Council Chairman Visits South Korea As First Mission In Role

The team had the opportunity to discuss the relationship between the U.S. and Korea with Chargé d’Affaires for the U.S. Embassy in Korea Christopher Del Corso. Pictured from left to right are Haksoo Kim, USGC director in Korea, Cary Sifferath, USGC senior director of global programs, USGC Past Chairman Jim Raben, Del Corso, USGC Chairman Chad Willis, USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand and Neil Mikulski, senior agricultural attaché, USDA Foreign Ag Service in Seoul.

Pictured from left to right, USGC Chairman Chad Willis, USGC Past Chairman Jim Raben and USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand received a market briefing from USGC Korea staff members, Youngjin Lee, USGC administrative manager, and Haksoo Kim, USGC director in Korea.

On his first mission as U.S. Grains Council (USGC) chairman, Chad Willis is joined this week in South Korea by USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand, Past Chairman Jim Raben and Cary Sifferath, USGC senior director of global programs. This is the Council’s first trip to Asia since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group is in the country to learn more about the market while also meeting with USGC’s Korea staff to determine the best route for growing “together in trade,” the chairman’s theme for the year.

“Traveling with the Council throughout my time on the Board of Directors has allowed me to see firsthand how trade is a two-way street – to be successful, we need each other,” Willis said. “It’s important for us as the Council to work together with other nations to ensure global trade is as successful as possible for all involved.”

While in Korea, the group had the opportunity to meet with U.S. embassy personnel, including the Chargé d’Affaires for the U.S. Embassy Christopher Del Corso and members of the Agricultural Affairs Office where they discussed the current relationship between the U.S. and Korea.

They will also meet with the chairman of the Korea Feed Association (KFA); the chairman of the Korea Corn Processing Industry Association (KCPIA); and animal feed manufacturer, Nonghyup Feed Inc. (NOFI).

“The Council values the opportunity for our membership to share information about their businesses and about U.S. production. When our leadership visit with key customers and stakeholders overseas, it further helps the Council achieve its mission of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives,” LeGrand said.

South Korea was the fifth-largest market for grains in all forms (GIAF) in the 2020/2021 marketing year, exporting more than 7.5 million metric tons (MMT) (297 million bushels), valued at $4 billion. By commodity, South Korea was the second-largest market for U.S. beef and beef products; the third-largest market for U.S. barley and barley products, DDGS and ethanol; and the fifth-largest market for U.S. corn, pork and pork products. GIAF imports to the country were up overall by 18.1 percent from the previous marketing year.

Learn more about Willis’ first mission as chairman in real-time by following the Council’s social media channels: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Learn more about the Council’s work in South Korea.