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Iowa Hosts Korean Bioethanol Advisory Team to Learn about the U.S. Ethanol Industry

September 27, 2017

A U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade team of Korean grain buyers, researchers, scientists, end-users and government officials visited Iowa last week as part of a learning journey to get in-depth information about the U.S. ethanol industry. This team’s visit included stops at the Iowa Corn office, Jolene Riessen’s family cattle and row crop farm, Quad County Corn Processors ethanol plant in Galva, Golden Grain Energy ethanol plant in Mason City, and Denny Friest’s row crop and hog farm in Radcliffe. They also met with representatives from Kum & Go and the American Lung Association to learn more about ethanol.

“Most of the delegation had never visited a farm before,” stated Riessen, a farmer from Ida Grove. “They seemed amazed by our large farm equipment and the fact that it takes so few people to farm a lot of acres. . Farms in their country consist of one-acre plots and farming remains very labor intensive. The country doesn’t grow its own corn, relying on U.S. imports for their needs. We showed them samples of shelled and cracked corn, silage, and distillers grains. Some had concerns about feed and fuel, but we explained how distiller’s grains are a by-product of the ethanol process and how they are tremendous feedstuff for our cattle operation.”  

South Korea is the third largest importer of U.S. corn and U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) thus far in the 2016/2017 marketing year (Sept.-July). And South Korea has purchased 42 million gallons of U.S. ethanol in 2016/2017 with one month remaining in the marketing year. Current U.S. ethanol exports are for industrial use in South Korea, making wider use in the transport fuel sector another area of potential growth. 

“We fed them ribeye sandwiches for lunch,” said Riessen. They were impressed by the flavor of the Iowa corn fed beef. “They told us how ribeyes are a popular cut of meat in Korea. We explained how we feed our cattle corn which gives the meat that tremendous flavor.”

The U.S. - Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) which provides duty-free access for U.S. corn, sorghum, DDGS and ethanol exports has been an important part of the trade relationship between the two countries. The combination of market access, attractive prices and USGC market development work ensures the continued partnership between the United States and South Korea. 

Iowa Corn Promotion Board invests checkoff dollars in the U.S. Grain Council, a private, non-profit organization that works to develop exports in more than 50 countries from 10 worldwide offices and its Washington, D.C. headquarters. 

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The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB), works to develop and defend markets, fund research, and provide education about corn and corn products.  For more information, visit iowacorn.org.

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