News & Events
The leaders of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) traveled to South Korea and Mexico this week in concurrent missions to engage with customers and government officials during a period of policy uncertainty in the U.S. corn industry’s #1 and #3 markets.
The U.S. Grains Council is adding a new strategic director in Asia and assistant director in Southeast Asia as part of a global resource expansion meant to capture near-term demand for feed grain sales and build long-term demand for ethanol among global customers.
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) joined forces this month to put on two one-day workshops for Southeast Asian buyers looking for the latest in market and harvest information and details about how U.S. agricultural products can benefit their businesses.
Manuel Sanchez, USGC regional director for South and Southeast Asia, provided timely insights on the 2017/2018 coarse grains outlook, while other presenters provided outlooks on the global overview for grains and oilseeds.
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) named Manuel Sanchez as its new South & Southeast Asia regional director, effective Aug. 15.
Sanchez previously worked as the assistant director in the region, a new position created by the USGC Board of Directors in September 2016 as part of an effort to more effectively serve these growing markets for U.S. feed grains and co-products.
Exports are brokered across continents, but customers still appreciate the opportunity to talk face-to-face with their suppliers – particularly U.S. farmers.
Developing markets for U.S. ethanol involves a complex combination of trade policy and marketing work. Two U.S. Grains Council (USGC) activities this past week aimed to not only provide insights on ethanol policy development with a role for trade, but also exchange information with government officials, traders and even consumers about the environmental, health and economic benefits of increased ethanol use.
Recent events in foreign policy and the ongoing conversation about the value of U.S. trade agreements have put a spotlight on South Korea as a close U.S. ally and an important customer for U.S. products, including grains.
South Korea is now the fifth largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, totaling $6.2 billion in purchases in 2016. The country was the fourth largest importer of both U.S. corn and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) as well as the seventh largest importer of U.S. barley in the 2015/2016 marketing year.
By: Byong Ryol Min, U.S. Grains Council Director in Korea
While Korea's hog inventory has increased to more than 9.9 million head in 2013, Korea's demand for pork has outpaced its production. Primary due to its inability to supply high quality pork at competitive prices, the Korean swine industry is looking for new ways to be more efficient. This sector is very important for sustaining Korea's demand for U.S. grains, as it used 3.3 million metric tons of grain in 2013, or about 27 percent of the nation's total demand for grain.
After two years of discussion, planning and organization, MAIZALL this week took to the field, meeting with key government and feed industry leaders in South Korea and China. A partnership of the national corn producer organizations of Argentina, Brazil and the United States, MAIZALL is an alliance of the world's top three corn exporting countries, working together to advocate the elimination of trade barriers, acceptance of modern agricultural technology and enhancement of food security through trade.
Korean imports of U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) have increased more than 100 percent since with continued growth potential as Korean nutritionists gain confidence in utilizing DDGS in swine rations. The U.S. Grains Council hosted a webinar last week aimed at feed formulators, swine extension specialists and pork producers, giving the Council a longer reach into the Korean swine industry and enabling local partners to share information more broadly among industry colleagues.
Lower oilseed and grain prices have prompted a bevy of overseas buying. Corn prices have fallen to a three year low, amidst huge and better than expected harvest reports. Last week, the USDA reported net corn sales of 1.3 million metric tons (51.2 million bushels) and more than a quarter million tons (9.8 million bushels) of new sorghum sales. The bulk of the new sales are destined for unknown destinations, accounting for 428,000 tons (16.8 million bushels) of corn and almost 176,000 tons (6.9 million bushels) of sorghum.
In 2012 Korea was the third largest corn importer in the world and the fourth largest market for U.S. corn. Yet because of the drought of 2012, U.S. imports have dropped to less than 1 percent so far in the 2013 calendar year, according to Korean import statistics. This has propelled the U.S. Grains Council to engage in aggressive programming to reinvigorate Korean buyers for U.S. corn.
Next stops: Korea and China.
MAIZALL is on the move. Earlier this year, the U.S. Grains Council joined the National Corn Growers Association, and MAIZAR and ABRAMHILO, the leading corn producer's organizations in Argentina and Brazil, in announcing a strategic alliance focused on food security, market access, and biotechnology. Since then, the partners have worked hard on governance issues, bylaws, articles of incorporation, and funding. And now, after two years of discussion and a year of concentrated effort, MAIZALL is lifting off.
India's poultry industry currently sells 95 percent of its product through wet markets, fresh food markets where animals are sold live and then processed either onsite or in the consumer's home. These wet markets pose numerous sanitary risks and are inaccessible to long-distance consumers. Moving to a processed poultry market would give India better control of food safety and quality, and would over time increase consumer confidence.
By Adel Yusupov, U.S. Grains Council Regional Director for Southeast Asia
Earlier this month, the U.S. Grains Council travelled to Vietnam to meet with key corn and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) customers in north and south Vietnam. Feed demand is steadily growing in the country, despite slowdown of Vietnamese economy and feed milling companies increasing capacity. While imports of U.S. DDGS as of March are down year or year by 3 percent, they are expected to grow.
"The American agricultural system is astounding. We will overproduce again, you can bank on it," said Kelly Davis of the Renewable Fuels Association. During her presentation at a U.S. Grains Council organized conference in South Korea, Davis reassured longtime customers of the United States ability to produce enough for its three major markets: ethanol, domestic livestock and exports.
By Tommy Hamamoto, U.S. Grains Council Director in Japan
Update: In March, the U.S. Grains Council showcased U.S. sorghum at FOODEX Japan 2013, the largest food tradeshow in Asia. More than 71,500 food and restaurant industry professionals were in attendance and were able to sample sorghum products and recieve more information on U.S. grains.
Price, price, price ... talks this week with major South Korean importers send one message loud and clear: Korea has a strong preference for U.S. corn provided that it is competitively priced.
Sales of U.S. barley and malting barley to Korea jumped significantly in 2012 thanks to implementation of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) a year ago this week and to timely promotions of barley by the U.S. Grains Council and other organizations.
By Tommy Hamamoto, U.S. Grains Council Director in Japan
Last week, the U.S. Grains Council participated in FOODEX Japan 2013, the largest food tradeshow in Asia, where more than 71,500 food and restaurant industry professionals were in attendance. In cooperation with Organic Foods Life Co., Ltd., a manufacturer of a new line of white sorghum products, the Council offered samples of a U.S. white sorghum creme soy sauce, sprouted white sorghum crackers and a white sorghum salad dressing.
By Clover Chang, U.S. Grains Council Director in Taiwan
The U.S. Grains Council’s Taiwan office participated in the USA Pavilion during the 22nd annual Taipei International Food Show from June 27 to 30. This has been one of the most influential food shows in Asia since 1991, highlighting the latest and best in the culinary world, and continues to expand every year.
Our office introduced the health characteristics of U.S. high beta-glucan barley and food products made from U.S. barley to more than 50,000 visitors, including local and other overseas industry professionals.
Jointly organized by the U.S. Grains Council and the American Soybean Association-International Marketing, the 6th Asia Grain Transportation Conference generated more than $113 million worth of U.S. agricultural product sales, including corn and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS).
South Korea is one of the best examples of how high commodity prices encourage the search for alternative feed ingredients.
The columns in blue show total Korean corn feed use (all imported) over the past decade, rising to 7 million metric tons (278.6 million bushels) in 2007/2008 and declining to 6 million tons (236.2 million bushels) in 2011/2012. But that decline in corn use is more than compensated for by increases in wheat feeding and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) imports.
The rapidly increasing entrepreneurial spirit witnessed in Vietnam encouraged participants of the U.S. Grains Council’s Corn Mission about future opportunities for U.S. agricultural products.
Nine U.S. producers and corn organization staff traveled to Japan, China and Vietnam Nov. 28-Dec. 9 for a firsthand look at the challenges of developing and defending export markets and to share insights on the U.S. 2011 crop supply and quality. Participants met with international customers, key foreign government officials and the Council’s foreign-based international staff.
Every few years South Africa produces enough corn to compete for export sales. The latest statistics from the South African Grain Information Service show that in the May-April 2010/11 marketing year South Africa exported 1.05 million metric tons (41 million bushels) of white corn and 1.02 million metric tons (40 million bushels) of yellow corn.
The U.S. Grains Council salutes Congress on final passage of the long-stalled free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea. These agreements provide significant benefits for U.S. agricultural trade and the U.S. economy by leveling the playing field in markets where U.S. producers have been laboring under an unfair competitive disadvantage. Ratification of the agreements provides for immediate duty-free access for most U.S. goods, creating opportunities for increases in U.S. agricultural exports which will generate economic growth and U.S. jobs.
One of the U.S. Grains Council’s most powerful tools for building ties with foreign customers is its ability to arrange on-farm visits that immerse teams in the real world of U.S. agricultural production.
“Having teams visit our farms and see how we do the production helps them to understand that we can provide the grain they need,” says Roger Zylstra, an Iowa Corn Growers Association director who has welcomed many groups to his grain and hog operation.
Tremendous growth and significant change is occurring within India, and Sambhav Chowdhary, vice president of Santosh Starch, will provide a firsthand perspective at the U.S. Grains Council’s 51st Annual Board of Delegates Meeting July 25-27 in San Francisco, Calif.
As vice president of Santosh Starch, one of India’s largest corn millers, Chowdhary oversees wet milling operations in Western and Southern India.
U.S. farmer checkoff funds, combined with Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) funds, spent in Indonesia generated a return of 1,750 percent and resulted in more than $52.5 million in new U.S. grain purchases in fiscal year 2011.
Using imported resins made from U.S. corn in Blair, Neb., Taiwan has long been one of the pioneers in the production of packaging materials made from polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable plastic-like material used to make everything from plastic cups to egg cartons and even noodle soup containers.
U.S. exports to Korea may be slightly affected by a recent bout of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), but not to the point of great concern, the U.S. Grains Council said.
On Nov. 29, 2010, an outbreak of FMD was first detected in the Republic of Korea and has since spread throughout the country. With more than 100 confirmed cases, this outbreak marks the country’s worst battle with the disease since 2002, which resulted in the slaughtering of 160,000 head of livestock.
In response to growing concerns about food security, Korea recently announced the creation of a national grain procurement system. The newly created consortium is comprised of five major parties, including...
Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Corporation, a government-invested entity and a key player of the consortium; CJ CheilJedang Corporation, a feed miller and food manufacturer; Samsung C&T Corporation, a general trading company; STX, an export elevator investor; and Hanjin Shipping.
The lack of scientific information and understanding of genetically enhanced grains hinders the U.S. ability to fully penetrate the South Korean market. This lack of information renders negative publicity and consumer perception resulting in the enforcement of strict biotechnology labeling laws. Additionally, the Korean government expanded biotech food labeling regulations to include corn syrup and corn oil, as well as to cover all food products that contain biotech food ingredients and biotech additives.
By Mike Callahan, U.S. Grains Council Senior Director of International Operations for Asia
In last night’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said he wanted exports to double within the next five years. He said it was vital to our nation that the United States and especially U.S. farmers provide the agricultural products that are sought around the world. I found this encouraging to our efforts of the U.S. Grains Council with the funding from U.S. farmers’ checkoffs and U.S. agribusinesses.