12 Nov 2013

Sorghum Cooking Operation


Thick, warm, sweet smells floated up from the Mississippi Delta Community College Career Technical department Thursday morning when the Field Crops and Precision Ag Program's students were running their sorghum cooking operation. Grown on the school's agriculture fields located south of campus, the sorghum cane was raised, harvested, pressed and cooked by the students in Barry Corley and Steele Robbins' classes.

It was teamwork though that got the job done and produced such a tasty success story. The cooking process could not have happened if not for students from Clarence Steelman's Brick, Block and Masonry class, Steve Poole's Construction Equipment class and Roger Wright's Welding class who worked to build the fire pit that would house fires that reached over 1200 degrees and the firewood rack that allowed wood to be easily accessible during the cooking process.

Students learned the art of skimming the foamy material from the bubbling pan or pushing the final product out of the copper cooker into waiting pots. While waiting for the cooking to complete visitors were invited to watch a crew of students who were extracting the sorghum cane juice nearby. As they finished, the refuse was loaded up by a local farmer to be used for hog feed so that there was no waste product from the process. As the morning passed, spectators looked on anxiously waiting for the first drips of deep golden thickness to make the long journey to the end of the cooker.