When the Chinese government’s investigation of U.S. sorghum imports threatened that key market in early 2018, the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) global staff jumped into action to find alternative destinations for the more than 4.6 million metric tons (181 million bushels) of U.S. sorghum, valued at more than $832 million in 2017, that would have ordinarily been purchased by Chinese customers.
In March 2018, the Council and the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) jointly hosted a sorghum promotion program in Spain using Market Access Program (MAP) funds. The delegation included a sorghum farmer from the Texas Panhandle and grain traders as well as representatives from TDA, farm cooperatives and the ethanol industry.
The first of two conferences was held in Barcelona with 80 buyers and traders at the La Llotja Grain Exchange (oldest grain exchange in the European Union), while the second was held in Madrid with 35 buyers and traders at the Federation of Agri-Food Cooperatives and Traders.
The Council continued to monitor developments and provide information to Spanish grain buyers following these events, and when the preliminary duty on U.S. sorghum was announced by China, Spanish customers were among the first the Council contacted.
Since the Chinese announcement, later reversed, the Spanish market has purchased 430,000 tons (16.9 million bushels) of U.S. sorghum, including the shipments diverted from China and 49,500 tons (1.95 million bushels) of new sales of U.S. sorghum valued at $91 million.
The Council invested approximatively $43,000 in 2018 in hosting this team, generating a return on investment of (ROI) of $2,116 for every $1 of MAP 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 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.