Dwight Mork, Minnesota farmer and U.S. Grains Council (USGC) delegate for the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, has witnessed firsthand how trade teams develop critical connections between U.S. farmers and the overseas buyers who purchase their grain.
In 2015, Dwight hosted a team of managers and directors from Middle East and North African grain buying companies on his family’s 1,400-acre farm. As part of this outreach, he invited fellow farmers from the area to interact with the trade delegation, which included participants from Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Three years later, one of those farmers traveled to Morocco, where a grain buyer recognized him from his visit to Dwight’s farm. Dwight explained that interactions like these strengthen not only individual relationships, but also build trust and confidence in the United States as a reliable supplier of high-quality grain from the farm through the export value chain.
“Trade teams are extremely important to have on your farm,” Dwight said. “The bonds you develop ensures them we are working hard to provide the best possible product. I think that is invaluable, especially for the grain buyer. You cannot put a dollar figure on that.”
Dwight has always had a passion for global agriculture, traveling internationally throughout his life. His involvement in the Council has helped translate that passion into advocating for export market development through various opportunities, including meeting with corn buyers in Egypt and touring a trade loadout facility in Vancouver, Washington. The Council recognized Dwight for five years of service during its 58th Annual Membership Meeting in Denver, Colorado.
“I have always felt that export markets would be the key to expanding our profitability,” Dwight said. “I got elected six years ago and I have enjoyed my time learning about the Council’s work ever since.”
Dwight has continued making those farmer-buyer connections through the Council’s overseas missions and through his service on the Middle East/Africa Advisory Team (A-Team). These experiences have enhanced Dwight’s personal knowledge and enabled him to be a better advocate for trade in his own community.
“There are times when I am convinced farmers in my area think the world ends at their county line, but participating in organizations like the Council shows you the value of embracing change and expanding your world,” Dwight said. “Being involved with the Council has helped me talk to people more effectively about exports – hopefully that helps continue the conversation about the importance of trade to our industry.”
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 13 key markets and representatives in an additional 15 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.