Council Mission Well-Timed to Answer Customer Questions
- Published on Wednesday, 15 December 2010 19:17
The U.S. Grains Council’s Corn Mission has provided a timely opportunity to reassure key Japanese customers about the supply and quality of U.S. corn.
Questions about quality eclipsed the issue of corn prices in almost every meeting on the Japan leg of the trip, according to mission participants, who seized the opportunity to brief Japanese users about the 2010 U.S. crop condition and size.
Kent Kleinschmidt, of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, told the Japan Feed Trade Association (JFMA) that U.S. farmers, “were able to get the 2010 crop out in a timely manner and work the ground…we have an even more positive outlook for 2011.”
Some Japanese farmers have reportedly considered reducing corn use because of quality concerns with the weather-affected 2009 crop, but JFMA officials said they plan to convince farmers that the 2010 crop will be better.
Kleinschmidt reinforced that message, acknowledging that 2009 was a down year in terms of quality but confirming that “we are back to producing better corn than ever, and the future looks promising.”
“The kernels from this year’s crop are very hard and should transport very well,” Larry Klever, of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, told Japanese food industry representatives.
Price issues did arise in meeting with Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), which gave mission members an opening to discuss the benefits of distillers dried grains with solubles.
Summing up the visits, Kleinschmidt said, “The highlight for me was when they realized 2009 was really a weather issue, and they were happy to see that 2010 will be a high quality crop.”
Japan, the largest export market for U.S. corn, imported 14.3 million metric tons (536 million bushels) from the United States last year, about 98 percent of Japan’s import needs.
The mission schedule will also take the group to Taiwan and China. Mission members include Kleinschmidt, Klever, John Whaley from the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Kenny McNamar and Becky Frankenbach from the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, and Kelsey Pope from the Nebraska Corn Board.
For more photos, click here.