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Meetings Reassure Chinese Customers About U.S. Sorghum Supplies

USGC and USCP met virtually with major sorghum importers in China to provide outlook on sorghum crop

Photo: USGC
Photo: USGC

U.S. Grains Council (USGC) staff met virtually with five companies in China over three days last week to discuss recent purchases of U.S. sorghum and provide insights into the upcoming U.S. sorghum harvest.

Further emphasizing the importance of these discussions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported the highest-ever weekly sales of U.S. sorghum at 809,886 metric tons (32 million bushels) sold to China for the week ending August 6. This one week of sales reflects approximately 9 percent of total projected U.S. sorghum production for 2020.

“High and rising corn prices in China are generating strong demand for sorghum imports,” said Bryan Lohmar, USGC director in China. “USGC’s unique position in connecting the entire value chain -- from the farmer to the end-user abroad -- allows us to keep customers informed with the latest, most accurate information from the United States. Customers appreciate that.”

Florentino Lopez, executive director of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP), joined Lohmar, USGC China Program Manager Yantian Zeng and USGC Manager of Global Trade Reece Cannady for the one-on-one consultations.

These meetings are typically conducted via a week-long road trip through China to meet with customers. This year, however, the team met virtually with major sorghum importers to provide an outlook on the sorghum crop, including projected yields and expected production for fall 2020.

“We regularly visit sorghum buyers in China to discuss the market, crop conditions and other issues affecting trade,” Lohmar said. “These meetings continue support for the largest U.S. sorghum market for the past seven years.”

The dialogue developed across time zones and throughout the week, particularly after the USDA released the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. In the report, USDA increased sorghum yields 13 percent, helping put Chinese sorghum buyers further at ease.

“The text messages were definitely rolling in from our customers in China on Thursday afternoon after the WASDE report,” Cannady said. “The report was definitely on everyone’s mind, and the buyers in China were happy to see the report reflect our comments from our meetings just days before.”

Learn more about the USGC's work to promote U.S. sorghum in China.

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