Sorghum Checkoff announces $500,000 investment

By Sorghum Checkoff | June 08, 2016

The Sorghum Checkoff recently announced a $500,000 investment in sorghum research, made at the inaugural Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture (TERRA) program field day at the University of Arizona's Maricopa Agricultural Center in Maricopa, Arizona.

This investment follows the U.S. Department of Energy's commitment of $30 million in 2015 for sorghum to be researched as a model feedstock through the TERRA program. Six projects were funded under the program and will bring new technology to sorghum breeders.

"This half a million dollar investment represents the commitment of U.S. sorghum farmers to this initiative," said Tim Lust, Sorghum Checkoff CEO. "Though this funding stands independently from DOE, it will build on three of the TERRA projects."

The TERRA program will integrate biology, engineering and computer science into technological innovations that will facilitate advancements in agricultural productivity, crop yields, environmental stewardship and energy security.

These technologies were showcased at the field day, including the “Field Scanalyzer” located at the Maricopa Agriculture Center, which is currently the largest field crop analytics platform in the world. It incorporates state-of-the-art remote sensing technologies that measure and analyze crop growth and development with unprecedented resolution, speed and accuracy.

"The goal of this program is to integrate high throughput phenotyping by developing cutting-edge remote sensing platforms, which will transform crop breeding and advance biofuel production," said John Duff, Sorghum Checkoff renewables director. "Improved biofuel crops could lead to increased production of domestic fuels, reducing dependence of foreign sources of transportation fuels."

The Sorghum Checkoff board of directors is committed to funding projects that will support increases in field-level productivity as well as market-level demand and value enhancements, which continue to be seen as a valuable means of increasing opportunities for farmer profitability. The funding of these projects is contingent upon approval from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.