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Iowa Corn Growers Association
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Trade Missions Build Relationships and Expand Markets for Iowa Corn

February 26, 2016

The world over, one adage holds true, people want to do business with individuals and organizations they know and trust. To see how markets work and to talk face-to-face with customers around the world, Iowa farmers through the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) along with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) have boots on the ground in major export markets. Building relationships amongst Iowa corn farmers and international buyers remains a key to USGC and USMEF’s work that can be directly attributed to sales of U.S. corn products.

“During these missions, Iowa corn farmers learn more about their customers’ businesses and these activities show them we value their partnership,” said Heckman. “This is really the only way to move the needle in knowing buyers’ needs, the quality of the product they are seeking, and how we can meet their expectations.”

In 2015, Iowa corn farmers went on several trade missions to discuss topics such as crop progress, DDGs, meat trade visits and communicating the results of the corn quality report.

“Every meeting includes us telling the story of our farm which helps them put a face to the product they buy,” Heckman explained. “Sometimes they simply want to learn about corn planting or harvest. Other times they want to discover our methods for corn or livestock production. These simple exchanges of knowledge yield some of the most important connections. If price is the same with our competition, the relationships we have built will win the business.”                                                                                                                                                                   

Examples of Recent Trade Servicing Missions:

In an effort to provide a transparent and objective view of the most recent U.S. corn crop, USGC released the 2015/2016 Corn Harvest Report. The overall report showed the crop was better than the average based on the previous four years on most attributes, with 94 percent of the samples grade U.S. No. 2 or better. U.S. farmers journeyed around the world sharing the report with international buyers.

  • ICPB Director Wayne Humphreys and a farmer from Louisa County traveled to Mexico l where he met with two different consulates, made three facility inspections and completed four corn quality presentations. In Torreon, Mexico, his presentation was attended by 25 buyers who collectively import 20 percent of the country’s corn and DDGS. Transloading facilities in the area are increasing capacity from 80 cars to 110 cars to meet current industry standards. “Mexico is the second largest buyer of U.S. corn,” said Humphreys. “Iowa sends corn to Mexico by rail, which customers appreciate because it can be loaded on rail cars and shipped directly to the source reducing the amount of handling and maintaining the quality. This includes corn in all forms such as DDGs and ethanol. Our Mexican customers including the feed buyers I spoke to are extremely important to us. They have come to rely on the quality and availability of U.S. corn for the success of their businesses."
  • ICPB Director Roger Zylstra, a corn farmer from Jasper County traveled to Chile to participate for a corn harvest quality rollout. Chile has imported corn from the US in the past but currently is using only small quantities of U.S. corn. The purpose of this journey was to reestablish Chile contacts and try to develop this market. Chile currently has extensive modern Poultry and Pork enterprises. The next meeting was with Asprocer, a fully integrated pork producer. They source their corn from ADM and transport it 40 miles to their feed mill. They are interested in using more U.S. corn if they can get good quality corn. “They were impressed with the detail of the quality report,” said Zylstra. “They also asked about our use of GMO’s and if they would continue to dominate our corn supply. I think the effort by the US Grains Council to compile and present the corn quality report will help open new markets and maintain current markets for U.S. and Iowa corn farmers.”

The 2015/2016 Corn Harvest Quality Report marks the fifth in an annual series. The report gives accurate and timely information on crop quality helping buyers make more informed decisions, increasing their confidence in the capacity and reliability of our market, and assisting countries around the world in achieving food security through trade. Click here for a copy of the full report.

Media Resources:


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.

For More Information:

Shannon Textor
Director of Marketing and Communications
Iowa Corn Growers Association

Lisa Cassady
Public Relations Manager
Iowa Corn Growers Association

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