USGC Global Update for March 8, 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Marri Carrow   
Monday, 19 March 2012 11:44

Corn Quality Report Explores 2011 U.S. Crop
The 2011 U.S. corn crop entered the global market with a good test weight, low stress cracks and good moisture readings, according to the 2011 U.S. Corn Quality Harvest Report, the first national corn quality report of its kind commissioned by the U.S. Grains Council.

Results in the study were drawn from 474 yellow commodity corn samples taken across 12 top corn producing U.S. states representing 98 percent of 2010 U.S. corn exports.

“Many key questions we are asked every year surround the quality of the U.S. corn crop,” said the Council’s Erick Erickson, director of programs and planning. “With this initial report, we aim to objectively provide that information. As reports are completed in future years, we’ll have an excellent history of the quality of U.S. corn as it enters the merchandising channel.”

Samples for the study were collected by country elevators in each participating state. Samples were sent directly to the Illinois Crop Improvement Association Identity Preserved Grain Laboratory in Champaign, Ill., for analysis following U.S. Department of Agriculture standards.

The study compiled the results on an aggregate basis, covering all 12 states, but also broke them out into three composite export catchment areas, the Gulf (Mississippi Gulf shipments), Pacific Northwest and Southern Rail (rail shipments to Mexico).

“The catchment areas can help buyers who ship out of certain points to better understand the quality of the corn entering merchandising channels that generally ship to those areas,” Erickson said. 

On an aggregate basis, the report shows a good test weight crop in 2011 – 58.1 pounds per bushel (74.8 kg/hl). 

Moisture samples taken at grain elevators averaged 15.6 percent and had low variability, which implies that the corn dried down mostly in the field , helping improve storeability and creating fewer stressed kernels due to less equipment-based drying.

The crop also showed low stress cracks and low levels of broken corn and foreign matter (BCFM). Low figures in both of these areas indicate the possibility of reduced rates of breakage as corn is handled.

“Study results show that despite challenging growing conditions experienced in several corn growing regions, farmers in the United States produced a high-quality crop overall,” Erickson said.

Other characteristics were also examined, including protein, starch and oil content, and are shown in the second chart.

USGC President and CEO Thomas C. Dorr discusses the Corn Quality Harvest Report on Council Cast. Click here to listen.
Find the report on the Council’s website by clicking here.

Competing for Algeria’s Feed Grain Market
Algeria imported 3.5 million metric tons of feed grains last year, with corn reaching 126 million bushels and barley topping 17.7 million bushels. Algeria’s corn sales were dominated by Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine, France and Romania, and barley sales by France, Finland, the U.K. and Bulgaria. According to Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council regional director, the U.S. market share is estimated at 2 percent overall.

“Much of the growth in Algeria’s market is the result of the Arab Spring, which allowed Algerian importers to take advantage of some shipments originally destined for Libya. That gave Algeria’s poultry producers access to lower-cost corn and soybean meal, which led to better producer profits and expanded poultry production,” he said.

“The market is growing, but we need to work much harder to increase the U.S. market share in 2012,” Sifferath added.

“There’s a growing preference for Argentine “red” corn, and Black Sea corn often provides a cost advantage to its suppliers. This year, we want to focus on removing Algeria’s high import duty and Value-added tax on distiller’s grains in order to promote combination shipments of U.S. corn and co-products.”

Word from the Ground:

Building an Industry with New Standards
By Clover Chang, USGC Director in Taiwan

Taiwan's Council of Agriculture is under pressure from feed millers and poultry producers to establish national mycotoxin standards for grains and feedstuffs. At the U.S. Grains Council Taiwan office, we are working to promote U.S. standards as a benchmark in setting national quality control systems in Taiwan. We recognize that these new standards have to be adaptable to encourage producers, even at the most local level, to embrace new industry guidelines.

This month the Council's Taiwan office worked with Taiwan’s COA and feed sector representatives to hold a mycotoxin standard policy meeting. The Council of Agriculture plans to publish a technical bulletin on mycotoxins by July, conduct seminars about the standard for feed millers and livestock producers and invite a U.S. or Japanese consultant to share his or her expertise on mycotoxin prevention and control at these seminars. 

This meeting succeeded in involving a round-table of key industry leaders from the academic community and government agencies.


March 20 - 30: The Council will host a number of buyer seminars and training workshops at the Shanghai JCI’s Raw Feed Materials Market conference in China. Council consultants will be on-hand to address buyer needs and share their expertise in risk management and freight solutions. Buyers of U.S. corn and co-products, representatives from major feed companies and regional grain traders will have the opportunity to learn about the quality and supply of U.S. grain products. For more information, contact Kyle Cromer, USGC international operations coordinator for Asia, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Do you find the information in Global Update useful? If so, be sure to pass it on to your friends and colleagues who might benefit from learning more about the U.S. Grains Council’s programs to build demand for U.S. grains and increase market access around the world. If they would like to receive Global Update directly, encourage them to contact Marri Carrow at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with their name, company and e-mail to subscribe.


News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Monday, 19 March 2012 10:48

Members manage virtual grain using real-time market information

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – March 7, 2012 – Grain is the name of the game in a new commodity challenge simulation being offered by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).

Starting March 7 and running through Oct. 12, Iowa Farm Bureau members can participate in a commodity challenge simulation to learn more about markets, pricing and risk management…but without risking real bushels and money. Iowa Farm Bureau members involved in the simulation are allocated virtual grain (75,000 bushels of corn and 25,000 bushels of soybeans) and challenged to make wise marketing decisions for the 2012 new crop to be harvested in October.

“The goal of this grain marketing challenge isn’t selling the highest price, but learning how to effectively manage the risk associated with today’s volatile markets,” explained Ed Kordick, IFBF commodity services manager. “We want to help farmers understand how to use various tools and see how they work with real markets. Risk management is the focus.”

Members can join the simulation challenge at any time. They receive educational materials by e-mail and online. Participants must be members of their county Farm Bureau to access the simulation.  To register, go to and click on the hotbox banner. For more information, contact Kordick at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 515-225-5433.


Taiwan broadening of U.S. beef imports PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 19 March 2012 07:45

Sen. Chuck Grassley today made the following comment on the Taiwanese government announcement that Taiwan plans to set an allowance level for U.S. beef that contains the feed additive ractopamine but not set a similar level for U.S. pork.  Ractopamine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is used by many U.S. beef and pork producers as a feed additive.

“I’m encouraged that the Taiwanese government may allow some U.S. beef that contains traces of ractopamine into Taiwan, but the announcement falls far short of resolving this issue.  The Taiwanese government has not set any allowable level of this additive for U.S. pork imports.  As I’ve said before, Taiwan must treat U.S. agricultural products fairly, in accordance with scientific evidence, and in keeping with its trade obligations, if it expects to maintain its status as a strong economic partner with the United States.  There is no scientific reason for Taiwan to set residual levels of a certain additive for beef but not pork.  I hope Taiwan’s announcement was just a first step in the right direction toward more removal of the trade barriers hurting U.S. farmers.”

Food Costs Could Rise With U.S. Poultry and Livestock Relocation, Reduction PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 12:55
Study shows potential for $16.8 billion annual increase in U.S. consumers’ food bills

NASHVILLE, TENN. (March 2, 2012) – Paying more for food may not be out of the question for consumers if regulations on the U.S. poultry and livestock sectors increase. In fact, consumers could pay up to $16.8 billion more annually for meat, milk and eggs if regulations are imposed on U.S. poultry and livestock farmers that raise input costs by 25 percent.

The Consumer and Food Safety Costs of Offshoring Animal Agriculture, a recent soy-checkoff-funded study, evaluated current U.S. supply and demand for poultry and livestock products and the impact of regulations on retail price. The study indicates that potential regulations could raise consumer costs. For example, requiring cage-free housing for laying hens would increase the cost of eggs from $1.68 to $2.10 per dozen, a total cost of $2.66 billion per year to U.S. consumers.

“This could have a big impact on everyone – it’s not just that dozen eggs you and I buy at the grocery store,” explains Vanessa Kummer, a soybean farmer from Colfax, N.D., and chair of the United Soybean Board (USB). “As Americans, we have abundant, nutritious and affordable food choices that rely heavily on protein from animals, and, as farmers, we continue to work hard on improvements because we share consumers’ concerns for our country’s land and resources, and the quality of America’s food.”

The report cites increased regulations that could drive up costs of production meat, milk and eggs by anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent. It shows that a 25 percent increase in costs to animal agriculture would reduce U.S. exports by $1.1 billion and cause nearly 9,000 Americans to lose their jobs.

“U.S. agriculture leads the world as a global producer and exporter of animal products, and we need that to continue,” adds Kummer. “The poultry and livestock sectors not only support the U.S. export market, but also make our economy stronger here at home by creating jobs and tax revenue.”

The most recent statistics compiled by the soy checkoff show the poultry and livestock sectors support 1.8 million jobs and generate more than $283 billion for the U.S. economy.

USB is made up of 69 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit
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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Trade Mission to China with 40 U.S. Companies to Strengthen Business Ties PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 08:32
Sales of U.S. food and agricultural products to China have grown by 80 percent in 3 years

AMES, Iowa, March 1, 2012—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will lead an agricultural trade mission to China at the end of March to strengthen partnerships between U.S. and Chinese businesses and enhance job growth in the United States. The trade mission is expected to be USDA's largest to date, with more than 40 U.S. agribusinesses and representatives from six State Departments of Agriculture set to accompany Acting Under Secretary Michael Scuse to Chengdu and Shanghai, two of China's largest cities.

In 2011, China moved into the top spot as the number one market for U.S. agricultural goods, purchasing $20 billion in U.S. agricultural exports. U.S. farm exports to China supported more than 160,000 American jobs in 2011.

"This trade mission, USDA's largest to date, offers American businesses the opportunity to position themselves to enter or expand their presence in China, one of our strongest trading partners," said Vilsack. "China and the United States share a special relationship, and we embrace this opportunity to continue our in-depth dialogue on issues of mutual concern. At the same time, we want to ensure that our American farmers, ranchers and producers continue to be recognized across China and the Asia Pacific as reliable suppliers of the highest-quality food and agricultural products."

Last month, Vilsack hosted China's Vice President Xi Jinping and Agriculture Minister Han Changfu at the first U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium in Des Moines. The agriculture ministers signed a Plan of Strategic Cooperation that will guide the two countries' agricultural relationship for the next five years. The plan focuses on agricultural science, trade and education, and looks to deepen cooperation through technical exchanges and strengthen coordination in key priority areas, including food security and emerging technologies.

Scuse will lead the trade mission to China from March 23-28, beginning in Chengdu, one of the most important economic, transportation, and communication centers in western China and home of USDA's newest Agricultural Trade Office. Participants will then travel on to Shanghai, a hub of global commerce and the most populous city in the world. The goal of the mission is to provide U.S. participants with first-hand market information, access to government decision makers, and one-on-one meetings with business contacts, potential agents, distributers, and importers so they can position themselves to enter or expand their presence in China.

While in China, Scuse will meet with Chinese government and agricultural officials and U.S. agribusiness, and will visit agricultural production and development sites. Ambassador Islam Siddiqui, Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, will also join Scuse to open the USA Pavilion at the Food Ingredients China Trade Show in Shanghai on March 28.

The Obama Administration, with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's leadership, has aggressively worked to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade, helping to push agricultural exports to record levels in 2011 and beyond. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing one of its best periods in history thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our producers and agribusinesses. Today, net farm income is at record levels while debt has been cut in half since the 1980s. Overall, American agriculture supports 1 in 12 jobs in the United States and provides American consumers with 83 percent of the food we consume, while maintaining affordability and choice. Strong agricultural exports contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, boost economic growth and support President Obama's National Export Initiative goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014.


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