To further establish business relations with companies in Mexico that rely on corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) recently hosted two Mexican trade teams in the United States so they could get a first-hand look at the production taking place. The yellow corn and DDGS team consisted of representatives from 10 Mexican companies that regularly procure grains that may be sourced from the local crop or imported from the U.S. and Brazil, while executives from GRUMA, a global food company and leader in the production of corn and flour tortillas worldwide, made up the white corn team.
The yellow corn and DDGS team began their journey in Nebraska before traveling to Iowa later in the week. The group visited several ethanol production facilities, allowing visitors to further understand ethanol production, while also giving team members a deeper look at the advantages of high protein DDGS (HiPro).
The group toured several farms in Nebraska and Iowa. In Nebraska, the team visited Jason Lewis’s farm, where they saw the farming operation and reviewed the overall crop conditions. In Iowa, tours took place at the farms of Bill and Tim Couser, as well as at the farms of Rod Pierce, a member of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, and Dennis Friest, an Iowa Corn Growers Association member.
To round out the trip, the team met with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig who explained the relevance of ethanol to the state of Iowa and the importance of supporting ethanol use in the U.S. and around the world. The Iowa Corn Growers Association hosted the team for a farewell lunch before they departed for the airport.
“The participants left with a better understanding of how the industry, producers and universities have been able to establish very close ties that have allowed them to achieve production efficiency,” said Patricia Esqueda, USGC marketing specialist in Mexico.
Similarly, the white corn team had a packed agenda, making stops in Illinois and Nebraska while in the U.S. The overall goal of this mission was to introduce the GRUMA executives to merchandisers and white corn producers, while focusing on sustainability practices, comparing non-genetically modified (GM) corn to GM corn and discussing new contracting opportunities.
The GRUMA team visited with officials from the Illinois Corn Growers Association, Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), Gavilon and Consolidated Grain and Barge to learn more about their work in the corn value chain. Several ethanol and agricultural groups also hosted the team, where they were able to tour the facilities, compare different types of corn and discuss fertilizer prices and supply chain issues. The group also had the opportunity to visit Tim Seifert’s farm in Illinois and have dinner with Andy Jobman, a white corn farmer in Nebraska.
Toward the end of the mission, the group had the opportunity to learn about the importance of transportation within the grain industry, visiting a river terminal and a railroad terminal.
The Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Department of Agriculture hosted the team, creating networking opportunities for the groups.
“Bringing trade teams to the U.S. is key in establishing confidence in the buyer’s purchases of U.S. grains and building relationships with producers and industry. With the teams’ travels through the corn belt, buyers were able to view firsthand the quality of grain, create new business opportunities and speak directly with producers who incorporate technology and sustainability to produce a quality crop,” said Sadie Marks, USGC manager of global programs. “These in-person interactions are vital in not only building quality relationships, but addressing potential concerns to make sure U.S. grains stay competitive and continue being a quality trading partner long into the future.”
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 28 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.