checkoff , though, is that all sorghum producers participate at the same level – regardless of the location.

What if you could plant your sorghum earlier? What if you could spray post-emergent herbicide to control grass in sorghum? What if you had a bett er market for your sor- ghum? All of these questions are being addressed by the national checkoff right now. The answers are not fully known today, but money is being invested and progress is being made to solve these problems. And, answers to these problems will help lower your risk in the future.

As an organization, NSP has taken risks to completely change the way it is funded and what it does to help bring the national checkoff into existence, but we knew it was a long-term investment that we were making. The national checkoff can continue to im- prove sorghum and lower risk for producers. If we do not invest into sorghum our- selves as farmers, then no one else will.

It is up to us as producers to decide the fate of the Sorghum Checkoff . Lowering my risk as a farmer is important to my operation. I know I will vote YES on the Sorghum Checkoff . The future of our industry depends on it.

Gerald Simonsen, NSP Chairman SORGHUM Grower Winter 2011 5


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