U.S. Grains Council and Sorghum Industry Efforts Help Sales To China Boom

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Utilizing Market Access Program (MAP) funds, and partnering with Kansas State University, Texas Sorghum Producers, Kansas Sorghum, and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, the U.S. Grains Council sorghum promotion efforts in China have generated more than 12 million metric tons of sorghum sales since June 2015.

In June 2015, the Council submitted a success story that outlined how the Council’s initial sorghum promotion efforts in China, which began in the summer of 2013, resulted in 10 million metric tons in sales of U.S. sorghum, worth more than $2 billion. Before the initiation USGC sorghum promotion efforts, there were no U.S. sorghum exports to China. Council programs played a critical role in initiating this export flow.

Since that time, U.S. sorghum export sales have continued, generating an additional $2.5 billion in sales since June 2015. These exports occurred despite China’s corn price policy reforms initiated in March 2016, which have allowed corn prices to fall significantly and reduced incentives to import feed grains like sorghum.

Using MAP funds and partnering with state and national sorghum growers associations, the U.S. Grains Council has:

  • Sponsored three sorghum buying teams to the U.S. in June 2015, June 2016 and October 2016, including participation by 40 of China’s top sorghum buyers.
  • Co-sponsored several events to present sorghum supply and demand, feeding information and quality reports, including JCI (Sept. 2015), FoodChina (Nov. 2015), Kansas Sorghum Team and Quality Seminar, (March 2016), JCI (March, 2016), CFNA (July 2016), FoodChina (Sept. 2016), JCI (Sept. 2016), quality report rollouts in Guangxi and Gaungdong (March 2017), JCI (March 2017).
  • Addressed quality issues such as quarantined pests and zearalenone levels in sorghum shipments with targeted training to help customers procure good quality, interacting regularly with customers and import quality inspectors to learn their concerns and communicating these back to producers and exporters.  Despite some serious issues, there have been no rejections of U.S. sorghum by China to date.

Together, these efforts have helped maintain a robust flow of sorghum to China after the initial success of our sorghum promotion activities started in 2013. The Council has invested approximately $200,000 of MAP funds in its China sorghum marketing programs in 2016 supporting U.S. sorghum sales amounting to 5.3 MMT with a value of $1 billion, resulting in an return on investment of 5,000:1.