Commodity organizations, agribusinesses and general farm organizations representing the depth of the U.S. grains value chain help the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) thrive in establishing relationships around the world and enabling the trade of U.S. coarse grains, co-products and ethanol.
The Council’s membership includes 26 state checkoff entities focused on barley, corn and sorghum producers, the national sorghum checkoff and more than 25 state or national associations and farm bureaus. Additionally, the Council’s membership includes more than 115 U.S. agribusinesses, representing life sciences, seed providers, equipment storage and handling, marketing, transportation, ethanol plants and milling.
“The Council’s members are spread out through the value chain, which enhances the organization’s ability to create targeted, effective programs,” said Lyndsey Erb, USGC director of industry relations. “With the robust mix of input providers, the Council is able to develop programs with a well-rounded trajectory.”
Farmer leadership and agribusiness partners serve on the Council’s Board of Directors, Board of Delegates and Advisory Teams, promoting conversations about how to best serve all sectors and overseas customers. These dialogues – and the forum the Council creates to promote them – have contributed to increased market access, trade dispute resolution and general expansion of U.S. agriculture exports over nearly 60 years of Council operations.
A recent case study of how the Council’s membership mix helps build and defend markets is the export protocol for U.S. barley being sold to China, a success decades in the making that required collaboration between the barley industry, USGC offices and both governments. The Council has actively promoted U.S. barley in China since the early 1990s, but phytosanitary standards were finally completed as part of the recent U.S.-China Phase 1 deal, opening the door for more barley market development.
Similarly, a new pest risk assessment was approved this month by both the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). The approval followed nearly five years of efforts by the Council, the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP), the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), as well as regulators and industry in Vietnam. The risk assessment allows U.S. sorghum to flow into the country for uses including pet food and liquor as well feed product for the aquaculture, poultry and swine industries.
Collaboration also helps the Council defend markets when necessary. During a Peruvian countervailing duty (CVD) case against U.S. corn, the Council worked with nine state growers and agribusiness partners, representing the U.S. corn industry. The input from members was crucial to winning the case.
“The Council represented the U.S. corn industry in Peru to fight against the countervailing duty (CVD) case,” Erb said. “The United States won full market access for U.S. corn into Peru, a great success for the Council and members.”
USGC staff work diligently with agribusiness and checkoff members to improve trade policy internationally. Consistent communication with members and international customers allows the Council to develop effective strategies to help end-users around the world improve operations while adding new export destinations for U.S. coarse grains, co-products and ethanol.
“As a result of the relationships the Council has built and continues to build with its members, the staff has access to the most recent and relevant information on the U.S. market system. This insight is applied to the programs the Council creates globally to best serve members,” Erb said. “In turn, the Council is able to use information from its members to match U.S. exports with the specific needs of international customers.”
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.