USGC staff members talk global grain demand drivers at Tampa member meeting
Global markets for U.S. grains are interconnected and affected by demand challenges originating in the United States and elsewhere — a picture made clearer at the Council’s 17th International Marketing Conference and 60th Annual Membership Meeting in Tampa, Fla.
At the meeting’s opening general session, more than 350 attendees heard the latest details and predictions on China, weather and trade policy so they could better anticipate and plan for this year’s season, including speeches by Ambassador Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council; Eric Snodgrass, principal atmospheric scientist at Nutrien Ag Solutions; and Ken Levinson, executive director of the Washington International Trade Association.
“We want stable, long-term buyers in China,” Allen said in his opening remarks about the ongoing and developing relationship with one of the United States’ biggest trading partners. “Nothing else is acceptable and we will work to that end.”
Snodgrass spoke to the power of Mother Nature’s long-term weather and climate issues, saying the Corn Belt is getting consistently wetter and farmers will need better tools to manage increased precipitation.
Levinson shared how the dynamics driving agreements with major partners – China, Mexico, Canada and Japan – hold the potential to gain new market access.
Afterwards, USGC staff members from overseas offices reacted to how these drivers are interconnected and how they impact trade in the markets in which they work.
Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and CEO, moderated the session of international directors including Alejandra Danielson Castillo, director in South Asia; Tommy Hamamoto, director in Japan; Marri Tejada, director for the Western Hemisphere; and Manuel Sanchez, director for Southeast Asia.
From a tariff rate quota in Brazil to a new free trade agreement partner – Japan – and potential free trade agreement partner — Vietnam — each director spoke about positive developments in their own countries and regions and how current events are impacting how they develop markets for U.S. grains, enable trade and improve lives in these places.
“Our expert country and regional directors and their staff members around the world tackle these very challenges every day to expand markets for U.S. grains,” LeGrand said. “They allow us to be successful for the corn, sorghum and barley sector producers who make up our membership.”
“It’s important for our members to hear from these experts as they move into their Advisory Team meetings to formulate recommendations for moving trade forward in 2020,” said USGC Chairman Darren Armstrong, a farmer from North Carolina.
Loaded with information and insights from both the speakers and the Council’s overseas directors, attendees participated in three in-depth Advisory Team (A-Team) meetings, during which Council members helped to identify opportunities, set priorities and chart the course for the organization’s annual strategic plan.