Newest Oklahoman on National Sorghum Board Excited About the Future of the CropSat, 04 Mar 2017 20:09:17 CST
During the Commodity Classic in San Antonio this week, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn caught up with Kent Martin, a sorghum producer from Carmen, Oklahoma. Martin joined the National Sorghum Checkoff Board this past December as an at-large director, a position which Oklahoma growers earned through increased production recently. Although relatively new to his position on the board, Martin demonstrates great knowledge about the commodity and issues facing the sorghum community. In his discussion with Horn, he challenged producers to do their homework, learn about their industry and strive for innovation to become successful.
“As we challenge the farm profitability, it’s becoming very competitive and it’s becoming very difficult to make things work on the farm,” Martin said. “Things like this, Commodity Classic, your local extension, any of the websites with checkoff organizations for your commodities, those are all great sources of information for these crops.”
It seems, too, the sorghum industry as a whole has truly learned the value of information as a tool, with the new threat of pestilence from the Sugarcane aphid. Initially, farmers simply knew too little about the insect and had a difficult time fighting them. After investing nearly $1 million to research this bug, the Sorghum Checkoff was able to build and continues to build a defensive strategy to share with farmers to offset the threat they pose. Today, the industry is working to promote varieties that are tolerant of not only aphids, but heat and drought among other things.
“Sorghum has really hung its hat on the idea of a risk minimizing crop, what we’ve called a water-sipping crop. It’s one that has really gained a lot of popularity because of that,” Martin described adding that sorghum also makes sense when, for grain producers, the equation for profitability is simply bushels times price. “With grain sorghum, I can grow greater number of bushels than I can of any other crop on my farm.”
Martin says in an environment with a soft commodity market, farmers stand the chance to make more money, with more bushels, with lower risk, by planting sorghum. He says, too, that sorghum’s versatility also makes it the perfect fit on any Oklahoma operation invested in cattle as well.
“Oklahomans - when you introduce a new crop, the first thing they want to know is can you graze it?” Martin joked. “There is certainly a valued placed on that. It has saved me on input costs on livestock in terms of feed and hay. It certainly adds to the profitability of the farm in today’s commodity prices.”
During the upcoming Oklahoma No-Till Conference in Shawnee, Oklahoma, on March 7 and 8, Martin will speak on the subject of grazing sorghum stalks and the extended value and benefits that adds to the farm.
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