Delegates hear how corn quality reports open doors

Farm Forum

In just its third year, the U.S. Grains Council’s Corn Harvest Quality and Corn Export Quality Reports are scoring points around the world. Reporting to Council delegates in Long Beach, Calif., USGC Director of Trade Development and Government Relations in China Kevin Roepke and USGC Manager of Global Trade Alvaro Cordero discussed the many marketing opportunities unlocked by the reports. Roepke and Cordero, along with the Council’s international directors, have been the frontline presenters of the reports to stakeholders abroad.

“The reports are conversation starters,” Roepke said. “First and foremost, our buyers want the information.”

Intense buyer interest was echoed by Duane Aistrope, district seven representative of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, who accompanied Roepke on a presentation tour in north Asia where Aistrope provided a producer perspective on the U.S. corn crop.

“In Japan, for example, we had expected about 100 people, and there were 250,” Aistrope said. “And we recieved many questions. It is clear they were eager for the information.”

But that is only a starting point, Roepke explained. The Council already enjoys a reputation as a reliable provider of relevant and accurate information, and in the corn quality reports, the Council has a tool that is unmatched by competitor countries. This invites comparisons.

Cordero agreed.

“In our travels, we are constantly shown poor quality corn from competitor countries. Price is important, but price is not the only thing. When there is a quality issue with corn from India or Thailand or Ukraine, or a delivery issue due to logistical problems in Argentina or Brazil, the corn quality reports give us good, hard data, not just anecdotes, to market U.S. quality and reliability,” Cordero said.

“It does make a difference,” Cordero and Roepke agree. The reports were initiated in response to quality issues in the 2009 U.S. corn crop. Three years later, they are reinforcing the United States as the world’s most reliable, high quality producer of corn — and of the Council as a trusted partner in fostering long-term relationships that benefit both buyer and seller.