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Trade schools will help growers become trade champions

U.S. Grains Council and National Corn Growers Assn. partnering with state corn organizations to put on trade schools.

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the National Corn Growers Assn. (NCGA) are partnering with nearly a dozen state corn organizations this winter to put on five trade schools in farming areas aiming to educate and empower grower-leaders on trade topics.

The regional events build on similar workshops held in Washington, D.C., in 2016 and 2019 and in St. Louis, Mo., in 2018. Each offered wide-ranging information demonstrating the importance of trade to the agriculture industry and farmer profitability, details on hot topics on the trade agenda and training on how participants can talk about trade issues in their communities.

Negotiations on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a trade agreement with Japan and a trade deal with China dominated much of agriculture-related news in 2019, spurring interest among those in the agriculture sector and creating demand for increasingly more detailed information on trade topics.

“In the last several years, we’ve really seen the interest in trade and market development surge among farmers who are seeing how critical overseas sales are to their profitability,” said USGC director of strategic relations Melissa Kessler, who manages the trade school events. “The council and NCGA work together with our members every day on trade issues and are thrilled for the opportunity to partner in bringing experts to meet with growers who want to continuously learn about these topics.”

The first of the 2019-20 winter events was held in December in Maryland in partnership with the Maryland Grain Producers Board, attracting local farmers as well as representatives from an elevator, railroad and Farm Credit.

Future events are planned for:

  • Jan. 21-22 in Indianapolis, Ind., in partnership with the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, the Ohio Corn Marketing Board, the Michigan Corn Marketing Program and the Kentucky Corn Promotion Program.
  • Feb. 17 in Olathe, Kan., in partnership with Kansas Corn, Nebraska Corn, Missouri Corn and Iowa Corn.
  • Feb. 19 in Moline, Ill., in partnership with Iowa Corn and Illinois Corn.
  • March 11-12 in Burlington, Colo., in partnership with Colorado Corn.

“Our focus for 60 years has been on developing markets opened by strong trade policy. We truly believe in our mission and are glad to be sharing that mission with so many in our grains community this winter,” Kessler said.

Each event is free for participants, but pre-registration is required. The events are designed to minimize the time away from home for participants, although hotel access has been arranged at each location for those who need to stay over.

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