WASHINGTON, D.C. — A 24-member team of feed grain and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) buyers and a Korean government official will be in the United States from Oct. 3-15 to better understand grain quality control and export systems in Washington, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois. The team is the first of 21 groups with participants from 51 countries that will travel to the United States as a lead up to the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) marquee event, Export Exchange.
Export Exchange is a biennial educational and trade forum for U.S. feed grains that will host more than 400 international buyers and end-users. This year’s edition will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from Oct. 12-14.
“The Council is delighted to have the chance to hold Export Exchange again for the first time since 2018 and to welcome in a diverse range of accompanying trade teams,” said Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and CEO. “It’s a great opportunity for foreign buyers to create connections with U.S. producers that can last a lifetime and benefit all parties.”
This program will be crucial for stakeholders in the Korean feed industry who have been unable to travel and conduct in-person business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability to see the U.S. value chain from farms to ports is an immeasurable asset for buyers, building their trust in U.S. product and providing the building blocks for long-term partnerships.
“In a situation where the grain market is very unstable due to extreme drought concerns in the northern hemisphere and the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, the harvest situation and quality of U.S. corn are of the greatest concern to Korean buyers,” said Haksoo Kim, USGC director in South Korea. “This visit will serve as an opportunity to strengthen ties with U.S. producers and suppliers and expand purchases of corn and DDGS, as Korea is the fifth largest importer of U.S. corn and the third largest importer of DDGS.”
The Korean team will have its first hands-on experience on Oct. 4 when they visit a grain export terminal and a grain inspection service in Washington. The group will then travel to the heartland for a meeting with Nebraska Corn on Oct. 5 and have a tour of an ethanol plant, as well as discussions with key logistical supply chain partners, on Oct. 6.
The Oct. 7 itinerary will feature a morning meeting with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Julie Kenney at the state capitol, along with a farm tour and visit to the Iowa Corn Growers’ Association in the afternoon.
“Strengthening the relationships between international buyers and our state-level partners is one of the highlights of the trade teams that the Council sponsors,” LeGrand said. “Personally, knowing who you’re doing business with is a factor that cannot be underestimated, and trade teams help ensure that U.S. product is the first choice for importers in Korea and beyond.”
Participants will arrive in Illinois on Oct. 8 in preparation for visits to local grain elevators and business-to-business meetings on Oct. 10. The group is then set to arrive in Minneapolis on Oct. 11 in anticipation of a packed schedule for Export Exchange 2022, which will feature expert speakers on the key topics in the global agricultural marketplace, such as outlooks on international demand, policy challenges and opportunities and logistical export overviews. The event is also a major networking and business opportunity, where more than $400 million in grain sales were made in 2018.
“For Korean buyers who have had limited opportunities to meet and discuss deals with U.S. suppliers due to COVID-19, Export Exchange is expected to deliver great results for finding new suppliers and expanding purchase contracts with existing suppliers,” Kim said. “Business consultations between suppliers and buyers through this year’s Export Exchange will contribute to an expected 1.2 million tons of U.S. DDGS exports to Korea, a record amount.”
More information will be made available online at www.exportexchange.org or on social media using the hashtag #ExEx22.