Water. Yield. Energy. Sustainability.
These buzzwords that drive our daily conversation and this issue of Sorghum Grower are, in many cases, the same themes that have defined the sorghum industry since I arrived at the National Sorghum Producers 25 years ago.
As we open a new year and a new decade, it is important to look forward as well as reflect on where we have been. In this issue, we are focusing on energy and sustainability. But looking back, these have always been significant issues.
I believe water is the single most important factor in the agriculture industry today. Themes of water are woven through our conversations about sustainability, environmental impact, bioenergy and agronomics. And so, it serves as an umbrella for all our other conversations in this issue.
Sorghum remains a star when it comes to water use (Page 26 focus on forages), and with the work of NSP, this fact continues to press forward into the national consciousness.
Sorghum also shines as a renewable energy crop. The ethanol industry has come of age over the past decade, and sorghum demand has benefitted from renewable energy policies both domestically and abroad. We have worked diligently to position sorghum with hopes that trading partners will favor sorghum for ethanol exports as well as for traditional uses. Countries around the world are adding sustainability criteria to their energy policy, and sorghum is ripe to compete in both new and established markets.
Domestically, California energy policy has moved the ethanol marketplace from a commodity business to a market pull business that incentivizes conservation and carbon savings practices. See page 10 for more on that. Sorghum is ideally positioned to be the crop of choice for sustainable energy production over the coming decade.
Glancing at the industry from the direction of Washington, D.C., we are expecting another significant research investment on sorghum sustainability from the Department of Energy in 2020 (Page 12).
Meanwhile back on the farm, we are encouraged by the release of a number of new hybrids from various companies that will boast higher yields and critical new and improved traits (Page 8). The pipeline is paying off.
At NSP, we are the voice of the sorghum industry. For six decades now, we have been proud to represent you to the world. The words we use may be different, but we remain driven by producer profitability and look forward with great expectations to another decade as your trusted partners.
Tim Lust, Chief Executive Officer