September 28, 2016
Sarah Sexton-Bowser, the new director of the Center for Sorghum Excellence at Kansas State University, brings a long history of experience in the grain industry to her new role.
She served as regional director with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program and as vice president of membership services and external affairs for the Kansas Grain and Feed Association, Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association and Kansas Association of Ethanol Processors.
She earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics with a specialty in political science at Kansas State University and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Kansas.
RESEARCH FOCUS: The research program at Kansas Stat University Manhattan is focused on yield, weed resistance, and cold tolerance.
"Sarah is an extremely driven, results-oriented leader. She and her husband are actively engaged in farmer which further strengthens her committee to maximize these investments to help sorghum growers," said Tim Lust, CEO of the United Sorghum Checkoff program.
Sexton-Bowser said her goal for the center is the development of a focus on domestic priorities for the industry, delivering the results that farmers want.
By 2025, she said, the Center wants to see yields increased to 100 bushels per acre from today's 61.95 bushels. She said another goal is the increase in demand for sorghum to 1.25 million bushes by 2025 with the expansion of international markets, food use within the United States, livestock feeding, ethanol production and specialty products.
"Sorghum typically sells for less than corn," Sexton-Bowser said. "By increasing sorghum yield while at the same time expanding demand for sorghum, we can meet the goal of decreasing the trading discount of sorghum to corn from 4.6% today to 2% by 2025."
She says she will work with her board of directors to seek more friends, find the right opportunities to build the right teams and make the focus of research on the domestic industry more fine-tuned.
"The sorghum industry is prime for a focused, collaborative vision and vision execution to drive the domestic sorghum industry," she says. "Farmers need enhanced cropping options to meet today's demands to continually push for farm efficiency and productivity. The center is uniquely positioned to foster collaboration targeting towards enhancing productivity, value and demand for the domestic sorghum farmer."
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