It is that time of year where staff and volunteer directors return home from Commodity Classic and quickly head to Washington, D.C., before planting begins to roll north toward the upper regions of the Sorghum Belt.
As I reflect on Commodity Classic, I believe it was one of the best Classics I can remember. A highlight, for me, this year was embracing the families that make up our Sorghum Family. With Mickey Mouse’s house just down the road and the diverse young farmer leadership represented on the National Sorghum Producers and Sorghum Checkoff boards, it is no surprise we had a number of children in attendance. It was our honor to welcome them and make their sorghum experience as close to their Disney experience as possible. After all, there is a tremendous chance several will become future volunteer directors of NSP, and, in-line with the theme of Commodity Classic this year, we believe strongly in “Preparing for the Next Generation.”
As we prepared for Commodity Classic this year, we did it slightly “short handed” with our fair share of challenges along the way. Unfortunately, I believe facing labor shortages, in general, is the current normal in America right now, and we have had to adapt and overcome them. It is easy to see when you have a group of volunteers and staff that work as a team, we are able to get the job done with excellence–and Team Sorghum delivered. That same team spirit will be needed as agriculture producers and proponents face the next farm bill. As we analyze what programs have worked for sorghum and what will need to be adjusted to move forward with sound policy that protects sorghum farmers, we believe the future is all about risk management.
It is too early to know if dollars are available to write a bill this year or not, but what we do know is with input costs skyrocketing, we must find a way to protect additional risks. While increasing reference prices seems to be the obvious, simple solution, I think it will take a more creative approach this time around to navigate the budget rules that are in play. NSP continues to analyze a number of options to ensure the safety net for sorghum is improved and competitive with other commodities. Stay tuned as every member of the team will be needed to pass this farm bill across the finish line.
Tim Lust, CEO