Council Checks In With Overseas Leaders During Second Day of Summer Meeting

U.S. grain sector leaders met in Des Moines and online Thursday as part of the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) summer annual meeting, focused on better understanding the challenges affecting their industry, from sustainability to cybersecurity, and engaging with Council staff in many of the markets to which their exports are headed despite still being affected by COVID-19 pandemic.

This morning’s general session allowed attendees to hear from USGC regional directors in Latin America, South Asia and the Middle East, Africa and Europe and get market updates on the two largest markets for U.S. grains – China and Mexico.

“Mexico is extremely important to the United States, feed grains and the Council’s work,” said Cary Sifferath, USGC senior director of global programs. “It is an important market for us year-to-year. Mexico has been a longstanding, good customer of corn, sorghum, barley and DDGS, and we’re even on pace to see a 10% increase in corn exports to Mexico compared to last year.”

The Thursday afternoon general session featured Bushel Co-Founder and CEO Jake Joraanstad who discussed creating digital infrastructure in agriculture to increase commodity competitiveness. Hogan Lovells partner and USGC general counsel Deen Kaplan followed Joraanstad then covered cybersecurity and how it relates to the business of agriculture.

During the meeting, the Council also bestowed two longtime figures with its Lifetime Achievement Award: Ray Defenbaugh, who passed away in 2019 during his tenure as a Council board member, and Tom Sleight, who retired as the Council’s president and CEO in 2019.

Tomorrow, attendees will enter the Board of Delegates meeting where they will elect USGC officers and present A-Team and sector reports.

More from the meeting is available using hashtag, #grains20.