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LANSING, MI -- A group of grain buyers from Taiwan visited Indiana and Michigan last week to become familiar with production, application, grading and quality standards for U.S. corn and dried distiller's grains with solubles (DDGS). The trip gave stakeholders the chance to gain technical skills and knowledge in handling, procurement and storage and offered critical insight into the advantages of purchasing U.S. corn and DDGS.

The Michigan portion of the trip was in partnership with the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan, which invests Michigan’s check-off dollars in the U.S. Grains Council to help grow global markets for corn, ethanol and DDGS.

Taiwan is the seventh largest U.S. agricultural export market and the sixth largest for U.S. corn. In 2015, Taiwan imported 1.84 million metric tons of corn with 95 percent of the total used for animal feed in the swine and poultry sectors. The Council continues to foster promotion of corn and DDGS in Taiwan through trade teams and ongoing relationship building.

“DDGS use is growing in Taiwan. Currently, the inclusion rate is low, and we’re trying to encourage producers to increase that percentage to create better quality feed,” said Clover Chang, Taiwan office director at the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), the sponsor of this week's team travel.

In order to facilitate this process and encourage confidence in U.S. corn and DDGS purchases, the group took part in a series of learning and information sharing opportunities.

The team made several stops in Michigan including; Herbruck’s Poultry Farm to learn more about egg processing and feed mill operations; CHS Feed Mill in Van Buren; the Green Mark John Deere Dealership in Holland; Poll Farms in Hamilton; and Ruggles Beef Farm in Kingston.

In addition to farms and feed mills, the team visited Carbon Green BioEnergy in Lake Odessa and learned more about both ethanol and DDGS production. While Taiwan is still in the initial stages of ethanol research, the trip gave participants a chance to see how ethanol could be used in the future.

“The Council continues to work to find ways to promote ethanol in Taiwan. This was a great opportunity for stakeholders to see how valuable it can be,” Chang said.

The trip concluded with a visit to the Michigan State University Saginaw Valley Research Center for Ag Innovation Day where the group learned about new research and farming practices being developed in Michigan.

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