MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Agriculture hosted three trade missions earlier this summer, sharing the benefits of grain sorghum with delegates from China. Kansas ranks first nationally in grain sorghum production, with nearly 200 million bushels totaling over $755 million in production in 2014. In total, the crop contributes $1.29 billion to the Kansas economy annually, directly employing or supporting 8,998 jobs in the state.
“China entered the U.S. market in 2012 and became the largest importer in just one year. Hosting the Chinese delegates in Kansas was an honor. Our farmers should be proud of the quality sorghum that is grown in the state,” stated Suzanne Ryan, International Trade Director at KDA.
Each of the missions focused on the interests of the three visiting groups, including a trade team interested in distiller’s grain and sorghum, a team of swine producers and a merchandiser team with interest in sorghum. Visiting teams learned about the benefits of sorghum and trade opportunities by participating in workshops, visiting Kansas farms and touring inspection and processing facilities.
Kansas farmer and Sorghum Checkoff Board member, Adam Baldwin from McPherson, Kansas, hosted the merchandiser team. “The export market has obviously improved sorghum grower profitability. Growers, naturally, may have concerns about the sustainability of these markets. Seeing these trade teams come and visit Kansas and express their satisfaction with our product gives me confidence in our export market for the foreseeable future.”
The trade missions were hosted by KDA, the Sorghum Checkoff and the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission. The swine producer team and merchandiser trade team missions were sponsored through partnership with the U.S. Grains Council.
The KDA serves farmers and agribusinesses, enhancing economic growth of the agriculture industry by expanding markets for Kansas agricultural products through trade and export opportunities. Dickinson County farmer Gregg Sexton also had the opportunity to host one of the trade groups and reflected that, “sorghum is one of the mainstays on our farm,” Sexton said. “It is exciting to see an increasing appetite on the world market for the products Kansas farmers take pride in growing.”
For more information on Kansas international trade, please contact Suzanne Ryan, Suzanne.Ryan@kda.ks.gov or 785-564-6704.