The U.S. Grains Council (USGC), with the U.S. Soybeans Export Council (USSEC), presented the 2nd Virtual U.S. Grains and Soy Buyers Conference on Sept. 13 and 14. The two-day event was designed to provide participants with an enhanced understanding of world grain flows and the key factors driving agriculture today, while promoting the U.S. crop quality advantage. For years, the SEA buyers conference has become a premier industry event that brings together high-level executives from feed, livestock production and grain trading companies in Southeast Asia.
With the new crop season for corn and soybeans just months away in the United States, the conference timing allowed Southeast Asian customers to hear from key industry stakeholders on their insights and trade practices.
Manuel Sanchez, USGC’s regional director for Southeast Asia and Oceania (SEA), and Caleb Wurth, the Council’s SEA assistant regional director, acted as event moderators, leading discussion and panels throughout the conference.
Participants from 15 countries were in attendance, including Australia, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
“We had a whopping 430 registered attendees for the virtual buyers’ conference,” said Sanchez. “That might be a new record for attendees since we’ve started hosting virtual events.”
Additionally, Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and CEO, provided opening remarks at the conference, while several other Council members and staff acted as presenters.
“Conferences such as this are the cornerstone of USGC programming in Southeast Asia,” LeGrand said. “In addition to facilitating discussions between traders and customers, this conference will offer trade servicing and value-added opportunities to partners in the region.”
Gail Lierer, past chair of the Ohio Corn Marketing Program and leader of the USGC Asia advisory team (A-team), and Jay Schutte, chairman of the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and USGC Asia A-team member, provided grower leadership presentations.
Lierer and Schutte spoke about U.S. corn grower perspectives on the current crop situation and the importance of export markets to U.S. agriculture.
“Speaking at the U.S. Grains and Soy Buyers Conference was a great opportunity to connect with our buyers,” Lierer said. “It also allowed us to tell participants about our fall harvest and a little bit about our farming operation.”
Chuin Shern Lee, USGC’s SEA regional marketing manager, was the final presenter for day one of the conference, sharing the importance of managing risk in volatile markets.
“Heightened volatility is expected to be extended into next year, which is why it is so important to manage your prices to keep your business profitable,” Lee said.
On the second day of the conference, Michael Lu, the Council’s Taiwan director, shared his insights on China’s current buying trends and expectations for future imports of U.S. corn and soybeans.
“Global market participants are paying special attention to China and whether it will continue its massive importation program of corn and beans. China’s actions will deeply influence market volatility,” Lu said. “China will continue to have a great impact on commodity markets, not only agricultural products but also metals and energy. The sizable population and rapid improvements to the quality of life in China have created a continuous demand for most agricultural commodities. Therefore, China’s appetite for corn and soybeans will not end, but will only temporarily slow down.”
In addition to speaker presentations, attendees had the opportunity to network at virtual trade booths each day. Several USGC members hosted booths, including Scoular, Valero Marketing and Supply Company, CHS Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Company, Trans Globe, Ag Processing, Inc., International Feed, The Andersons, Inc. and the DeLong Company, Inc.
Together, USGC and USSEC have served the Southeast Asian feed and livestock industry for a century, providing support and educational programs to those in the region. The U.S. Grains and Soy Buyers Conference has continued to be a successful event that provides opportunities for top-level decision-makers to interact and communicate on trade and product issues.
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.