Korean Buyers See Quality, Abundance Of U.S. Corn Crop

A team of 21 feed and food corn buyers from South Korea traveled to the United States last week to learn more about the transparent and high-quality grain management and export system in the country. As corn competition from South America and the Black Sea region has intensified over the years, this trade team played an important role in building relationships between U.S. and Korean stakeholders.

“Korean buyers are very interested in the crop and production prospects of new corn in the United States. After touring the harvesting fields in Iowa and Illinois, they were able to confirm that the quality was superior to expectations and that there was abundant production potential. Accordingly, the Council’s Korea office expects exports of new-crop U.S. corn to South Korea to resume early next year,” said Haksoo Kim, USGC director in Korea.

While in the U.S., the team spent time in Illinois, Iowa and Louisiana. Their itinerary included visits to corn growers associations, corn farms, country and river elevators, an export terminal elevator, an ethanol plant, a grain shipping agency and a grain inspection company. The group even had the opportunity to meet with Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Grant Menke while in the state.

“The meeting with the ag government officials showed participants that the government provides farmers with the driving force to enable sustainable agriculture through various information and programs. Participants were able to learn that this farming environment makes American farmers proud of their farming,” Kim said.

This program not only showcased the quality and availability of the 2023/24 U.S. corn crop, but it also helped the team understand that the U.S. has transparent and stable supply chains. The Council hopes that by confirming that the 2023/24 corn crop is of high quality and in abundant supply, the Korean buyers will create a basis for expanding food-grade corn imports.

“The Council’s Korea office will jointly hold a U.S. corn and DDGS market outlook seminar with the Korea Feed Association on Nov. 7, in addition to a U.S. corn harvest quality seminar in early January 2024 to promote the superiority and abundant supply of U.S. corn, and will strive to expand opportunities for exporting U.S. corn to South Korea. Additionally, we will support contract farming of food-grade corn through a follow-up program with Korea Corn Processing Industry Association members who joined this program,” Kim said.