The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Texas Department of Agriculture visited Spain last week to meet with Spanish grain importers and compound feed producers, assessing the opportunities for U.S. sorghum and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) exports in the upcoming year.
“Spain produces approximately 36 million metric tons (MMT) of compound feed annually; the country is also the largest pork producer in the European Union (EU),” said Paige Stevenson, USGC manager of global trade. “Spain is historically a significant buyer of U.S. sorghum, so this mission allowed the Council and Texas sorghum exporters to engage in a dialogue with their customers and to ensure that U.S. sorghum is not overlooked as the Spanish market makes its purchasing plans for the upcoming year.”
Kurt Shultz, USGC senior director of global strategies, Loyola Toran, USGC regional consultant in Spain and Stevenson represented the Council on the mission. Additionally, Bret Befort, DDGS export trader at Valero; Wayne Cleveland, executive director of the Texas Sorghum Association; Benjamin Smith of Attebury Grain; Cris Brown of West Plains; and Dan Hunter, assistant commissioner at the Texas Department of Agriculture, took part in the mission.
The team had one-on-one meetings with Spanish grain importers, feed producers and hog producers while there. The meetings allowed U.S. exporters to offer importers a better understanding of how grain flows throughout the Spanish market. Overall, Spanish importers hold U.S. sorghum in high regard and are interested in gaining knowledge about its multiple uses.
“As a result of our meetings, we were immediately getting follow-up calls from the Spanish industry asking for price and quality specifications,” Stevenson said. “That highlights the importance of these missions, sitting down face-to-face with your customers leads to sales and we are optimistic we will see U.S. sorghum sales to Spain this marketing year as a result of this mission.”
In addition to sorghum and DDGS, corn was a topic of conversation during the team’s time in Spain.
The visit was particularly timely as the U.S. and the EU announced the previous week an agreement to remove a 25 percent duty it had placed on U.S. corn imports.
“Prior to the 232 tariffs imposed on EU steel, the U.S. exported over 2 million metric tons (78 million bushels) of corn to the EU,” Shultz said. “This mission was perfectly timed to promote U.S. sorghum sales and to get the attention of the Spanish feed industry that exports of U.S. corn are back in play.”
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.