News & Events
By Thomas C. Dorr, USGC President and CEO
The U.S. domestic market demand for distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) is becoming more and more saturated. This has become increasingly clear to many of the ethanol plant members of the U.S. Grains Council. As the supply for DDGS increases, ethanol plants must discount the price to persuade end-users to increase DDGS use in their cattle, swine or poultry ration.
Last week, U.S. Grains Council Chairman Rick Fruth lead a team of 10 USGC officers, board members and staff on a mission to evaluate grain market opportunities in the Caribbean and Latin American regions. The delegation spent the week meeting with government officials, customers and industry experts in the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Panama. According to Fruth, the mission was received “extremely well” by feed grain end-users and potential customers in the region.
The 2010 Commodity Classic is currently underway in Anaheim, Calif., as thousands of agricultural producers, agribusinesses, legislative officials and interested parties gather from across the United States for networking and educational opportunities.
As a partial sponsor of the event, the United Sorghum Checkoff Program’s (USCP) Board of Directors met to discuss policy priorities and the future of the checkoff initiative.
At the U.S. Grains Council’s 7th International Marketing Conference, Christopher Langholz, president of Cargill AgHorizons, told an audience of nearly 200 attendees of the Council’s significant role in expanding trade opportunities for U.S. farmers.
Without free trade agreements (FTAs) between the United States and markets in Latin America and Southeast Asia, the United States risks losing export competitiveness, warned U.S. Grains Council directors during the 7th International Marketing Conference. "One of the biggest threats facing the United States is the fact that pending FTAs with Colombia and Panama have not been ratified," said Kurt Shultz, USGC regional director in Panama.
Ernesto Fernandez-Arias, general director of support to rural financing in Mexico, presented to nearly 200 attendees of the U.S. Grains Council’s 7th International Marketing Conference. According to Arias, Mexico’s agriculture industry production maintained a growing trend despite the world economic recession. The implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was significant to Mexico as it has become a world leader in some international food markets. "Food exports have prompted the primary sector output.
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.
In the State of the Union address Jan. 27, 2010, President Barack Obama listed international trade as one of his top priorities for expanding the U.S. economy. “We need to export more of our goods. Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America,” he said as he issued the challenge to double U.S. exports over the next five years, with specific focus on helping ‘farmers and small businesses increase their exports.
The U.S. Grains Council’s 7th International Marketing Conference and 50th Annual Membership Meeting, themed, “50 Years of Leadership: Acting on Opportunities,” will be held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Feb. 13-17, 2010. “This meeting is essential for the Council as it provides a chance for stakeholders to gather with the USGC international staff and plan the best direction for Council programs and focus in the coming years,” said USGC President and CEO Thomas C. Dorr. “Information gathered at this meeting helps USGC Advisory Team members shape the 2011 Unified Export Strategy (UES).
Several weeks ago, the U.S. Grains Council reported Turkey’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and Rural Affairs released a directive, ordered by the Turkish Danistay Court, to repeal the Oct. 26, 2009, regulation that restricted market access of products containing biotechnology derived content. The Council received word today that the MOA appealed the Court’s decision and overturned the regulation. Thus, the Oct. 26 ban is again in effect.