When people ask me what I do for a living, I often say I work for a non-profit, grassroots organization made up of farmers. While that can produce some blank stares, I always think to myself, “if they only knew.” If they only knew how passionate the farmers are who make up this industry, and if they only knew how blessed I feel to work for you, see you in action and support and cheer on your tenacity to achieve and advocate for this way of life we all love.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in Kansas blending two of my passions—photography and visiting farmers. I told our CEO a long time ago I was not going to sit behind a computer screen all day every day, and he never expected me to, which is one of the many reasons why I believe National Sorghum Producers is a truly grassroots organization. Our leadership believes in listening to our growers and seeking their best interests, and that means jumping in the combine with you, sitting down at your kitchen table, and I’ve even attended a few Bible studies, kids’ sports events and other activities.
Without a doubt, we would not have been able to achieve as an industry the level of financial support through trade assistance, farm programs and other mechanisms without grower leaders who were willing to step away from the farm, travel to Washington, D.C., and advocate on behalf of your fellow sorghum farmer.
This magazine centers on Grassroots Leadership, and as we began planning editorial content, we felt there would be no better way to highlight grassroots leadership than to have the stories told by our grassroots themselves. In this issue, you will hear a lot of stories about each individual’s path to leadership and different programs and initiatives they are involved in that are leading change in sorghum, in their communities and on their own farms at home.
Going forward, we will continue to rely on those who know best—the folks who make up the Sorghum Belt, as we call it, and have their hands in the dirt advocating for a cause greater than their own. We appreciate those of you who answer the call to leadership and those who support us through membership, time and other resources, as well. We are truly honored to work on your behalf.
Jennifer Blackburn, Sorghum Grower Editor