Sorghum Grows Beyond at 2018 Commodity Classic

National Sorghum Producers recently participated in America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show – Commodity Classic. During our time in Anaheim, California, NSP participated in a variety of ways including hosting our spring board of directors meeting, the 2017 NSP Yield Contest Awards Dinner and Program, the Sorghum PAC Fundraiser and more.

Written by: Delanie Crist

Anaheim, California, hosted more than 8,000 agricultural producers, leaders and advocates during the 2018 Commodity Classic. America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show was held over a three-day period, Feb. 27-March 1, 2018. The annual convention is presented by the National Sorghum Producers, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

Team Sorghum had a full schedule, including a spring board of directors meeting, the 2017 NSP Yield Contest Awards Dinner and Program and the Sorghum PAC Fundraiser. Sorghum board directors and staff were continually engaged throughout the week, working the trade show booths and attending a variety of meetings and learning sessions.

Classic General Session

During the Classic General Session on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue delivered a keynote address, which covered topics like trade, the Renewable Fuel Standard, farm bill action and his commitment to helping U.S. farmers.

Following Secretary Perdue’s remarks, NSP Chairman Don Bloss and leadership from other Classic affiliate organizations took the stage to talk about current issues pertaining to each industry. Bloss took the opportunity to address NSP’s action on behalf of growers relating to the ongoing China investigations as well as progress made on the completion of a sorghum oil pathway.

“We continue to communicate with our producers on a regular basis about this case. We understand the importance to your farms and your business,” Bloss said. “It’s not all positive because it is difficult, but we are committed to letting you know exactly what’s going on.”

Lastly, the General Session included remarks from U.S. Army Ranger Staff Sergeant Keni Thomas. Thomas and his fellow rangers were part of the elite mission that was later shared in the successful novel and movie “Black Hawk Down.” Drawing from his experiences on the battlefield, Thomas encouraged the audience to achieve greatness by emphasizing the value of outstanding leadership.

NSP Yield Contest Dinner and Presentation

This year’s NSP Yield Contest Awards Dinner, sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, highlighted 2017 NSP Yield Contest national and state winners. The evening began with the introduction of national winners in each of the 10 categories (see winners on page 18). Following the introductions, NSP recognized the state winners of each category. The night was full of entertainment by emcee Mark Mayfield, plus information sponsored by the Sorghum Checkoff highlighting sorghum’s progress and milestones accomplished in the past years. NSP celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, and Tim Lust also gave a state-of-the-industry address concerning progress made related to the China investigations.

Sorghum PAC Casino Night

The annual Sorghum PAC Casino Night Fundraiser kicked off at the conclusion of the NSP Yield Contest Dinner. Throughout the night, there were a variety of raffles, auctions and casino games for guests to enjoy. In 2010, the board of directors established the bipartisan political action committee, the Sorghum PAC, to further promote the legislative interests of sorghum producers. During this year’s fundraiser, more than $70,000 were generated to support NSP political endeavors.

Trade Show

Approximately 8,000 farmers and agribusinessmen, including a record number of first-time attendee producers (1,533) filled the trade show floor this year. Producers from across the nation and several international countries made appearances in educational sessions and booths throughout the Anaheim Convention Center.

The NSP and Sorghum Checkoff booths were full of fun and food this year. Guests were able to sample popped sorghum and play for prizes in our five-hole sorghum board game, highlighting prizes available to growers who reach the 250-bushel threshold in the NSP Yield Contest. Exhibitors visiting the sorghum booths were able to converse with fellow growers, staff and board members.

Time to Shine in Orlando

Commodity Classic will return to Orlando, Florida, for the 24th annual convention. Join NSP on the east coast Feb. 28-March 2, 2019. Take part in the great events and programs related to Classic, along with the annual NSP Yield Contest Dinner and Sorghum PAC Fundraiser. For more information, visit