Recently, I was providing a guest lecture to students at Texas Tech University on advocacy. At the end of class, a student raised their hand and asked a final question regarding my most memorable sorghum career experience. I racked my brain for a profound moment that demonstrated my work as an advocate and my communications education tie to the department. There are plenty, but in that moment, I could only think about two particular memories, and they were purely relationship-based. I became emotional as I told the two stories. They were about the people—not the job.
I think that surprised the young woman who asked, but I am grateful I was able to leave that final thought with those students that day. I believe it with every inch of my being and consider myself extremely fortunate to be surrounded by people I truly enjoy working with each day. Working for the sorghum industry has always been about the people, and that is seen from leadership at the top, down.
That is what this issue is about—the faces of our industry and the people that make up our sorghum family. We always say agriculture is a small world. Dial that down into a specific industry segment like sorghum, and we all become very close. From farm wives across the country to advocates in Washington, and young, emerging leaders on our state and national boards, the sorghum industry is well-connected and well-represented. I cannot help but feel energy as I look around the room at our industry events seeing the people that are coming to the table to lead change in this industry.
National Sorghum Producers is a grassroots organization, and that day in February when China came knocking on our door announcing an investigation into our product and our producers, we went to work. By fortuitous timing, almost two dozen NSP sorghum farmers and staff were in Washington, D.C., that week and collectively held nearly 100 meetings with the White House, Congressmen, Senators, cabinet officials and their respective staffs, raising awareness surrounding the issue and underscoring the need for support as we moved forward. Those meetings have not stopped, and I can assure you, those you have entrusted your farm and your business with to serve as your voice have not slowed down one bit since that day. We may not know what the final outcome will be, but know you have a lot of people on your side and a staff that is extremely invested in you and working hard to defend you.
Jennifer Blackburn, Sorghum Grower Editor