Members See U.S. Grains In Action After USGC Meeting In Colombia

On the heels of the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) 16th International Marketing Conference and 59th Annual Membership Meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, last week, local staff members led two different programs – one with a feed grains focus and one with an ethanol focus – to help members better understand how the country’s agriculture sector uses U.S. products.

The feed grain program highlighted the multiple ways manufacturers use U.S. corn and included visits to a feed plant, a food processing facility, a manure processing plant and liquid egg producer.  “The tour allowed participants to see operations firsthand and build important relationships with buyers,” said USGC Western Hemisphere Regional Marketing Specialist Ana Maria Ballesteros, who led the tour comprised of members from Iowa and Kansas. “We hope USGC members will return home as better educated trade ambassadors.”

The tour began in Cali with a visit to the largest egg producer in Colombia. It has a chicken manure processing plant – considered to be one of the world’s most important projects for renewable energy and the only one of its kind in Colombia – that powers its plant from 100-percent chicken manure. In addition, participants also visited the facility’s liquid egg plant, which produces 500 metric tons of liquid egg per month.

The following day, the team visited one of the largest feed plants in the country and were able to see how U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) move through a feed plant system – from silos and flat storage facilities for DDGS, corn gluten meal and soybean meal to pet food production processes.

“They saw how corn was delivered to the plant by truck and sampled upon arrival and visited the lab where analysis was completed,” Ballesteros said. “The visit was a great opportunity for U.S. farmers to get to know better two of the most important end-users of U.S. corn and co-products in the Colombian feed and poultry sectors and have a close look at the most recent innovative projects the poultry company has launched.”

During the same time, USGC Latin American Regional Ethanol Consultant Juan Diaz led a second group to Bogota to meet with the leading Colombian importers of U.S. ethanol and an association of Colombian petroleum companies. That mission culminated with a field trip to an ethanol plant in Puerto Lopez, Meta, to learn more about the domestic industry.

“Members were able to hear from our main customers about their operations in the country and the challenges they have to face to import U.S. ethanol,” Diaz said about the tenth largest market for U.S. ethanol. “The meetings were a good opportunity to learn about the market perspectives for fuel products, including ethanol and to evidence the high potential Colombia has for U.S. ethanol trade expansion.”

For more information on USGC activities in Colombia, visit here.

For more about the meeting last week, visit here.