GUANGZHOU, CHINA — Equipped with the results of a university study on the quality of US sorghum, the US Grains Council (USGC) and United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) recently teamed up for a promotional mission in China, a large market with growing demand for the grain due to the popularity of baiju, a distilled spirit enjoyed throughout the country.

Manuel Sanchez, USGC director in China, and Ellie Yan, USGC program manager, welcomed Macy Mueller, USCP director; Adam Schindler, USCP past chairman and USGC Asia Advisory Team (A-Team) lead; and Kyle Hedrick, Cargill sorghum line product manager to Guangzhou, China, on June 2 to begin a busy week of meetings and presentations to interested buyers.

The group visited US Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) staff in Guangzhou and Beijing to coordinate strategies to further increase US market share in the country and met with several major grain import companies to present the results of the study and open channels for US exports.

Sorghum is the primary ingredient in baijiu, among the world’s most popular distilled spirits and widely enjoyed in China. To increase US sorghum exports to the country and help it meet demand for baijiu, the USGC commissioned a report from Jiangnan University on the effectiveness of using US sorghum in baijiu production.

“The encouraging findings of this study will be used in Council programs to assure Chinese buyers that US sorghum is a high-quality and abundant resource that will excite producers and consumers alike,” Sanchez said. “China is already US agriculture’s largest market, but there is room for even higher sales due to the massive demand for sorghum here.”

The team also traveled to Shandong Province, the largest compound feed producing region in China, for the fourth annual US-China Agriculture Roundtable on June 7. The Council signed a memorandum of understanding with the Shandong Provincial Government, agreeing to continue building bridges between Chinese importers and US producers by collaborating on more promotional events. Schindler also presented on US agriculture’s commitment to sustainable farming practices during the morning’s session.

The agenda concluded with another set of meetings with corn and sorghum processing companies in Shandong to understand what their needs for US products are and how the Council and USCP can facilitate purchases.