CAIRO, EGYPT — The dramatic events in Egypt over the last three weeks created some challenges for U.S. Grains Council (USGC) staff and consultants based there, but the council said on Feb. 17 that its office in Cairo has re-opened and programs continue.

“While we could not keep the office open during the height of the demonstrations, we are operational now and all staff are able to come to work,” said Dr. Hussein Soliman, USGC director in Egypt.

The council is holding off on any activities involving trade teams or outside consultants until April 1, but other activities, including U.S. sorghum feeding trials and discussing the opportunities for U.S. dried distiller’s grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten feed continue.

“We have about 60 tons (2,400 bushels) of U.S. sorghum in Egypt as part of a commercial feeding trial that involves the commercial broiler industry,” said Chris Corry, USGC senior director of international operations. “Technical consultations with those performing the trial continue and we are looking forward to the final results.”

During initial phases of the unrest within Egypt, the council encouraged poultry, dairy and cattle producers to stock up on feed ingredients in case transportation became an issue. Indeed, transportation was a problem, as the main road between Cairo and the port of Alexandria was blocked.

Many livestock producers and feed companies purchased a supply of U.S. DDGS that was in Egypt at the time even though they had never used it before.

“They knew there may be shortages of feed ingredients,” Soliman said, “so they wanted to get what they could to fill in the gaps. Since U.S. DDGS was here, the council encouraged them to purchase it and we worked with them through this period to support their use of the product. In the end, they found it worked very well in their rations.”

In fact, he said, dairy producers found that milk production increased when they began including U.S. DDGS in their feed.

Corry explained that last November there was only one supplier of U.S. DDGS in the market but that the council worked to increase that number to three.

“Because there were more suppliers in Egypt, there were more supplies of U.S. DDGS that helped Egyptian livestock producers continue producing food for their people and, in some cases, even increase production,” he said.

Egypt also re-entered the U.S. corn market this week, with an announcement from the Foreign Agricultural Service that Egypt had booked a new sale of 120,000 tons (4.7 million bushels) of U.S. corn for delivery during the 2010-11 marketing year.

Soliman said those involved in agriculture in Egypt have a positive outlook and are hopeful for the future.

“People are looking forward to providing for their people but also having the opportunity to vote, to have a say,” he said.