USGC 2020 Annual Report: Market Development Despite Policy, Pandemic Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of China to U.S. trade played major roles in the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) work in 2020 to keep sales of U.S. corn, sorghum, barley, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol flowing to global customers. These stories and more are highlighted in the Council’s 2020 Year In Review, now available online and in members’ mailboxes.

“In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Council staff used every technical means available to keep world markets for U.S. corn, sorghum, barley, DDGS and ethanol open, moving many of our meetings, events and conferences online to promote trade-building relationships,” said Council Chairman Jim Raben and Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand in the letter accompanying the printed report. “We are happy to report we were successful in championing trade with our world partners.”

While China was a big story in the global grains marketplace – buying surging amounts of U.S. corn and sorghum – the year provided many other notable happenings. U.S. corn continued to satisfy growing demand in countries around the world; Vietnam approved a pest risk assessment for U.S. sorghum; U.S. barley fulfilled brewing needs in Mexico; there were market breakthroughs for U.S. DDGS in both Canada and Mexico; and there were pivots worldwide from fuel to industrial ethanol uses.

The Council also welcomed two developments on the trade policy front: a Phase One deal with Japan kicked off the year on Jan. 1, and the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) entered in to force in July.

“We look forward to keeping our members apprised of Council news throughout the year via Global Update, but we also hope they enjoy looking back at the opportunities and challenges the Council has faced and surpassed with our year-in-review stories online,” said Bryan Jernigan, USGC communications director.

USGC members were also sent physical mailers with information on how U.S. grains were exported around the world in 2020 and the Council’s financial report for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Both the mailer and a full accounting of the year’s highlights are now available online.

Read more from the Council’s 2020 year in review.