News & Events
In September, the U.S. Grains Council, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy conducted the first of three initial missions to explore the possibilities for U.S. ethanol exports overseas. The missions will travel to different markets to meet with energy sector leaders and learn about local biofuel and energy needs.
While abroad, the team will explore areas of common interest and the specific biofuel requirements in each region. The team also hopes to demonstrate to contacts the growing affordability of ethanol and its potential as a clean fuel alternative to gasoline.
As harvest wraps up in the United States, farmers are already beginning to plan next year’s crop. After a year in which corn prices fell significantly due to an anticipated bumper crop, growers throughout the United States are considering many factors when making their planting decisions for 2015. The U.S. Grains Council spoke with farmers from Missouri, Iowa and Texas and asked them, “How do you choose what to plant?”
Dick Gallagher, Iowa corn and soybean farmer
Q: How do you decide how much of each crop to plant each year?
Following the trend of the last decade, financing for grains commodities will continue to be readily available next year. As liquidity remains high and interest rates remain low, financing risk should also remain low.
“In the last decade, we’ve had tremendous amounts of liquidity on a global basis,” said Terry Barr, senior director of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “The central banks have made significant infusions into the financial markets. The last decade has been a very atypical period with near zero interest rates and very accommodative central banks across the globe.”
In August, Russian officials announced the country would ban or limit many agricultural imports from the United States, the European Union, Norway, Canada and Australia. This was done in retaliation for sanctions imposed by these countries on the Russian banking, energy and defense industries in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Conversely, Russia has no plans to cease grain exports out of the country, which are imported by several countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The bans have already led to larger than expected inflation and higher food prices in the country.
As corn harvest begins in the United States, farmers from around the country are preparing for an abundant crop. Record-breaking numbers are expected due to ideal summer growing weather.
A Slow Start Turns to a Solid Finish
The U.S. corn crop has recovered from a cold, wet spring that delayed planting in many parts of the country. The plants grew quickly thanks to mostly good weather conditions through the summer, and began the crucial pollination stage on time.
Grain shipments in northern tier states slowed dramatically last winter because of extended freezing temperatures and heavy snow, which caused significant rail delays. As temperatures warmed, railroads still had to deal with tremendous backlogs and growing volumes across multiple commodities while preparing for another record harvest.
Last month, Union Pacific Railroad’s Assistant Vice President of Grain and Grain Products Hasan Hyder discussed with U.S. Grains Council leadership the ways Union Pacific is growing its business to support the booming grains markets.
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is pleased to announce the promotion of Kevin Roepke to regional director of South and Southeast Asia. Since January, Roepke has worked as a director of trade development in China.
"During his short time in China, Kevin has proven himself to be an extremely valuable member of our international staff," said USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight. "His strong business and trade background, excellent insights into the market and exceptional communications skills make him an ideal fit for this region.”
With good weather conditions continuing through July and into August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) again predicted a record-breaking 2014/2015 U.S. corn crop in its World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) August report. Supply estimates also continue to outpace domestic demand, leading to an abundance of corn available for export next year.
Ron Gray, a farmer from Illinois, was recently elected to serve as the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) chairman for 2014/2015.
Following his election, Gray announced the Council’s new theme for 2014/2015, “Global Awareness, Global Connections.” The theme embraces the opportunities and partnerships that come from trade, while acknowledging there is still work to be done to expand and improve global connections.
Marri Carrow, U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) longtime director of communications, moved this month to a new position as the Council’s regional director of the Western Hemisphere. In her new role, Carrow will identify and address critical trade, technical and policy factors to develop markets for U.S. coarse grains and co-products in that region. She will be based in the Council’s office in Panama.