"I want to buy ... " is the response every speaker wants to hear, and it was music to the ears of Florentino Lopez, Executive Director of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, as he took questions at Export Exchange 2012. An attendee from Turkey, frustrated with that country's recent import restrictions on GM products, was eager to inquire about the availability of sorghum, since sorghum is a non-GM product.
The U.S. Grains Council is starting to see monetary results from its recent Export Exchange 2012 conference, which brought together more than 500 buyers and sellers of U.S. coarse grains and co-products from around the world. A participant of one the 32 international buying teams reported purchases of more than $5.3 million worth of U.S. corn, DDGS (distiller's dried grains with solubles) and soybean meal. Another participant indicated purchases of more than $.5 million worth of DDGS.
The Foreign Market Development (FMD) and the Market Access Program (MAP) are public-private partnership programs established by Congress through the now expired farm bill to develop, maintain and expand long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products. Through the use of these programs, the Council was able to host more than 200 international buyers at the conference, generating incredible return on U.S. taxpayer investments.
"Export Exchange and other programs like these organized by the U.S. Grains Council, directly attribute to onsite purchases. The real value, however, is the relationships built that lend themselves to lasting sales partnerships," said Don Fast, USGC chairman and barley farmer from Montana. "The Council has 50 plus years experience in bridging international boarders and serving as a catalyst to fostering new and continued sales of our products in the international marketplace. The immediate sales results of Export Exchange and the continued revenue it will generate for the U.S. farmer for years to come would not be possible without U.S. government programs like MAP and FMD."