DES MOINES, IOWA, US — During the second day of the US Grains Council (USGC) annual summer meeting in-person and online attendees focused on better understanding the challenges affecting their industry, from sustainability to cybersecurity. 

Jake Joraanstad, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Bushel, discussed creating digital infrastructure in agriculture to increase commodity competitiveness. Hogan Lovells partner and USGC general counsel Deen Kaplan followed Joraanstad, discussing cybersecurity and how it relates to the business of agriculture.

Attendees also had the opportunity to engage with USGC staff in many of the markets to which their exports are headed despite still being affected by COVID-19 pandemic. They heard from USGC regional directors in Latin America, South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe and received market updates on the two largest markets for US grains – China and Mexico.

“Mexico is extremely important to the United States, feed grains and the Council's work,” said Cary Sifferath, senior director of global programs for USGC. “It is an important market for us year-to-year. Mexico has been a longstanding, good customer of corn, sorghum, barley and DDGS, and we’re even on pace to see a 10% increase in corn exports to Mexico compared to last year.”

The USGC also honored two with its Lifetime Achievement Award: Ray Defenbaugh, who passed away in 2019 during his tenure as a USGC board member, and Tom Sleight, who retired as the USGC’s president and CEO in 2019.