Japanese Grain Traders Visit Midwest

Japanese grain team explored identity preservation system in Missouri and other Corn Belt states.

A team representing Japanese grain importers and end users toured the Show-Me State last week to learn more about value enhanced grains and the U.S. identity preservation system.

Sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council, the group followed value-enhanced grains from the field all the way to the export elevator. The trip began in St. Louis, where the team visited the Monsanto research facility and headquarters to learn more about high value corn in the biotech development pipeline, plus ethanol and corn quality traits. They also visited the farms of Greg Shively, David Farrell, Carroll Family Farms in Missouri.

The Japanese team was interested in growers' prospects for producing IP corn in the future as well as identifying sources for high extractable starch corn and hard endosperm corn with larger kernel size.

"Team members have seen firsthand the specialty corns such as high extractable starch, white and hard endosperm in the field and were encouraged by the high quality," says Hiroko Sakashita, USGC associate director in Japan. "They were also impressed by the sincere commitment of IP corn growers who value the export market to meet the needs of food manufacturers in Japan."

At the Consolidated Grain and Barge VEG loading facility in Illinois, the team learned about process verification systems and traceability to assure identity and quality of specialty corn during the handling process.

The tour wrapped up Sept. 28 with a tour of the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration lab in Destrehan, La., followed by one at the Zennoh export elevator. The group also received an overview of tests conducted on grain exports and a tour of the Eurofins GeneScan, Inc. facility.

Japan imported nearly 2 million metric tons (78.7 million bushels) of U.S. corn for starch during the first seven months of 2007.

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