2016 Year In Review

Text: expanding trade - expanding opportunities

Sharing information, providing networking opportunities and collaborating with partners are all examples of how the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) works across the globe. This year’s theme – Expanding Trade, Expanding Opportunities – highlights the Council’s outreach aimed at creating new markets, developing long-term relationships and enabling trade.

The 2015/2016 marketing year realized substantial exports, with 100 million metric tons of U.S. feed grains in all forms sold across the world. That boom is continuing into the 2016/2017 marketing year, which started in September 2016. In the first month of the new marketing year alone, 10.7 million tons of U.S. feed grains in one form or another were exported. U.S. corn exports in September 2016 increased 89 percent to 6.3 million tons (248 million bushels) year-over-year; and shipments to Japan, South Korea, Peru and Taiwan more than doubled.

These welcomed increases come as the United States once again has a large, high-quality crop available for export. The Council’s global presence through staff and representatives operating out of 10 overseas offices is the heart of its market development efforts, aided by programs like Export Exchange, trade teams, missions and information-sharing conferences.

The Council welcomes you to explore the 2016 Annual Report and supporting materials available on this website, including market profiles, highlights of our work in these global markets and video updates on our key successes. Please also download the PDF version and keep it handy for reference.

We depend on your continued support to promote U.S. barley, corn, sorghum, ethanol and DDGS across the globe. Thank you to all USGC members and partners, and we look forward to another successful year working with you!

Member Letter

Dear U.S. Grains Council members:

For more than 55 years, the Council has worked to develop markets for U.S. corn, sorghum, barley and related products including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). We operate programs in more than 50 countries with the support of farmer and agribusiness members as well as funds from the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program in the 2014 Farm Bill.

A study released in November 2016 looked at the MAP and FMD programs’ impact over the past four decades, showing they contributed an average annual increase of $8.2 billion to farm export revenue – for a total of more than $309 billion. This gain equates to an impressive return on investment of 28 to 1.

Despite these large returns on our efforts, our work is never done. Grain exports are a bright spot in the current farm economy and can grow even further through outreach to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers who live outside U.S. borders. We serve as the bridge that allows our stakeholders to be effective global business leaders.

In the last year, we have focused on finding buyers for a very large corn crop through an intense marketing push while continuing our long-term demand building programs. As a result, we ramped up work in Mexico, Latin America and Southeast Asia while also pursuing new demand in up-and-coming markets like Tanzania, Cuba, Algeria and Malaysia and maintaining solid relationships in Canada, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

Importantly, we also expanded our ethanol export promotion program dramatically in cooperation with Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service; worked hard to help our industry address investigations brought against U.S. DDGS by China; and pushed to open new markets like South Africa despite existing non-tariff barriers.

Meanwhile, we continued helping the U.S. sorghum industry diversify its slate of buyers, including into the European Union and Peru, and worked with the U.S. barley industry to find new opportunities in Latin American craft brewing and Asian food applications.

Finding new opportunities around the world for our grain is the passion of both our members and our staff, who helped pick this year’s theme of Expanding Trade, Expanding Opportunities. We hope you enjoy this review of 2016 as we charge ahead in the new year. As always, we value your support in these endeavors.


Chip Councell

Tom Sleight
President and CEO

Front row, from left: Dick Gallagher, Corn Sector Director; Darren Armstrong, At-Large Director; Jim Raben, At-Large Director; Wendie Cable, Executive Assistant; Charles Ray Huddleston, Sorghum Sector Director; Charles Ring, At-Large Director; Greg Hibner, Agribusiness Sector Director; Ray Defenbaugh, Agribusiness/Ethanol and Co-products Sector Director. Back row, from left: Mark Seastrand, Barley Sector Director; Tom Sleight, President and CEO; Alan Tiemann, Past Chairman; Chip Councell, Chairman; Debra Keller, Vice Chairman; Jim Stitzlein, Secretary/Treasurer; Jim Stuever, At-Large Director; Craig Floss, State Checkoff Sector Director.

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