As trade tensions between the United States and China in 2018 disrupted U.S. sorghum sales, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to identify rapid response funds that would allow the sorghum sector to aggressively market the displaced sorghum to alternative markets around the world. USDA provided the Council with a $305,000 Section 108 grant to promote U.S. sorghum in Spain, Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea.
The Council immediately targeted Spain, a traditional market for U.S. sorghum that had not purchased substantial quantities of U.S. sorghum in recent years due to strong demand from the Chinese market. The Council hosted a U.S. sorghum trade delegation to meet with buyers throughout Spain and promote the opportunity provided by U.S. sorghum.
As a follow up, the Council hosted a team comprised of the leading grain importers and end-users from Spain and Portugal to attend the Export Exchange 2018 buyers conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in October 2018. This venue served as an opportunity to strengthen their relationships with U.S. grain suppliers and agribusinesses; during the conference, the Spanish and Portuguese buyers team met with U.S. suppliers and service providers across the value chain and had the chance to learn about current supply and demand for U.S. feed products.
As a result, in 2018, the Spanish market purchased 250,000 metric tons of U.S. sorghum, including the shipments diverted from China, and another 285,000 tons of new sales. In addition, Spain imported more than 1.2 million tons of U.S. corn and nearly 200,000 tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in 2018. Another 400,000 tons of U.S. sorghum were imported by Spain during the first half of 2019, reaching a total quantity of 1 million tons during the last 12 months.
The Council’s efforts to promote the return of U.S. sorghum to the Iberian Peninsula used Sorghum Section 108 funds, an investment of approximatively $38,500 that generated $50 million in export sales to Spain, a return on investment of (ROI) of $1,300 for every $1 of Section 108 funds invested.
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.