News & Events
By Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council Senior Director in China
The U.S. Grains Council has been doing work in China since the mid-1980s and I’ve only been a part of that effort for the past two years. China is a very difficult and demanding market, predominately because China’s government polices are set to maintain self sufficiency in the major grains of corn, wheat and rice. This makes work as the USGC director in China challenging when you have to try and work against that type of government policy.
FOODEX is the largest annual food expo in Japan, drawing more than 2,000 exhibitors from 60 countries and regions and 85,000 attendees. The U.S. Grains Council’s Japan office hosted a booth at the show and also participated in a cooking demonstration, where U.S. barley, corn meal and white sorghum recipes were showcased.
How does NCGA work with the U.S. Grains Council on a organization level?
Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois corn growers and staff extended their recent travel in Mexico for the U.S. Grains Council’s 7th International Marketing Conference to include face-to-face meetings with beef and pork producers, commodity traders, feed mills, and even the rail transportation system in Mexico. USGC Manager of International Operations Alvaro Cordero escorted the group.
In an effort to encourage local production and generate revenue for the national treasury, Syria has recently imposed import duties on corn and barley, the U.S. Grains Council has learned. The duties were originally set at $77/metric ton but have since been scaled back due to industry pressure. They are currently at $22/ton for corn and $44/ton for barley.
Japan is the largest U.S. corn export market, consistently importing approximately 16 million metric tons (630 million bushels) of U.S. corn each year. With the recent attention to U.S. corn quality and the use of biotechnology, it is more important than ever that U.S. producers stay connected to their international customers. This week, U.S. Grains Council representatives Steve Vanzant, Ohio Corn Marketing Program; Chester Esther, Illinois Corn Growers Association; and Fred Oelschlaeger, Cargill, traveled to Tokyo for the Corn Outlook Conference.
USDA projects U.S. corn production at a record 13.2 billion bushels. This is up from 12.9 billion bushels projected in USDA’s December forecast and 1 percent above the previous record of 13 billion bushels set in 2007. Corn exports are projected at 2.1 billion bushels, unchanged from last month and up from the estimated 1.9 billion bushels exported in 2008/2009. According to USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates released Tuesday, U.S. corn yield is estimated at a record 165.2 bushels per acre in 2009.
By Joe Zenz, Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board Inc.
Traveling on the U.S. Grains Council’s 2009 Corn Mission to Morocco, Egypt and Jordan was an eye-opening experience both from a cultural perspective and a business perspective. First and foremost, I was very impressed with the effectiveness of Council programs there and the high level of people we have working for us in those countries.
U.S. corn producers sending their corn to U.S. ethanol plants also receive added value for their crop from the derivative distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). A widely used feed ingredient in the United States, DDGS is increasingly being used in markets around the world. The U.S. Grains Council, funded by U.S. agriculture and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, conducts educational seminars and feeding trials to increase familiarity and usage of the U.S. feed ingredient.
U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Thomas C. Dorr and newly-named Senior Vice President of Operations and Industry Relations Keith Heffernan traveled to Iowa this week to attend the Board of Directors meeting of Council members Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) and Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA). “We have to significantly enhance our expectations of where new opportunities come. We need to expand and exploit U.S. corn and begin capitalizing on those opportunities in which we can begin to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace,” said Dorr.