A team of 12 future poultry leaders from Colombia and a national poultry federation representative traveled to Illinois, Arkansas and Louisiana in late May to further understand the U.S. feed grains and co-product export system from field to port.
The poultry industry in Colombia is the main feed grains consumer, estimated to use one-third of total corn consumption in the country. Most poultry producers are integrated and produce their own feed; some of these companies are family-owned and managed and have been undergoing a transition to younger family members or professionals becoming part of their management teams.
“The Council is working to provide this next generation of the Colombian poultry industry with knowledge to help them understand how the U.S. export system works,” said Ana Ballesteros, USGC marketing director for the Western Hemisphere, who accompanied the team. “These meetings and visits will contribute to the training of these poultry leaders, making sure they understand the competitive advantages the United States can provide in terms of logistics, quality control and reliability.
“While doing this, the Council will also create the needed bonds with these leaders, facilitating future interactions and getting a better understanding of these individual producers and their potential as poultry producers in this market.”
The team visited a farm; toured an ethanol plant and export facilities; learned how distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) are produced; and discussed poultry rations with university experts and U.S. poultry industry leaders. The team also toured the USDA’s Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) labs and talked with independent surveyors in New Orleans.
As the fourth largest buyer of U.S. corn, Colombian purchases in 2017/2018 totaled 5.08 million metric tons (200 million bushels), setting a new record for the fifth year in a row, and 202,000 tons of U.S. DDGS. Thus far in the new marketing year (September 2018-March 2019), Colombia has purchased 3.17 million tons (125 million bushels), up nearly 9 percent year-over-year, in addition to 135,000 tons of U.S. DDGS. Overall, corn exports to Colombia have increased roughly 19-fold since the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 2012.
“This trade team was a great way to interact with these future poultry leaders and show them how the U.S. export system has consistently been able to provide their sector with the most important ingredient of their feed rations – corn – and facilitate continuous growth and development,” Ballesteros said. “The visit also enabled us to continue strengthening our relationship with the Colombian poultry association, which allows us, at the Council, to better understand some of the most important corn customers in the country and work together to develop the industry and generate more feed demand.”
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.