MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. grains experts were focused on the outlook for U.S. corn and its co-products — highlighting the importance of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) — at Export Exchange 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.

Export Exchange is a biennial educational and trade forum for U.S. feed grains that will host attendees from both the United States and various countries organized into 21 U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade teams. Both teams will meet with U.S. suppliers and get a chance to learn about current supply and demand for U.S. feed products.

Co-sponsored by the USGC, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Export Exchange 2018 offers attendees an opportunity to meet and build relationships with domestic suppliers of corn, DDGS, sorghum, barley and other commodities.

“The U.S. DDGS market is once again on the rise in various parts of the world,” said Tom Sleight, president and chief executive officer of the USGC. “Not only are we seeing increases of DDGS purchases in the Western Hemisphere — in Mexico and Canada — but we’re also seeing increases in countries like Indonesia, Vietnam and India. Highlighting the importance and versatility of U.S. DDGS at Export Exchange only makes sense.”

After welcome remarks by Jim Stitzlein, chairman of the USGC, and Daniel Whitley, associate administrator of the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, attendees heard from Export Exchange keynote speaker Roger Watchorn, group leader at Cargill Agriculture Supply Chain North America.

 “North America continues to be a leader in production technologies and a major player in global trade,” Watchorn said. “One in seven people worldwide depend on global trade for their basic food needs. We connect farmers with those who need our products around the world. North America is unrivaled in optionality and supply chain efficiencies and we are ready to meet those needs.”

To complete morning presentations, Robert Johansson, chief economist at the USDA, shared with attendees the USDA’s 10-year outlook on feed grains’ production, supply and distribution.

The second half of the day was devoted to one feed grain co-product in particular: DDGS. Speakers included Philip Smith, poultry nutritionist at Tyson Foods, Inc.; Bill Holbrook, senior analyst with ProExporter; Kelly Davis, vice-president of regulatory affairs for the Renewable Fuels Association; and Kurt Rosentrater, executive director of the Distillers Grains Technology Council. The presenters covered poultry nutrition, export challenges and opportunities, food safety regulations and new products, including pelleting, high protein versions and advancing technologies.

“DDGS and other ethanol co-products provide a value-added market for the U.S. ethanol industry,” said Geoff Cooper, RFA president and CEO. “DDGS exports last year were shipped to 50 countries on five continents, and with upwards of 21 countries represented here at Export Exchange, this is an ideal platform to connect buyers and sellers to meet.”

Throughout the meeting, international attendees composed of grain buyers from more than 35 countries are encouraged to meet with U.S. sellers via an exhibit hall experience called Export Exchange Expo open throughout the conference.

The conference runs through Oct. 24 in Minneapolis.