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Corn Growers Tapped for Asian Leadership Mission

by 5m Editor
23 November 2011, at 6:21am

ASIA - The US Grains Council will lead several US corn growers representing various state agricultural organizations and agribusinesses on a high-level leadership mission to three key Asian markets – Japan, China and Viet Nam – from 29 November to 9 December. Mission members will see an array of export challenges and opportunities, not just for corn but also for processed corn products.

"Japan, of course, is the largest US corn export customer, but it is also a mature market that may be in transition," said Tom Sleight, vice president of operations at the US Grains Council, which organized the mission.

"In contrast, China is the number one growth market in Asia and the big variable in today’s world trade. China’s demand is potentially colossal," Mr Sleight continued. "Viet Nam is still an ‘infant’ market but it is a good representative of the demand developing in Southeast Asia, where the United States has struggled to gain a foothold."

The mission is an opportunity for two-way learning, as growers gain firsthand exposure to the dynamics of developing and defending export markets and, at the same time, share their insights on the supply and quality of the new US corn crop with key customers.

As Pat Feldpausch, President of the Corn Marketing Programme of Michigan, commented, "China is one-third of the world’s population.It will interesting to see firsthand how their industrial revolution is helping to shape their food and grain demand needs."

The mission will provide an especially broad understanding of Japanese customer needs, based on a schedule that includes a full range of corn end-uses from livestock feeding and starch processing to foods, such as the newly introduced ramen noodles with a 20 per cent corn content.

Port tours will allow mission members to assess how infrastructure issues affect corn and corn product shipments to Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, China’s Pearl River delta and Viet Nam’s Ho Chi Minh City.

The mission roster includes participants from states representing more than 62 per cent of US corn production. Participants include:

  • Bruce Wetzel, Board Member, Texas Corn Producer Board
  • Pat Feldpausch, President, Corn Marketing Programme of Michigan
  • Tom Mueller, Board Member, Illinois Corn Marketing Board
  • Randy Woodruff, Board Member, Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board
  • Paul Herringshaw, Vice Chairman, Ohio Corn Marketing Programme
  • Kurt Hora, Board Member, Iowa Corn Growers Association
  • Rob Korff, Chairman, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council
  • Kelly Brunkhorst, Ag Program Manager, Nebraska Corn Board
  • Nancy Kavazanjian, Communications Director, Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board, Inc.
  • Marri Carrow, Manager of Communications, USGC