U.S. grain leaders promote corn quality in South Korea, Japan

South Korea's coarse grain imports have significantly expanded since 1970s.

Farmer leaders and key staff from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) recently traveled to South Korea and Japan to participate in the rollout of USGC’s 2016-17 corn harvest quality report.

In South Korea, the group met with the chief executives of feed industry buyers, participated in the Korea office's annual corn quality conference and had discussions with local officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

Team members also visited the Cargill Agri Purina Feed Mill -- the world's largest animal feed mill, with a capacity of 870,000 tons per year -- and Pyeongtaek Taeyoung Grain Terminal.

USGC said its programs have contributed to growth in the livestock and corn processing industries in South Korea, where the coarse grain import market has expanded to more than 12 million metric tons annually from less than 500,000 mt in the early 1970s.

"During these visits, it was clear that our customers very much appreciate the information we are able to provide and especially hearing directly from U.S. producers," USGC vice president and chief operating officer Kimberly Atkins said. "In turn, we appreciate the opportunity to continue to demonstrate that the United States is a reliable, transparent supplier of high-quality feed grains and how much we value these loyal and consistent buyers of U.S. corn and co-products."

Later, in Japan, the group participated in another conference rolling out the quality reports, with more than 140 local buyers and industry representatives in attendance. They offered details about the report's findings and a full review of global corn supply and demand.

The delegation also met with officials at the local FAS office, JA Zennoh, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries and the Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry to exchange opinions and views on grain and ethanol trade.

USGC said Japan is a mature and stable market for U.S. feed grains that is driven, in part, by a high level of USGC engagement with the local industry and government on issues such as supply, quality, biotechnology and sustainability.

"Membership involvement in missions like this one is critical to the USGC's efforts to bolster confidence in the United States as a reliable supplier and to encourage purchases from the U.S. versus other available origins," Atkins said. "We benefit greatly from engaged members and leadership willing to visit these markets and forge meaningful relationships with our customers."

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