America’s corn farmers are connecting with international grain buyers differently this year, due to the global health pandemic.
U.S. Grains Council members visited Latin America, Mexico, and South America shortly before the coronavirus pandemic slowed travel.
Mark Mueller, who farms near Waverly, Iowa, participated in the North American trade mission. Mueller says America’s corn farmers have “adapted” to virtual trade meetings.
“There was another round of trips scheduled for late March/early April, regarding the quality of corn being exported. COVID-19 shutdown travel, so I put together a 10 minute video, talking about planting conditions, how the crop year started out, and reassuring our foreign buyers that no matter what else happens, we’re going to grow more corn than we know what to do with and they can buy it at reasonable prices,” Mueller said.
“The video was shown at 20 to 30 virtual meetings in Latin and South America,” which had anywhere up to 700 people in attendance, reports Mueller.
Mueller anticipates to see a “streamlining of business practices” moving forward. Regardless, America’s corn farmers need to reach international markets, according to Mueller.
“The international markets are our third biggest customer for corn and soybeans,” Mueller says. “We can’t process or feed all of the corn in this country within our borders. Whether we send corn out in the form of grain, meat, or ethanol, we need international customers. Global trade is critical to my livelihood.”
Mueller believes ethanol offers the best return, when it comes to export markets. He also notes enhanced promotion of dried distillers grains.