By Jessica Domel
Whether you’re shipping a package to grandma, enjoying a gluten-free cereal or simply feeding the chickens, you’re using one of the world’s most versatile crops–sorghum.
Sometimes called maize or milo, grain sorghum is planted across the globe because it adapts so easily to almost any environment.
We use it for all kinds of things, too.
It’s used to create biodegradable packing peanuts at a plant in Pampa, Texas.
It’s used to feed cows, chickens, pigs and even people. In fact, sorghum is the grain used in special gluten-free foods for those with Celiac disease.
You can also make popcorn balls, cookies, cakes, breads and more out of sorghum.
The Sorghum Checkoff has a whole section of its website dedicated to ways you can prepare the versatile grain.
Dale Artho, a grain sorghum farmer in Wilderado, tells me some people also use sorghum to create a spray insulation that really helps to keep homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
In Japan, where a good deal of U.S. grown sorghum is bought, they use sorghum to feed ducks. It’s also used to create a drink called baijiu.
It’s great for most farmers, too. It’s drought-tolerant, can grow in just 90 days and is cheaper to grow for some.
A pest called the sugarcane aphid that sucks the sugar out of the plant has been a nuisance across Texas for the past year or so, but farmers are working to keep their crops alive.
So the next time you’re driving through the countryside and see a colorful field of sorghum, think about all the fun ways those seeds are used to improve our landscape and our lives.