Kentucky Corn Checkoff dollars are invested every day to boost demand through relationships with global buyers. It is important to demonstrate the advantages American grain farmers have over our overseas competitors, like reliable maritime transportation and on-farm investment in grain storage and handling systems. Showcasing infrastructure is important, but it is also vital to recognize that international grain trade is still a face-to-face business; the personal connection between the family farms producing corn and buyers from food processors and animal feeders around the globe cannot be overlooked.
Harvest season is an ideal time to provide guests with a glance into activities on family farms and create trusted friendships with decisionmakers for overseas grain purchases. The families seal the deals! Throughout October, KyCorn put corn farmers’ checkoff dollars to work to host two groups in tours across the bluegrass state.
The first group was Asian poultry feeders; it originated in Louisville and made a circle to Hardin and Christian Counties, then up to Webster and Henderson Counties. They returned to Louisville to head east for a day to visit with the Kentucky Distillers Association, for the international buyers to explain priorities and the distilling companies to understand possibilities for providing them spent grains. On the trip, they saw harvest operations, ethanol and DDG production, grain handling investments, natural resources and input management, merchandising facilities and barge loading capabilities.
The second group was an executive-level team of procurement managers from GRUMA, the largest white corn buyer in the world and the parent company of Azteca Milling. They arrived in Henderson to visit with white corn producers and view river transportation capacity on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. While most of the corn harvest was wrapped up by the time of their visit, farmers shared the history of their farms and preparation to ensure they can provide reliable, quality crops for generations to come. It was a great opportunity for farmers to understand the priorities of their largest white corn customer, whether processed locally by Azteca Milling or shipped to the Gulf of Mexico to be transported to another processing facility outside of the US. This group visited the Owensboro Riverport and CGB’s new low water facility before flying to New Orleans to tour the next step in their supply chain.
The invitations and guest lists were developed by US Grains Council. The itineraries were organized by KyCorn, but the hosts and the overall visits were a collaboration including Kentucky Farm Bureau and Kentucky Distillers Association. All of these organizations are members of the US Grains Council. Perhaps the strongest message sent during these visits is that Kentucky agriculture is united to be a reliable provider of high-quality corn and corn products to global buyers. Working together matters.