Global collaboration to focus on sorghum and millet as crops of the future
The Kansas State University College of Agriculture is excited to announce the Global Collaboration for Sorghum and Millet, which formalizes the university’s long-term global focus on improving the resiliency and sustainability of sorghum and millet in the face of climate change.
The announcement was made today by Dr. Ernie Minton, the Eldon Gideon Dean of the College of Agriculture, at the Global Sorghum Conference in Montpellier, France, where Kansas State is a lead sponsor.
“We have found that with these crops, we need to collaborate and share information, research and resources whenever possible to support these orphan grains,” Minton said. “It is a crop that takes a lot of coordination and collaboration between individual scientists because there isn’t the same level of investment as there is in other crops.”
Located in Kansas in the center of the United States, Kansas State is uniquely positioned to support this global collaboration.
“With this investment in collaboration and sharing, we feel we can move the crop forward and work on problems that are global – such as diseases and other kinds of challenges – that may be in Kansas next year,” Minton said.
Kansas State’s focus on sorghum is two-fold. First, Kansas is the No. 1 sorghum producer in the United States. As a land-grant university and home to the Center for Sorghum Improvement, K-State supports farmers, agriculture and related industry through research, extension and teaching capacity across the sorghum value chain. Kansas is a recognized leader in sorghum science, production, seed systems, irrigation science, food product development and value chain assessment.
Second, with the Global Collaboration on Sorghum and Millet expands the work kickstarted through The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet, commonly known as SMIL, which is hosted by K-State.
“We are excited to bring together funding and research partners who will align with our focus on research, engagement and leadership in supporting the growth of sorghum and millet,” Minton said. “A unique mission of a land grant university is outreach and extension to ensure the technologies developed through research get out to practitioners in the field.”
Minton explains that with this announcement of the Global Collaboration on Sorghum and Millet, we are excited to bring together our Pan Africa team, research partners, development practitioners, and funding collaborators focused on research, engagement and leadership for sustainable development, climate adaptation and the growth of sorghum and millet value chains.
“Our global commitment has also enabled synergies for our Kansas farmers as well, with the devastating pest, the sugarcane aphid,” said Minton. “The global research network that has been developed enabled plant breeding solutions that could quickly be integrated into the US sorghum hybrids and helped produce a natural resistance to a pest that was devastating the market. This new collaboration will continue to focus on leveraging a global research network, capacity strengthening and delivery of appropriate technologies.
“This new collaboration will continue to focus on cross-sharing with research and technologies,” Minton said. “The Global Collaboration for Sorghum and Millet continues our focus on sorghum as an integral solution to the growing world and changing climate.”
The collaboration will be led by Dr. Timothy J. Dalton and Nat Bascom, who previously led SMIL. For more information visit GlobalSorghumandMillet.com.