Posted on September 30, 2014 at 8:00 AM by Iowa Corn
In September Deb Keller, ICPB director and farmer from Clarion, and I had the opportunity to speak at the Southeast Asia Buyer’s Conference and represent U.S. Corn. Shannon Textor, Market Development Director from Iowa Corn and Kim Atkins, Director of Global Programs from U.S. Grains Council also attended.
During our presentation we had the opportunity to explain the anticipated crop yields in Iowa and around the country for this upcoming harvest season. This was also a great way to talk to the buyers and explain the “why and how” we use GMOs on our farms in Iowa.
Many of the buyers had a lot of concerns with the price of corn falling below the cost of production. They were very interested in our predictions of how land would be used if fewer acres were used for corn. Despite the changes in the market, we reassured them that Iowa farmers would always be a reliable supplier of corn for their byproducts.
Our mission didn't stop in Southeast Asia. From there we traveled to Taipei, Taiwan and met with USGA Country Director, Clover Chang. We had several meetings with buyers of corn and DDGS. Taiwan prefers to purchase roughly a fourth of their corn in containers due to increased ease of transportation of corn to feed mills. Within the U.S., storage is starting to become an issue. In fact, one company had 11 out of 40 containers rejected because there were some moldy kernels between the bulk head and the sliding door. When the inspectors open the doors and see this it is automatically rejected, even if the corn inside is okay. Mr. Chang is working diligently on this issue.
Taiwan has begun experiencing a slight shortage of farmers. The younger generation is has begun to move off the farm and to the city for better jobs. To combat this issue, the government has set up a young farmer program encouraging young people to start farming. This effort seems to be working with the older generation in assisting them to pass their farms down to the next generation.
Overall, this was a great mission and as an ICPB director and farmer from Fremont/Page, I feel we helped clear up some concerns and misconceptions with grain buyers. Having face-to-face interaction with international grain buys is extremely important for the future of our state.