"If a farmer is not willing to support their own product, I don't know who else is going to do it for you.," Barry Evans said. "We've got to support our own way of life and what we're doing." 

Sorghum growers are investing in sorghum. 

"You know, as a farmer or any business person, you've got to take control of your own destiny and what you're doing," Evans said. 

That is why producers like Barry Evans, along with 1,159 others, voted in favor of continuing the Sorghum Checkoff program. 

"What it tries to do is continues to grow the industry, tries to create advantages for producers mainly centered around profitability," Florentino Lopez with United Sorghum Checkoff said.  

The national program was established in 2009 through an act and order in Congress.
According to an overwhelming 96.5% who passed  the continuation, Sorghum Checkoff has made strides of progress.

"Basically the program is geared toward research, promotion, and also information on sorghum," Lopez said. 

"This checkoff helped fund some of the research that shows sorghum as a great input for ethanol," Evans said. "We have also seen some yield enhancements and in the future there are really some bright things on the horizon." 

Out-of-pocket cost to the producer is minimal, just sixth tenths of one percent. 
And Evans said that the return is substantial.

"It cost such a small amount to the farmers, but the return you get is hard to even put a dollar value on it because it's so great. It has really paid huge dividends," Evans said.  

Besides research and development, the Sorghum Checkoff program is increasing the crop's presence in U.S. food markets. 
And the biggest success has been seen overseas. 

"The export market has just exploded for sorghum, especially with China getting in the market," Evans said. 

Although area producers had some delays when planting this year's crop, sorghum is now looking exceptional thanks to plentiful rainfall. 

"Oh it's wonderful! A little rain does so much good," Evans said. 
"I've been farming for about 25 years and sorghum has always been a big part. Even when I was a kid growing up, we've always grown sorghum. We call it a water-sipping crop."  

Evans planted a shorter season variety which he hopes to begin harvesting around the middle of August.