Habitat & Conservation  |  04/06/2023

Sorghum for BIRDS: A Kansas Collaboration for Wildlife, Water, and Profitability


Building Innovative, Resilient, and Diverse agricultural Systems

Sorghum is The Grain that Gives™. When paired with conservation practices across sprawling landscapes, this resource-conserving crop plays a critical role for the connection between wildlife populations, soil health, water quality & quantity, and farm-level profitability.

That’s the motivation behind the Sorghum for BIRDS (Building Innovative, Resilient, and Diverse agricultural Systems) initiative in Kansas – a collaboration between Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) over a 15-county region to help achieve mutual goals for sustainability and profitability in the heart of America’s Sorghum Belt.

“Wildlife habitat conservation and on-farm profitability thrive when sorghum is a key component of farming crop rotations,” said Adam York, sustainability director for the USCP. “The U.S. sorghum industry is building a sustainability footprint with real, measurable data. This partnership is key to that success, gathering metrics on U.S. sorghum acres for wildlife habitat conservation. By capitalizing on sorghum’s natural resiliency, farmers are implementing ecosystems that are a benefit to us all.

Witnessed firsthand by Osborne County producers Rodney Doane and Craig Poore, Sorghum for BIRDS is helping each of them establish a colorful barometer of environmental health across their multigenerational farms. Strategic conservation and soil health practices applied to pivot corners, buffers, fields, and hard-to-farm zones are helping them achieve sustainability outcomes that benefit wildlife, water resources and soil conservation while contributing to bottom-line profitability.

“The Sorghum for BIRDS program helps farmers focus on acres that are low in return-on-investment,” said Craig Poore. “Those acres can still have profitability and sustainability for the farm in a completely different way. We use it for habitat that our pheasants, quail, ducks, and geese can seek cover in it during the fall. When we’re out driving around, the birds are crowing and talking to each other; it shows us that we’re being sustainable and doing something right.”

For more information about applying for Sorghum for BIRDS or enrollment opportunities, visit the website or contact Brent Rudolph, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Director of Sustainability Partnerships, by email at brudolph@pheasantsforever.org or by phone at (517) 980-4570.