In spite of an impending blizzard, the High Plains Millet Association was able to conduct its second annual meeting as scheduled on April 10 at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, concluding the event several hours before the worst of the storm moved across the area.
The threat of bad weather did make for a smaller-than-anticipated crowd, but producers had a chance to discuss at length the future direction of the association and new developments in the industry, according to Chris Stum, of Towner, the group's president.
"We decided to continue working on developing the market but not to pursue another check-off at this point in time," he said.
Somewhat to the surprise of the ag industry in Colorado, a proposed referendum to create a new Colorado Millet Marketing Order failed last year. The money raised would have been used to support additional research, market development and promotion for the crop.
Colorado ranks number one in millet production in the U.S. with average production of 6,335,889 bushels, valued at $23,009,944 annually.
Stum said he expects production levels to remain steady in the coming year, with conditions looking good going into the spring planting season.
"We're decent on moisture right now," he said. "Millet typically goes in the last week of May or the first week of June, which is toward the end of planting season. On our farm, if we have good moisture, we go after the crop that can make the best use of it, but if we're a little thin on moisture, that's typically when we plant millet."
Further north, millet is often planted in place of sorghum because it can better handle the short growing season, he added.
The High Plains Millet Association was officially organized in March of 2017 with a mission to "provide sustainability to the millet industry through research, promotion and marketing."
At the recent meeting, association leaders set a goal to make continued improvements to the group's website and create an online "post-it board" where producers can share ideas and information, Stum said.