Celebrity Blog Post From Alan Tiemann, U.S. Grains Council Chairman & Nebraska Farmer
With nearly 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the United States, markets beyond our borders offer momentous growth potential for U.S. corn exports both as grain and in value-added forms. However, the glut of corn available on the global market and the strong U.S. dollar right now are making it difficult for U.S. corn to remain competitive.
That’s where the work of the U.S. Grains Council comes in to help find where demand is in the short term and build off the high-quality, established brand of U.S. corn for long-term success. Our work takes many forms, some familiar and some not so familiar, but each tailored to fit an individual market’s needs.
With long-time partners in markets such as Mexico, we are focused on maximizing the U.S. marketing advantage and expanding sales of U.S. coarse grains and co-products. Right now, our work with our neighbor is focused on face-to-face meetings with potential DDGS buyers in the region’s underserved Southern market; promoting U.S. barley malt to up-and-coming craft brewers; and addressing questions about U.S. corn and sorghum supply and demand with key buyers and end-users.
Mature markets like Korea and Taiwan are high-income countries with stable and gaining populations that have sophisticated food production and marketing systems. Here, we aim for consistent demand achieved through activities that provide local buyers the information and relationships they need to feel confident in their purchases. A good example of this was a team the Council hosted in association with the Taiwanese Agricultural Goodwill Mission that visited the United States last year, during which time our visitors signed a letter of intent committing to purchasing 5 million metric (196.8 million bushels) of U.S. corn and 0.5 million tons of U.S. corn co-products valued at $1.23 billion by 2017.
We also take opportunities to seek out new and innovative markets: feeding trials to promote U.S. DDGS as an economical aquaculture feed ingredient in Southeast Asia; consultations to show the benefits of U.S. DDGS to customers in the Middle East and North Africa; and work with Tanzanian poultry producers and farmers to increase their capacity to produce higher-quality products for their own consumers and, over the long term, build demand for coarse grains as feed.
Some of our work touches buyers around the world, versus in one particular region. For instance, each year, we release two quality reports with detailed information on corn quality as the crop is harvested and as it enters into export channels. Our staff and members – including Iowa corn farmers – meet with customers globally face-to-face to talk through these reports, answer questions and build their confidence in the U.S. as a reliable supplier.
Every other year, the Council and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) host the Export Exchange conference, which brings together nearly 200 international buyers and end-users with more than 300 domestic suppliers. We will hold this event in Detroit in October this year.
The Council is committed to being the world’s trusted bridge between U.S. corn, ethanol, sorghum and barley producers, agribusinesses and international customers and to seeking out new opportunities and building partnerships that increase demand for U.S. coarse grains and co-products abroad. Ultimately, this increased demand helps improve U.S. corn producers’ bottom line.
As some of us at the Council like to say, when trade works, the world wins.
More about the Council is available at www.grains.org. In addition, the Council has an online presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn and Instagram, which are regularly updated with new information, clips and photos related to the global grains trade.