USGC looks to regain foothold in Spanish sorghum market

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Staff members from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and members of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) recentlytraveled to Spain as part of an effort to re-engage in that market and educate grain buyers and end-users on the feeding value of U.S. sorghum.

China’s growing appetite for U.S. sorghum has limited the purchasing ability of small and growing markets like Spain, which began showing interest in the U.S. commodity in 2011, USGC said. Despite this challenge, the council and USCP continue to work there and in other countries like Colombia and Mexico that will contribute to steady, long-term demand abroad for U.S. sorghum.

“Just a few years ago, Spain imported more than 35,500 tonnes (1.4 million bushels) of U.S. sorghum, valued at $8.9 million,” said Manuel Sanchez USGC manager of global trade. “While they have imported virtually no U.S. sorghum during the most recent marketing year due to high prices, when this commodity becomes competitive again, buyers will become more interested in purchasing it. In the meantime, we have to remain engaged in this market to ensure buyers and end-users stay up-to-date on how to properly utilize the product.”

The mission visited meat processing facilities, feedlots, livestock producer organizations, commodity buyers and ports. Mission participants also attended a feed grains conference in Madrid with more than 50 members of the feeding and trading sectors in Spain and Portugal.

During the conference, speakers covered production, technology and quality of U.S. sorghum; a global feed and grain supply outlook; the nutritional value of U.S. sorghum; and port logistics.

“The buyers and end-users at the conference asked great questions and were really interested in hearing our presentations and perspectives,” said Martin Kerschen, a Kansas sorghum producer, who spoke during the conference. “While China has been a great market for our sorghum, we have to continue to develop markets all over the world so that we can have a long-term, steady demand for our grain. Our work this week in Spain is an important step toward accomplishing that.”
 
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