The United Sorghum checkoff program has named Adam York its new sustainability director to continue efforts in increasing market value for growers, promoting conservation practices through strategic partnerships and positioning sorghum as “The Resource Conserving Crop.” York will be responsible for developing and leading the sorghum industry’s sustainability initiatives, and will continually assess opportunities for investment and collaboration to increase the value of sorghum for farmers and industry stakeholders.
“We are thrilled for Adam to join team sorghum,” says Norma Ritz Johnson, USCP executive director. “After seeing the pathways paved and tremendous work he has put into Kansas Grain Sorghum, we have no doubt he will make incredible strides here at the sorghum checkoff.”
York is a Clark County, Kan., native, with a farm-and-ranch upbringing. He is a Kansas State University graduate with a degree in history. Prior to working in the sorghum industry, York served as senior staff for multiple members of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives, advising on federal agricultural, environmental and nutritional policies, among others. He returned to Kansas in 2019 to join Kansas Grain Sorghum as the organization's first program director with a focus on expanding the organization's footprint across the state.
"I am thrilled to begin this new opportunity on team sorghum to continue positioning the crop as a serious tool that confronts challenges head-on with sustainable and collaborative solutions," York says. "Working closely with producers over the past three years at Kansas Grain Sorghum, and from the prior six years in Washington, D.C., I know firsthand how sorghum farmers are moving the needle to advance positive outcomes for rural and urban communities alike."
York replaces Kira Everhart-Valentin, who was the organization’s first sustainability director, pioneering the awareness campaign of sorghum in the regenerative agriculture space. Everhart-Valentin put a spotlight on the crop’s versatility, and the importance of why it is a reliable and responsible option for farmers and consumers alike.
Two years after the board’s intentional and strategic investment of a dedicated sustainability director position, Kira has led several major and successful projects that made sustainability a central question and priority across its program areas. Successes include key messaging and branding being reshaped to highlight sorghum's unique position as a resource-conserving crop, partnerships to further promote sorghum as a high-quality sustainable ingredient for a variety of food and end products, and collecting data to quantify sorghum's positive impact on farms and ecosystems.
“Kira has played a pivotal role in positioning sorghum as a sustainable solution for food, feed and energy sectors. Our sustainable future has been paved with her tremendous work, while still respecting the importance of maintaining economic stability for sorghum producers,” says Tim Lust, sorghum checkoff CEO. “I thank her for her dedicated work and service to our industry, and wish her well in her future endeavors.”
More information about sorghum and its sustainable benefits can be found at sorghumcheckoff.com/sustainability.