Sorghum Checkoff Quarterly Activity Report April - ... Biological control of the millet stem borer and

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  • Sorghum Checkoff Quarterly Activity Report April - June 2014 April Pet Food Industry Outreach Doug Bice attended the annual Pet Food Forum March 31-April 2 in Chicago, Ill. During the forum, Bice attended sessions related to nutrition and sustainability, which provided ideas on how to promote sorghum as a sustainable product without having to do extensive GHG/carbon footprint modeling. Bice directly followed up with 10 different pet food ingredient formulators and provided appropriate nutrient profile and applicable general health information. Tyson Foods requested samples be sent for their project team to analyze. Glycemic Index Testing/Nutrient Database Update JPZ began efforts with U.S. Department of Agriculture on streamlining the USDA Nutrient Database profile for both sorghum grain and flour. The Sorghum Checkoff is working with Nu-Life Markets to send samples to Sydney University for glycemic index analyses on two different sorghum products. The analysis is conducted under controlled conditions on human subjects to identify the impact of the subject food source on insulin spikes after consumption. This is a critical piece of objective test data that will have dramatic impact for human and pet food companies and entities to consider as part of their product formulations. South Dakota Sorghum U The Sorghum Checkoff and High Plains Journal, along with key sponsors Chromatin, Crustbuster and POET, held a fifth Sorghum U event April 3, 2014, in Mitchell, S.D. Cooperative weather and an informational session encouraged strong attendance. It was a good day of open discussion, conversation and training. John Duff and Jesse McCurry shared sorghum messages, and Sorghum Checkoff board member David Freemark and Leadership Sorghum alum Adam Schindler gave clear testimony during the farmer panel. New Sorghum Checkoff Communications Director Faith Jurek joined the Sorghum Checkoff April 1, 2014, as the organization’s new communications director. She replaced Jenna Hightower in the position. Faith will play an instrumental role in the implementation of the Sorghum Checkoff’s strategic communication outreach activities and programs as well as the continuation of the Sorghum: The Smart Choice branding program. You can reach her at FY 2015 USCP Request for Pre-Proposals The Sorghum Checkoff announced in April that is was seeking pre-proposals for targeted research and education in strategic program areas including crop improvement, high value markets and renewables. The goal of the RFP was to “Further enhance the opportunities for sorghum producers through specific projects and/or education that will increase productivity, demand and/or value.” Pre-proposals were due 5:00 p.m. (CST) May 1, 2014. Download the official FY 2105 USCP RFP request Sorghum Executive Meetings in Washington, DC

  • Executive sorghum staff traveled to Washington, DC April 7-11, 2014, for multiple meetings. AMS is the Sorghum Checkoff’s USDA partner and provides program oversight. While in DC, Sorghum Checkoff staff members were able to meet with USDA/AMS staff, including Administrator Alonzo. This meeting was encouraging as it was the basis of beginning and strengthening our relationship within AMS. Much discussion centered on assuring diversity within the program and continuing to assure the board is a representation of the industry. Staff began working on a diversity plan, which will help address these issues in the future. Additionally, staff met with several attorneys to discuss future representation. Tom O’Brien, was the Sorghum Checkoff’s council during this time and announced he would be leaving soon. As such, the Sorghum Checkoff moved forward with a selection process to maintain future representation. Executive staff also met with representatives from NASS, ARS and ERS, and attended the Commodity Roundtable, a group designed to bring research and promotion organizations together by providing commodity groups the opportunity to share current activities, approaches and concerns. This meeting was a great opportunity to discuss structure and methods of effectiveness with other organizations. Discussions with other organizations made it clear that we must remain engaged and active in our relationship with USDA. Food Industry Outreach Doug Bice attended the American Association of Cereal Chemists Institute Technical Conference April 9- 11, 2014 in Tampa, Fla. Of primary interest was a presentation given by ADM Milling on the health benefits of sorghum, its practical application in the milling process, as well as solutions to overcome the few issues with processing sorghum. A presentation regarding recent changes to the USDA School Lunch Program, whereby increased whole grains consumption is a recommended, sparked potential interest for future Sorghum Checkoff positioning. International Market Opportunities Doug Bice met with primary sorghum purchasers in Columbia and Peru April 13-17, 2014. Meetings took place with individuals from Solla, Contegral, Italcol and San Fernando to present sorghum production intentions for the upcoming year and included discussions focused on logistical concerns expressed by producers. Solla seeks additional information on pet nutrition profiles and ingredient listings for current sorghum pet food producers (Iams). Solla also requested updated production feeding guides. Italcol indicated they would be seeking U.S. sorghum on a go-forward basis due to the fact they will no longer receive long-standing tax rate reductions from importing Argentinean sorghum per the Columbian government. Price, as always, was the driving factor in considering “how much” and “where from” Italcol would import their sorghum. Dr. Gail Wilson Guest Lectures at Center for Sorghum Improvement The Center for Sorghum Improvement featured Gail Wilson, Ph.D., researcher at the Oklahoma State University Land Research Station and her work analyzing ecological systems and U.S. developed sorghum hybrids. Her previous research explored the symbiotic relationship between ecological systems and sustainability. In cooperation with the Samuel Robert Noble foundation, she is currently researching the relationships between modern cultivar and their ability to uptake symbiotic nutrients. Kansas agribusiness relationships developed by Field Staff Kansas field staff visited with several agribusiness partners over the past several weeks. April 12, 2014, Sarah Sexton-Bowser attended the Bartlett Coop Customer Appreciation Day and networked with producers in Southeast Kansas. Earlier in the week, she visited with Crop Production Services in Colby,

  • Kan., which highlighted opportunities to refocus sorghum as a highly managed crop. Jesse McCurry attended the Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo and visited with several seed companies. April 14-15, Jesse and Sarah attended the Kansas Grain and Feed Association Annual meeting, networking with more than 100 elevator general managers. Kansas Water Visioning Meeting Nearly 200 water stakeholders visited Manhattan, Kan., for a water visioning meeting April 11, 2014. To meet the Kansas Governor’s challenge to establish a water plan, which will be presented at the 2014 Governor’s Water Conference, hundreds of water meetings have occurred since last October. The water visioning meeting the previous Friday brought together key water boards, including the Kansas Water Authority, Kansas State Board of Agriculture, Basin Advisory Committee Chairs, Ogallala Aquifer Advisory Committee, Reservoir Advisory Committee, State Conservation Commission Board and Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors. During the daylong meeting, attendees considered water challenges in four key areas: water management, water conservation, water supply and technology and crop varieties. Topping the technology and crop varieties area was the need for sorghum research and market development. The full report can be reviewed at Texas Grain and Feed Annual Meeting Shelee Padgett attended the Texas Grain and Feed Association annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas April 9-11, 2014. The meeting was a gathering of country elevator and feed manufacturer personnel to address hot industry topics. The Sorghum Checkoff and Texas Sorghum hosted a booth at the event. While attending, Shelee had multiple conversations with elevator managers and spoke with the American Feed Association regarding sorghum in pet food. Kansas Ethanol’s Board of Directors Meeting Tim Lust, Sarah Sexton-Bowser, Jesse McCurry and John Duff participated in Kansas Ethanol's board of directors meeting. Lust provided an update on behalf of NSP, while Bowser, McCurry and Duff represented the Sorghum Checkoff. The ethanol industry is currently in a strong financial position, and the sorghum team reported great discussion surrounding sorghum. Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab Announces 2014 Funded Projects The Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab announced 10 funded projects for 2014. These projects will take place in Ethiopia and West Africa. The following are the project titles and principle investigators: Ethiopia

     Combining high digestible protein trait with waxy/heterowaxy endosperm traits to develop superior functionality in sorghum for food applications to promote sorghum value chain in Ethiopia – Joseph Awika, Texas A&M University

     Genetic enhancement of sorghum and millet to promote commercial seed supply and grain market development – Gebisa Ejeta, Purdue University

     Genetic improvement of sorghum and