ICYMI: Grains Leadership Meets Customers, New Administration Officials In Mexico

Recognizing the importance of Mexico as the top customer for U.S. coarse grains and co-products, leaders from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and its sister organizations traveled together last week to Mexico to meet with long-time customers and incoming government officials there.

This year’s officers mission followed the conclusion of U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) negotiations and preceded the swearing in of Mexican President-Elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) on Dec. 1.

The delegation included leaders from the Council and its domestic partners, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) and United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) and the National Barley Growers Association (NBGA).

“Mexico is the most critical market for our members and an amazing example of what the right combination of policy and robust market development can do to build overseas grain demand,” said USGC Chairman Jim Stitzlein, an agribusiness member of the Council who participated in the recent mission. “Engaging with our customers in Mexico is always a priority, and we are excited to visit and show we are back to business as usual now that the USMCA agreement is ready to go.”

While in the country, the joint leadership team visited with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA’s FAS) post in Mexico City; met with key customer organizations including the Mexican feed manufacturers’ council, known as CONAFAB; and made a stop at the Mexican grain trade association, known as APPAMEX. They also met with officials already appointed by the new president-elect, including Victor Villalobos, the incoming head of the agriculture department.

Mexico ranks as the top international buyer of U.S. corn, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and barley and is a significant purchaser of U.S. sorghum. The country also has near-term potential for increased use of U.S. ethanol following energy policy changes in recent years.

In 2017/2018, shipments of feed grains in all forms to Mexico hit a new record of 25.2 million metric tons – almost 1 billion bushels in corn equivalent. Grain in all forms is a holistic measure of the grain consumed by a market as a commodity or in value-added products. This year’s sales continue strong export growth seen over the last five marketing years, thanks in large part to competitive prices, the market access provided by the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), long-term and robust market development work by the Council and its members and well-developed supply chains between the two countries.

Learn more about the Council’s work in Mexico here.