Skip to main content

Michigan farmers travel overseas to promote export of U.S. corn

Two groups of corn farmers traveled to Morocco, Egypt, Japan and Korea recently to help roll out the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) 2015/2016 Corn Harvest Quality Report to eager international audiences.

USGC is funded and directed by its members, including the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan (CMPM), and farmer-members often act as the boots on the ground, promoting the mission of the USGC.

“Our work with the U.S. Grains Council is so important to the future profitability of corn farmers in Michigan,” said Jim Zook, executive director of the CMPM. “Funding the council is one of the ways we invest our farmers’ checkoff dollars to develop new markets for corn, ethanol, and dried distillers grains and ultimately grow the bottom line for Michigan corn farmers.”

This week’s groups included two Michigan farmers; Jeff Sandborn, a farmer from Portland, MI, who traveled to Morocco and Egypt; and Russel Braun, a farmer from Ovid, MI, who traveled to Japan and Korea.

The groups met with traders, feed millers, major livestock producers, corn processors, food and beverage companies and government officials to provide them information on U.S. corn quality, supply, production and demand as well as anticipated changes in future corn supply and demand.

“By providing the U.S. farmer’s perspective, along with the information in the corn quality report, the Council and its members are able to build rapport and trust in key markets around the world,” said Cary Sifferath, senior director of global programs at USGC. “In addition, they can hear any concerns and issues directly from our international customers and take that information home to inform work in their associations and checkoffs.”

For customers in mature markets like Japan and Korea, this information and visits from corn farmers help to bolster confidence in the United States as a reliable supplier and encourages purchase from the U.S. versus other available origins.

The two conferences in the Middle East were regional events, with the 60 participants in Cairo hailing from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Lebanon and the 60 participants in Casablanca coming from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Turkey.