Grain Mission Participants Visit Mexico to See Hot Grain Market, Meet Key Buyers

Seven U.S. farmers are visiting Mexico as part of the U.S. Grains Council's (USGC's) Grain Export Mission (GEM) to the country, a unique opportunity for new-to-the-Council members to gain a better understanding of the challenges, opportunities and competition for U.S. grains in this key market.

During the visit, participants have met with key end-users, Council partners, U.S. and local government officials and trading company representatives, among others.

Mexico has a long history of importing and using U.S. feed grains and co-products. For marketing year 2015/2016, USGC analysis shows U.S. exports of feed grains and products that require these grains, like meats, totaled a record 22.7 million metric tons (895.9 million bushels) of corn equivalent, up 14 percent from 2014/2015 and up 30 percent since 2010/2011.

The double-digit increase in exports to Mexico is a testament to the growing importance of this country to U.S. grain exports, with corn, sorghum and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) experiencing significant year-over-year gains.

The short- and long-term successes of U.S. grains in Mexico are due to a combination of geography, strong trade policy between the two countries in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and ongoing USGC market development programs supported by the U.S. grains industry and programs in the U.S. farm bill.

Export mission participants are observing firsthand the types of activities the Council is executing to further develop the Mexican market, as well as local conditions, trade opportunities and constraints, which helps them understand the breadth and depth of the Council's work worldwide.

The Council's programs in the country are strategically focused to maximize the U.S. marketing advantage in Mexico, expand U.S. sales of malting barley, DDGS, sorghum and corn and establish a place for U.S. ethanol following planned changes in the country's energy policy next year.

This means working with local industry to share with regulators important lessons learned in the U.S. adoption of ethanol, particularly as it relates to reducing air pollution and diversifying fuel supplies.

It also means working to develop untapped markets such as beef and dairy cattle in tropical areas where teaching proper storage, handling and formulation represent additional opportunities for feed grain and co-product use.

"The partnership potential for Mexico and United States is hard to match," said Lyndsey Erb, USGC director of industry relations, who is traveling with the GEM team this week.

"Efforts like the Grain Export Mission offer an unparalleled opportunity to not only observe the nuances of this important market firsthand, but also to share insights about the quality of U.S. grains with key stakeholders."

More information about the Grains Export Mission will be available in the coming weeks on the Council's Facebook and Twitter pages.