Mission to South Korea, Japan focuses on corn quality

U.S. Grains Council
Farm Forum

Farmer leaders and key staff from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) traveled to South Korea and Japan recently to participate in the rollout of the Council’s 2016/2017 corn harvest quality report.

Participating in the mission included:

• Jim Stitzlein, Consolidated Grain and Barge Co., and the Council’s secretary/treasurer;

• Alan Tiemann, Nebraska Corn Board and the Council’s past chairman;

• Mark Seastrand, North Dakota Barley Council and the Council’s Barley Sector director;

• Dick Gallagher, director for the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and the Council’s Corn Sector director;

• Kimberly Atkins, vice president and COO; and

• Floyd Gaibler, director of trade policy and biotechnology.

In South Korea, the group met with the chief executives of feed industry buyers; participated in the Korea office’s annual corn quality conference; and had discussions with local USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) officials.

Team members also visited the Cargill Agri Purina Feed Mill, the world’s largest animal feed mill with a capacity of 870,000 tons per year, and Pyeongtaek Taeyoung Grain Terminal.

For decades, the Council’s programs have contributed to growth in the livestock and corn processing industries in South Korea, where the coarse grains import market has expanded to more than 12 MMT annually from less than half a million tons in the early 1970s.

“During these visits, it was clear that our customers very much appreciate the information we are able to provide and especially hearing directly from U.S. producers,” Atkins said. “In turn, we appreciate the opportunity to continue to demonstrate that the United States is a reliable, transparent supplier of high-quality feed grains and how much we value these loyal and consistent buyers of U.S. corn and co-products.”

Later, in Japan, the group participated in another conference rolling out the quality reports, with more than 140 local buyers and industry representatives in attendance. They offered details about the report’s findings and a full review of global corn supply and demand.

The delegation also met with officials at the local FAS office, JA Zennoh, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to exchange opinions and views on grain and ethanol trade.

Japan is a mature and stable market for U.S. feed grains that is driven in part by a high level of Council engagement with the local industry and government on issues including supply, quality, biotechnology and sustainability.

“Membership involvement in missions like this one is critical to the USGC’s efforts to bolster confidence in the United States as a reliable supplier and to encourage purchases from the U.S. versus other available origins,” Atkins said. “We benefit greatly from engaged members and leadership willing to visit these markets and forge meaningful relationships with our customers.”

The 2016/2017 Corn Harvest Quality Report includes unique and valuable information for Asian customers on new-crop U.S. grain, with details on grade factors, physical factors and chemical composition. Each year, they are a critical part of USGC’s outreach in these markets and others around the world.