USGC’s Global Industry Partners Conference Brings Key Stakeholders, Staff Together

Last week, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) staff from its nine worldwide offices and representatives from commodity checkoff partner organizations came together for the Council’s biannual Global Industry Partners Conference (GIPC) held in Marrakech, Morocco.

“GIPC is an important conference for the Council because it aligns Council staff and state checkoff staff on our market development strategies,” said Ellen Zimmerman, USGC director of industry relations. “It’s also a great opportunity for U.S.-based staff and members to connect with international staff face to face and gain detailed knowledge about the Council’s programs and strategic vision.”

Topics for the week centered around the Council’s achievements since its last GIPC in 2022 and future programming plans that will be possible thanks in part to additional funding opportunities via the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Regional Access Promotion Program (RAPP).

Attendees also received updates on the organization’s trade policy and sustainability efforts and received market-by-market updates on ethanol and feed grains from directors in its international offices.

After the conference, Council staff and checkoff members were invited to tour COPAG, a major citrus and dairy cooperative and manufacturer in southern Morocco. The Council has sponsored several projects for COPAG in the last 20 years, including providing engineering and start up support for a modern feedlot and three large dairy operations that have become models for a modern dairy industry in Morocco and helped promote the use of corn and corn co-products in ruminant diets throughout the country. Morocco only produced 80,000 metric tons (MT) of ruminant feeds annually two decades ago, but now, as a result of the COPAG model ruminant feeds, exceeds 1.3 million MT annually.

“It’s incredible to see how COPAG’s operation has expanded in just two decades and how U.S. export opportunities to Morocco have increased as a result,” said Kurt Shultz, USGC senior director of global strategies. “Touring its facilities is a learning experience for staff and members as they see the results of the Council’s work and long-term investments firsthand.”