WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Grains Council (USGC), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in Lima, hosted technical workshops in Peru, focused on the nutritional value of U.S. sorghum and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), U.S. contracting procedures and purchasing specifications.

"Peru is an excitable market with year-over-year growth in meat, milk and egg production," said Marri Carrow, USGC regional director for the Western Hemisphere. "Of course, with protein production growth comes increasing use of cereal crops, especially imported cereal crops."

Recently, Peru has shown an increasing appetite for U.S. corn, due in part to the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, and has already purchased 2 million tonnes (78.7 million bushels) in the 2015-16 marketing year through June 16, making it the U.S. fifth-largest corn buyer of this commodity. These large and growing corn sales create opportunities for U.S. sorghum and DDGS sales to the region through continuous vessel traffic and combination shipments, USGC said.

"In terms of experience in using sorghum as a feed ingredient, no matter what origin, Peruvians have little-to-none, especially in recent years," Carrow said. "This is one of the primary limiting factors for the entrance of U.S. sorghum into the market. It limits inquiries and pricing of the commodity for use in local feed ingredient import matrices. Our job is to make that happen. In terms of DDGS, Gloria (a Peruvian milk processor) has been a consistent buyer of the product, thanks in large part to USGC promotional efforts over the years. We want to expand that use to the poultry, swine and even beef sectors, and encourage additional consistent buyers.”

To help overcome this barrier, USGC members and professors who traveled on this mission also gave presentations on U.S. sorghum and DDGS supply and demand, nutritional value and quality standards to Peruvian buyers and nutritionists.

"As USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight always says, 'knowledge over information.' Information is easy to obtain. Most people carry a real-time encyclopedia in their pocket. Knowledge brings empowerment, control and success," Carrow said. Through technical workshops and information sharing, we are empowering our customers with confidence in the U.S. production and marketing system, and to make informed decisions when making their next purchase."

While in Peru, the group also visited with customers at large dairy operations to gain a better understanding of their businesses and their potential to utilize U.S. coarse grains and co-products.

"This visits gave us an overview of livestock production in Peru," said Luis Bustamante USGC marketing specialist for the Western Hemisphere. "By assessing their production capabilities, we are able to learn more about how to chart the best course moving forward."