Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) President Kurt Hora and Iowa Corn CEO Craig Floss, joined Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds at her first official press conference as Governor today, where agriculture was on the center stage as she outlined details for her upcoming “All Iowa Agriculture Trade Mission” to China. This mission, which will take place July 19 through 28, will serve as her first undertaking into international trade relations as the newly installed Governor. The delegation will include Iowa Corn leaders along with representatives from all of Iowa’s commodity organizations.
“Make no mistake about it, Governor Reynolds’ trade mission is historic,” said Floss in his statement to media. “This is the first time that so many of Iowa’s farm groups have joined together for a single trade mission. We do so because we believe uniting creates a strong force to work on common issues for our mutual benefit. We also recognize that for some commodities, China is a developed market, for others it’s a new market and yet for some barriers still exist that need to be resolved.”
With a billion consumers and a rapidly growing middle class, the Chinese market presents a huge opportunity for growth but it is also an incredibly challenging market. China was the second-largest purchaser of U.S. ethanol last marketing year; and a critical buyer of U.S. distiller's dried grains (DDGS). However, it has been closed-off to U.S. corn imports in recent years due to massive domestic stocks. In 2015, China imported 50 percent of its DDGS from the United States, but because of the antidumping and countervailing duties investigations, U.S. DDGS entering China now face duties of up to 92.89 percent, impacting this year’s exports.
“With Governor Reynolds in the lead, Iowa ag leaders will meet with government officials, industry partners and of course Ambassador Branstad who will help us navigate solutions to some of the current issues,” said Floss. “We’ll be thanking the Chinese for our current and future business. It should also be noted that this mission is funded by farmers who support the farm organizations participating.”
Iowa Corn farmer-leaders have played a major role in developing a stable, mutually-beneficial relationship with China over the span of the last 30 plus years. Iowa corn farmers and ethanol producers have hosted many trade visits from leaders in China’s feed and livestock industry. They have also participated in numerous trade missions to China with the U.S. Grains Council, U.S. Meat Export Federation and the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
“Meeting face-to-face with international customers, you have a better understanding of their needs,” said ICGA President Kurt Hora. “Trade missions like this help to reinforce our customers’ trust in the U.S. as a reliable supplier of high quality agricultural products. By helping grow our export markets for corn in all forms, we as farmers help to stimulate Iowa’s economy and grow our state.”
The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is a 7,500-member strong grassroots-driven organization, headquartered in Johnston, Iowa, serving members across the state, and lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of its farmer members to create opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. For more information, visit iowacorn.org.