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“Relationships will prevail, political ramifications will subside”

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American and Chinese officials will meet this week to hash out trade differences. An Iowa farmer-leader shares his thoughts on the matter, as well as what he believes will carry corn growers through the volatile trade climate.

AUDIO: Wayne Humphreys, Iowa Corn Growers Association

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) latest 2018/2019 corn outlook was for an increase in corn exports, despite stagnant trade talks. Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) president-elect Wayne Humphreys’ thoughts somewhat mirror the Department of Agriculture’s. Humphreys has reason to believe that corn growers can still make a living without the Chinese market.

“Iowa farmers have spent a lot of time, talent and resources in developing markets around the world; we have some very good customers,” Humphreys said. “Some of those customers are in jeopardy at the moment, but Iowa farmers should know that the Checkoff dollars they invest are being used to develop new markets all over the western and eastern hemisphere. When China, for example, decided not to take our DDGs, we sent those DDGs to other parts of the world and had record exports that very same year. We’re developing markets all over, brand new countries and brand new markets.”

Humphreys further backs his case, by adding the United States exports large amounts of ethanol to several countries.

“Forty-six countries around the world have passed clean air standards, but they have no ethanol production. Ethanol is the most logical source to improve portable fuels to make them cleaner burning in automobiles. We are the logical, go-to people to supply ethanol to the world. Last year, we exported 1.3 billion gallons of ethanol and we think there’s a 4 billion gallon market out there in countries that need what we have.”

Humphreys described himself as “hopeful.” He believes numerous trade missions have built adequate relationships, to sustain Iowa corn growers during the trade war.

“We have developed relationships with many customers – not just politicians and governments, but buyers. Buyers that we have been (with) on trade missions. We have sat across the table from them and visited their plants and feedlots. They’re enamored with the production of Iowa farmers. They come here (on) what we call reverse trade missions. They go to our ethanol plants, come to our feed mills, look at corn in our grain bins and they want what we have to provide the world. I’m optimistic that the relationships we have will prevail and the political ramifications will eventually subside, and we can get back to normal trading relations with those customers that we’ve spent a long time developing,” Humphreys said.