Missouri corn farmer Rob Korff, of Norborne, returned Dec. 10 from a trade mission to Japan, China and Vietnam where he witnessed firsthand the use of U.S. corn and corn co-products. Encouraging further partnerships with foreign agricultural producers, Korff joined growers from seven other states on the 2011 U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Corn Mission.
"This was a tremendous learning opportunity," noted Korff. "These countries represent a vibrant market for U.S. corn farmers. Japan is the No. 1 export market for our corn, but China is quickly gaining speed. What surprised me most was the incredible demand for protein in China and Vietnam. This is a strong indicator of the growing global consumption of feed grains like corn and soybean meal."
During the 10-day mission, the team toured various agricultural end users, visiting a hog farm, feed manufacturer and port facilities. The delegation also met with agricultural leaders, learned about the current use of U.S. corn and corn co-products and discussed market expansion opportunities for America's grain farmers.
"I was really impressed with the U.S. Grains Council and the positions they have in these countries," Korff said. "The relationships they have developed with the feed buyers, grain importers and farmers, combined with these face-to-face meetings, are priceless in marketing our products overseas. Continuing the conversations and maintaining these relationships will help move U.S. farmers forward as demand for our product continues to grow."
Korff is chairman of the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and serves as a board member for the Missouri Corn Growers Association.
Other members of the mission included:
• Bruce Wetzel, director, Texas Corn Producer Board
• Pat Feldpausch, president, Corn Marketing Program of Michigan
• Tom Mueller, director, Illinois Corn Marketing Board
• Randy Woodruff, director, Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board
• Paul Herringshaw, vice chairman, Ohio Corn Marketing Program
• Kurt Hora, director, Iowa Corn Growers Association
• Kelly Brunkhorst, ag program manager, Nebraska Corn Board
• Nancy Kavazanjian, communications director, Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board Inc.
The 2011 Corn Mission was made possible in part by matching funds from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. The Missouri Corn Merchandising Council is a longstanding supporter of the U.S. Grains Council and its mission to expand grain marketing opportunities abroad.
FYISource: Missouri Corn Growers Association