There is no doubt the past year has been a wild ride for sorghum. From huge roadblocks in the export of our crop to highly variable and extreme weather, anyone connected with sorghum will remember 2018 for a very long time. However, it does ring true that through adversity, we find new strengths.
Throughout the trials and tribulations of the past year, it has made me exceedingly proud of “Sorghum People.” Whether it is staff working long hours to remedy Chinese trade issues or producers facing crippling drought, “Sorghum People” are relentlessly dedicated with a never-say-die attitude. Being a leader within any organization is much more meaningful when you can surround yourself with these types of individuals.
Moving forward, I have high expectations that Team Sorghum can solidify some positive wins for the industry during the next year. It was troubling to see the farm bill will have to wait until after November elections, yet I have confidence the Big Four can push a bill across the finish line during a Lame Duck session. NSP has engaged and been very active throughout the farm bill cycle, and a new bill should have some upside for sorghum.
Trade negotiations will no doubt be paramount for all farmers over the next 12 months. It has been exciting to see the Administration successfully negotiate a new trilateral agreement with Mexico and Canada (USMCA), and, hopefully, we can gain momentum in further trade negotiations. Farmers are acutely aware of the “no pain, no gain” scenario of negotiations, yet we all hope to get the ball rolling faster. Despite these challenges with exports slowing to our principal trading partners, we have opened new markets in the Middle East and Europe that show promise for more exports.
Protecting the technological toolbox of our farmers is a never-ending battle for NSP. The next year will be no different as on-going legal battles of herbicides and insecticides will continue for some time. While a lot of these matters are way over my head, it is very important that we as commodity organizations stay engaged in the fight. Our membership depends on a wide array of crop protection options, and NSP will remain steadfast in fighting for our producers.
Sorghum has had a roller coaster of a year, but I remain excited to see what the future holds. I truly look forward to serving as NSP chairman and the positive changes that we can make within the industry. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” -Galatians 6:9
Dan Atkisson, Chairman