FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mindy Williamson, Iowa Corn Director of Communications, 515-225-9242
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Iowa Corn Farmers Concerned for Japan
JOHNSTON, Iowa – March 11, 2011– Iowa corn farmers are concerned about damage this morning’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami may have caused for many of Japan’s people, agricultural facilities and production areas.
“We extend our deepest sympathy to Japan,” said Don Elsbernd, an Iowa Corn Promotion Board Director from Allamakee who participated in the 50th Anniversary of the Iowa Hog Lift in Japan, last year. “Iowa corn farmers are ready to help our largest agricultural export customer, in any way that we can.”
Fifty-one years ago Iowa corn farmers initiated the Iowa Hog Lift, a rescue effort by the agriculture sector in the United States and the state of Iowa following significant damage resulting from typhoons in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. It is widely accepted that the hog lift is responsible for the development of the sister-state relationship between Iowa and Yamanashi and marked the beginning of currently strong agricultural relations between Japan and the United States.
Last year Japan imported 15mmt of U.S. corn and Iowa is the number one state exporter of meat to Japan, sending a record $530 million and $30 million in beef a year.
“Some ports in northern Japan, Kushiro, Hachinohe, Ishinomaki and Kashima, were hit by the tsunami. We’ve heard some feed mills and livestock operations have also been damaged by the tsunami. Those facilities were not severely damaged by the earthquake itself but were affected by the tsunami,” said Tommy Hamamoto, U.S. Grains Council director in Japan. “It is too early to tell what effect this will have on Japan’s agricultural sector, but it could be of significance.”
The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is a membership organization lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of its 6,000 members. The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB), works to develop and defend markets, fund research, and provide education about corn and corn products. Both organizations work on the joint mission to created opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability.