As we bid farewell to the 2023 growing season, I find myself humbled and immensely grateful for the opportunity to serve a final year as your chairman. The journey of leading this tough, strong and resilient membership has been an honor, and I deeply appreciate your trust in me. Just as sorghum growers epitomize resilience, doing more with less, I’ve witnessed the same spirit within our industry.
Looking back at 2023, several accomplishments fill me with pride. One standout achievement is National Sorghum Producers’ victory in securing a USDA climate-smart commodities grant. This win opens a significant door to demonstrate how sorghum, when integrated into crop rotations, plays a vital role in diversifying risk. The journey of shaping the farm bill has been both intense and fruitful. Although we’ve recently experienced some delays, I firmly believe these deliberations will lead us to the best possible legislation.
I want to express my sincere gratitude to the dedicated board members of both NSP and the Sorghum Checkoff. The commitment you’ve shown to the sorghum industry is nothing short of remarkable. The sacrifices you’ve made, both on your farms and within your families, have not gone unnoticed. Your dedication will undoubtedly yield dividends for our industry.
I must also acknowledge the incredible staff at Team Sorghum. Our team is unparalleled, comprised of exceptionally talented individuals who tirelessly advocate for sorghum growers. I’d like to shine a spotlight on two staff members who’ve achieved significant milestones in their careers. Shelee Padgett, with 15 years of dedicated service, has been an essential figure in directing the Leadership Sorghum program. Her guidance, teachings and hard work have been invaluable, and her influence on Class III, of which I got my start with sorghum, earned her the affectionate nickname “Mom.” She is an invaluable asset to Team Sorghum.
Additionally, I’d like to commend Tim Lust, who, over the past 30 years, has dedicated himself tirelessly to the betterment of sorghum growers. As a remarkable leader, his vision and guidance have profoundly impacted everyone within sorghum country.
Looking ahead to 2024, my hopes are simple yet crucial. Adequate rain, optimal growing conditions and bountiful yields are at the forefront of our desires. I eagerly anticipate collaborating with Congress to ensure the passage of the farm bill and subsequently working with USDA on its implementation.
In conclusion, I’m firm in my belief that the Lord will provide us with exactly what we need, precisely when we need it. Our journey has been marked by bountiful sufficiency, and I’ll continue to offer my prayers for all those involved in the sorghum industry.