National Sorghum Producers Issues Working Through Issues
About Our Impact

Working Through Legislative, Regulatory, and Education Issues

National Sorghum Producers (NSP) is the national commodity organization for sorghum and represents U.S. sorghum farmers nationwide. The member-focused organization is the voice of the sorghum industry and works through legislative and regulatory issues and education relevant to the industry.

NSP works hard for members as an organization that does more with less than other organizations the same size. NSP is well-positioned to help grow the sorghum industry and maintains a level-headed, data-driven approach to change.

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Where We're Going

NSP Goals

NSP’s over-arching goal is to have federal policy that promotes and protects the interests of sorghum farmers.

We do this by working to promote open trade policy around the world, ensure important crop protection tools like Transform and atrazine are available to growers and encourage investment in research through appropriations to further the following:

Farm Bill
Secure Consistent, Tangible Legislative Wins in the Farm Bill and Beyond
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Secure Consistent, Tangible Legislative Wins in the Farm Bill and Beyond

NSP represents sorghum farmers and the sorghum industry in Washington, D.C.

NSP works to protect important elements of the farm safety net like:

  • Crop insurance
  • Ensure meaningful treatment for sorghum when initiatives like the farm bill Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program are implemented
  • Preserve funding for international marketing programs
    • Market Access Program (MAP)
    • Foreign Market Development (FMD) program

Additionally, NSP emphasizes the importance of securing appropriations for supporting research to improve sorghum agronomics and the profitability of growers.

Federal Regulations
Protect Farmers’ Interests in Federal Regulations
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Protect Farmers’ Interests in Federal Regulations

While crop improvement remains the Sorghum Checkoff’s top priority, NSP works to help get vital tools and technology off the regulatory agenda and into farmer’s fields.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has moved to a more precautionary approach over the last 10 years on pesticides, which set a dangerous precedent with significant implications for farmers across the United States. As a result, the current regulatory environment threatens to slow down the approval process of new technologies and significantly increase the cost of new chemistries to farmers.

To combat reliance on agenda-driven science, NSP emphasizes science-based approaches to registrations, including considering the benefits of crop protection tools and the impact that losing these technologies would have on our farms to regulators at the EPA, U.S. Department of Agriculture and beyond. NSP educates EPA administrators and staff whenever possible on in-field applications of crop protection products.

Department of Energy
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Department of Energy

NSP staff and board continue to be active with the Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture (TERRA) program to support cutting edge research and were central to the effort to reauthorize the DOE agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, responsible for TERRA.
The reauthorization is for five years and the focus remains on technologies that incorporate state-of-the-art remote sensing that measure and analyze sorghum’s growth and development with unprecedented resolution, speed and accuracy. This technology will provide the sorghum industry with crop enhancements and information for years to come.

Adequate and growing soil carbon is important to both farm productivity and overall carbon intensity. Improving farm productivity adds to profitability, while lowering carbon intensity creates opportunities in sustainability-focused marketplaces like the California ethanol market. Projects in the ARPA-E Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration (ROOTS) program aim to harness advanced breeding technologies to increase soil carbon by 50 percent while reducing N2O emissions (298 times more potent than CO2 in terms of environmental impact) by 50 percent and water usage by 25 percent. Of the $35 million dedicated to the ROOTS program, over $6 million is focused on sorghum. NSP was instrumental in shaping the direction of the program and demonstrating the need to quantify soil carbon gains from grain production.

Since 2015, ARPA-E sorghum research received almost $100 million for sorghum research at 13 institutions due to NSP’s involvement and discussions with DOE.

Renewable Fuel Standard
Environmental Protection Agency
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Environmental Protection Agency

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) remains the cornerstone of sorghum demand. NSP constantly works to protect it.

After a lengthy EPA approval process, a pathway to produce biodiesel from sorghum oil extracted at ethanol plants was approved in 2018. The effort required significant political and technical efforts, and NSP engaged stakeholders from multiple states and enlisted the help of key legislators and other government officials to move the process to completion.

The pathway will add value to current ethanol plants producing oil from sorghum, but most important to overall sorghum demand will mean certain plants not currently using sorghum will again be able to buy.

GHG Emissions
California Air Resources Board
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California Air Resources Board

NSP scored a major victory in the ongoing discussion related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with sorghum ethanol. After continuous engagement of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Argonne National Laboratory over the past several years, the updated Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), set to take effect January 1, 2019, will feature fertilizer application assumptions closely mirroring reality.

GHG emissions are important with regard to the LCFS because fewer emissions mean more value for fuels in the marketplace. The coming change will translate to much fewer assumed GHG emissions for sorghum ethanol and thus more value as well as higher demand for sorghum from ethanol plants. This could mean up to 41 cents per bushel more for the plants to use sorghum.

Environmental Efficiency
Promote Sensible Conservation Approaches Reflecting Sorghum’s Environmental Efficiency
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Promote Sensible Conservation Approaches Reflecting Sorghum’s Environmental Efficiency

Sorghum remains a critical crop for growers as an extremely drought tolerant, water-sipping crop that does a lot with only a small amount of water. NSP works with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to provide direct feedback on how sorghum fits in a legislative landscape increasingly focused on conservation, including on programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program.

Additionally, NSP, in conjunction with the Sorghum Checkoff, is partnering with organizations like Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever to promote sorghum as an environmentally efficient choice for producers.

The Smart Choice
Promote Sorghum as the Premier Energy Crop
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Promote Sorghum as the Premier Energy Crop

Naturally drought-tolerant, sorghum gives ethanol producers in water-stressed areas a smart choice to help farmers preserve regional resources. A diverse crop, sorghum can be used for many different types of ethanol production. A starch source, sugar source and cellulose source all in a single species, sorghum can be used to produce ethanol using a multitude of platforms.

Sorghum and corn are interchangeable in starch-based ethanol production. A bushel of grain sorghum produces as much ethanol as a bushel of corn while using up to one-third less water in the plant growth process. Sorghum DDGS, a co-product of starch-based ethanol production, tend to be lower in fat and higher in protein than corn DDGS.

NSP works to protect its ethanol producer members and advocates for policies like the Renewable Fuels Standard that enable the ethanol industry to break the effective fuel market monopoly held by petroleum-based fuels, promoting cleaner energy and greater U.S. energy independence.

Trade Policies
Advocate for Trade Policies That Increase Market Access and Promote Use of Sorghum in International Markets
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Advocate for Trade Policies That Increase Market Access and Promote Use of Sorghum in International Markets

NSP supports trade policies that keep markets open, level the playing field for U.S. sorghum producers and allows the industry to take advantage of non-traditional and opportunistic markets. NSP also encourages the Executive Branch to actively enforce trade measures and agreements.

In short, NSP wants U.S. sorghum to meet the world’s demand and have the market access to do so.


NSP Coalitions

  • Americans for Farmers and Families
  • Crop Insurance Coalition
  • Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports
  • Triazene Network
  • Rail Customer Coalition
  • Ag Energy Coalition
  • Tax Aggie Coalition
  • Ag Data Transparency Coalition
  • Take Action Against Herbicide Resistance
  • Chlorpyrifos Alliance
  • Commodities Research and Opportunities Partnership (CROP)
  • Ag Transportation Working Group