U.S. Grains Council

Feb 14, 2023

Export Exchange held for first time since 2018

Event results in over half a million metric tons of sales to international buyers

The Export Exchange conference hosted last fall by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) was a great success, according to surveys of overseas grain buyers who attended. The Exchange helps promote the value of the U.S. grain value chain and connect grain importers and U.S. exporters.

In total, attendees reported sales of just over $225 million with another $128 million still under negotiation. That equates to 514,850 metric tons of grains and coproducts traded because of the event.

The top grain traded during the conference was corn, with 208,800 metric tons (MT) or 8,220,000 bushels in purchases, followed by distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) with 156,400 MT (6,157,155 bushels) sold.

Export exchange hall networking
U.S. Grains Council

Domestic providers meet international buyers

Export Exchange 2022 offered attendees an opportunity to meet and build personal relationships with U.S. producers of corn, DDGS, sorghum, barley and other commodities. More than 200 international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and coproducts from more than 35 countries were in Minneapolis for the conference, held October 12 to 14, and for related tours of U.S. farms, ethanol plants and export infrastructure as part of USGC trade teams.

“At a time when international trade should be championed by our country’s leaders, Export Exchange is critical for our industry,” said Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and CEO. “It is essential for us to strengthen the bonds between suppliers and partner countries, and the connections made next week will not only help propel our industry this year, but for years to come.”

Other grains traded at Export Exchange included 24,250 MT (954,674 bushels) of corn gluten meal, 77,000 MT (2,829,264 bushels) of soybean meal and 22,000 MT (808,361 bushels) of soybeans.

Trade teams tour grain operations

USGC sponsored 21 trade teams from around the world to augment the overall experience that was Export Exchange, giving international buyers the opportunity to see the U.S. value chain for themselves in 18 different states.

Eleven of these teams arrived in the U.S. in advance of Export Exchange, visiting operations ranging from family farms to large-scale production and export facilities before they got the chance to conduct formal business at the event.

“USGC takes pride in being able to attract such diverse groups of international buyers and government officials from various countries in support of Export Exchange and in overall market capacity building,” LeGrand said. “The lasting memories and relationships created from this event will benefit U.S. producers and end-users worldwide for years to come.”

Korean team tours Washington and Midwest

The first group to tour U.S. agricultural infrastructure was a Korean team that visited a grain export terminal and inspection service in Washington on October 4. The group then went on to the heartland for a meeting with Nebraska Corn and got to tour an ethanol plant and have discussions with key logistical supply chain partners.

The 24-person Korean delegation, consisting of representatives from major Korean import companies and a government official, also had a meeting with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Julie Kenney at the state capitol, along with a farm tour and visit to the Iowa Corn Growers’ Association.

“Strengthening the relationships between international buyers and our state-level partners is one of the highlights of the trade teams that the council sponsors,” LeGrand said. “Personally, knowing who you’re doing business with is a factor that cannot be underestimated, and trade teams help ensure that U.S. product is the first choice for importers in Korea and beyond.”

Participants arrived in Illinois on October 8 in preparation for visits to local grain elevators and business-to-business meetings as they made their way to Minneapolis to join the rest of the event’s attendees for a packed slate of expert speakers and networking opportunities.

“For Asian buyers who have had limited opportunities to meet and discuss deals with U.S. suppliers due to COVID-19, Export Exchange is expected to deliver great results for finding new suppliers and expanding purchase contracts with existing suppliers,” said Haksoo Kim, USGC director in South Korea.

“Business consultations between suppliers and buyers through this year’s Export Exchange will contribute to an expected 1.2 million tons of U.S. DDGS exports to Korea alone, a record amount for that commodity.”

Tours converge at Exchange

At Export Exchange, in addition to an exhibit hall, five general sessions were scheduled featuring industry leaders who spoke to the challenges and circumstances agriculture is facing today.

Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Thom Petersen welcomed attendees to the event, a major showcase for the state’s farming commodities and a chance for overseas buyers to familiarize themselves with Minnesota’s producers on a more personal level.

Jason Hafemeister, acting deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), informed the crowd about the latest agricultural policy news from Washington and upcoming hurdles for the industry to clear.
The speakers in the second general session gave an overview on inflation and the logistical constraints farmers and producers have become all-too familiar with recently, while the final session of the day focused on DDGS and the vast potential in expanding markets and new uses for the product.

Attendees also heard about the economic outlook for U.S. meat exports and viewed a panel of experts who discussed the advantages of U.S. corn over its competitors on the last day of the event.

Exchange gives opportunity for business

Export Exchange is USGC’s marquee event and offers valuable information for attendees of all backgrounds and vocations. Ultimately the conference’s greatest potential comes from things that aren’t on the itinerary.

A buyer taking what he or she has learned from the day’s schedule and using it to strike up a conversation with a producer in the hallway to make the best possible deal for both parties, forming a relationship and creating memories that extend well beyond the event is what Export Exchange is all about.

At the end of the conference, 10 more teams extended their stay for their own farm and facility tours in the states. Armed with a greater understanding of global market statuses and the latest information on overall U.S. harvest progress from the plethora of expert speakers at Export Exchange, these groups wrapped up their journeys by gaining firsthand experience on the ground.

“Hosting trade teams prior to Export Exchange is a great opportunity for these stakeholders to meet the people that produce the materials they need,” LeGrand said. “There is nothing like conducting business face-to-face and that’s what makes this entire event so impactful for U.S. agricultural exports.”

The Export Exchange conference provides a forum for continued relationship building among trading partners. The conference will be held next in May 2024.

USGC Staff

Sponsored Items

Recently Added to Buyer's Guide

Utility Monitor

  • Plant-wide utility consumption analysis helps identify anomalies
  • Gain real-time analytics and monitoring


  • First-of-its-kind quantitative LFD
  • Rapid and reliable solution for detecting predominant allergen, safety and grain process ability concerns


  • Enables commercial grain facilities to monitor bins to protect quality of stored grain
  • Digital cable technology checks grain temperature and moisture, automatically activating fans to help prevent out-of-condition issues

Silver-Sweet QL Series Bucket Elevators

  • Convey bulk materials vertically
  • 400 to 11,925 bushel/hour capacities

TUBO Push Conveyor

  • Now with 8-inch tube for higher capacity throughput, up to 43 tons/hour
  • System transports products gently over distances from 165 to 230 feet in all directions


  • Deployable barrier set-up for temporary flood protection
  • Quick set-up and removal


Marketwatch: Mar, 22

US Corn Price Idx: ZCPAUS.CM

open: 6.3953
high: 6.4181
low: 6.3257
close: 6.3367

US Soybean Price Idx: ZSPAUS.CM

open: 14.5632
high: 14.6036
low: 14.2836
close: 14.3043

US Hard Red Winter Wheat Price Idx: KEPAUS.CM

open: 7.9969
high: 8.0419
low: 7.7626
close: 7.8126

US Soft Red Winter Wheat Price Idx: ZWPAUS.CM

open: 6.5073
high: 6.5348
low: 6.2823
close: 6.3123