The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) are partnering with nearly a dozen state corn organizations this winter to put on five trade schools in farmers’ local areas, aiming to educate and empower grower-leaders on trade topics.
The regional events build on similar workshops held in Washington, D.C., in 2016 and 2019 and in St. Louis in 2018. Each offered wide-ranging information demonstrating the importance of trade to the agriculture industry and farmers’ profitability; details on hot topics on the trade agenda; and training on how participants can talk about trade issues in their communities.
Negotiations on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade agreement with Japan and a trade deal with China dominated much of agriculture news in 2019, spurring interest among those in the ag sector and creating demand for more and more detailed information on trade topics.
“In the last several years, we’ve really seen the interest in trade and market development surge among farmers who are seeing how critical overseas sales are to their profitability,” said Melissa Kessler, USGC director of strategic relations, who manages the trade school events. “The Council and NCGA work together with our members every day on trade issues and are thrilled for the opportunity to partner in bringing experts to meet with growers who want to continuously learn about these topics.”
The first of the 2019/2020 winter events was held in December in Maryland in partnership with the Maryland Grain Producers Board, attracting local farmers as well as representatives from an elevator, railroad and Farm Credit.
Future events are planned for:
- Indianapolis on Jan. 21 and 22, in partnership with the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, the Ohio Corn Marketing Board, the Michigan Corn Marketing Program and the Kentucky Corn Promotion Program.
- Olathe, Kansas, on Feb. 17, in partnership with Kansas Corn, Nebraska Corn, Missouri Corn and Iowa Corn.
- Moline, Illinois, on Feb. 19, in partnership with Iowa Corn and Illinois Corn.
- Burlington, Colorado, on March 11 and 12, in partnership with Colorado Corn.
“Our focus for 60 years has been on developing markets opened by strong trade policy. We truly believe in our mission and are glad to be sharing that mission with so many in our grains community this winter,” Kessler said.
Each event is free for participants, though pre-registration is required. The events are designed to minimize the time away from home for participants, however hotel access has been arranged at each location for those who need to stay over.
About The U.S. Grains Council
The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol. With full-time presence in 28 locations, the Council operates programs in more than 50 countries and the European Union. The Council believes exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture’s profitability. Detailed information about the Council and its programs is online at www.grains.org.