The visit comes as sorghum demand from China rebuilds following trade challenges early in 2018. The visit is hosted by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) — in cooperation with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission and the Texas Grain Sorghum Association.
After trade tensions were heightened — demonstrated by an anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigation brought by the Chinese government regarding sorghum — this team visit is a bright spot that signals relations between the two countries are once again moving in a positive direction, the associations said.
|Tom Sleight, president and chief executive officer of the USGC|
“The Council is pleased to be a part of this important work to maintain communication and strengthen relationships between the U.S. and China,” said Tom Sleight, president and chief executive officer of the USGC. “Even with a moderate tariff on U.S. sorghum, demand — especially in southern China — continues. It’s just another reason to highlight with these top sorghum importers and end-users how the U.S. can be a competitive supplier with this year’s crop. These importers and feed mill representatives have the opportunity to see the full U.S. sorghum value chain — from crops in the field to elevators and port facilities. Trips like these encourage increased use and purchase of U.S. sorghum between the two countries while satisfying our mission of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives.”
The visit will highlight the entire sorghum value chain for the Chinese buyers in an effort to encourage more U.S. sorghum sales to China.
“This is one of many important opportunities created by the Sorghum Checkoff and U.S. Grains Council to foster and maintain valuable market relationships with end users in China," said Verity Ulibarri, chairwoman of the Sorghum Checkoff. “This team from China is anxious to meet with U.S. producers and continue learning about our product even with newly implemented tariffs on U.S. sorghum and other goods, and we look forward to providing that hands-on education experience they expect while demonstrating the quality, condition, logistics and price that continue to drive demand for U.S. sorghum in China.”
The 11 team members — whose imports account for more than 50% of China’s total U.S. sorghum imports — will first make stops in Texas, including a multi-facility grain company, two farming operations, a visit to the Port of Houston and a global merchant for agricultural commodities.
“Texas growers are anxious to meet with Chinese end-users slated to be in the U.S. and discuss a number of issues, including ways to improve exporting grain sorghum to China,” said Jay Wilder, president of the Texas Grain Sorghum Association. “Our producers understand the value of having our international end-users on their farms and businesses and embrace conversations about quality and trade. This is a great opportunity for our producers to not only teach about grain sorghum but also to learn from our key consumers how their businesses function and what attributes make sorghum one of the top exports from Texas to China.”
After spending time in Texas, the team will head to Kansas where they will participate in a traders meeting, visit a grain marketing company, travel to an ethanol plant and participate in an outing to several farms, including a large farm enterprise with feed milling and a livestock operation.
“At this time, in particular, we must engage buyers around the world,” said Jesse McCurry, executive director for the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission. “We have a quality product that we want to sell. Kansas sorghum farmers are excited to host our friends and show off our ready supply.”China has become a top customer for U.S. sorghum despite policy concerns in recent months. U.S. sorghum sales to China took off during the 2013-14 marketing year, with a value of $1 billion since then.