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Producer groups see promise in corn exports to China, Vietnam

Agriculture.com Staff 07/11/2006 @ 5:30am

After an 11-day fact-finding mission to Vietnam, China and New Zealand, representatives of two U.S. producer groups say they are optimistic about potential markets in those countries for U.S. corn and corn co-products.

In Vietnam and China, representatives of the U.S. Grains Council (USCG) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) analyzed market situations and assessed the role each will play in importing U.S. feed grains and co-products like dried distillers' grains (DDGs). NCGA representatives then flew to New Zealand for four days of talks with agricultural producers and officials there.

NCGA President Gerald Tumbleson, First Vice President Ken McCauley, Corn Board member Daryl Haack and CEO Rick Tolman represented NCGA on the trip. USGC President and CEO Ken Hobbie, Chairman Davis Anderson, Vice Chairman Vic Miller and Senior Director of International Relations Mike Callahan represented USGC.

Tumbleson and McCauley both said they saw the potential of markets for DDGs in Vietnam and for corn in China.

"I think we have a good chance to sell some DDGs into Vietnam's feeding rations," Tumbleson said. "This is a good opportunity because they have swine and swine is going to be their industry."

McCauley said DDGs shipped separately in containers from the United States to Vietnam will be a good business. "Because they feed pork, we stressed the fact that they need to work with their suppliers to make sure they'll get what they need, because when you're dealing with pork, you need to know what the DDG is composed of and what kind of process it's been through."

Both Tumbleson and McCauley said Vietnam ports are adequately structured to accept the containers from U.S. ships.

They also noted a trend shift in China, where they saw a transition from a corn exports to corn imports. Tumbleson said the trend is largely due to the small farms that can't produce the quantities that China needs. "They don't use biotechnology, and their farms are very small," he explained. "If they changed their field size and used biotechnology, their production would be tremendous. But I don't know if they'll get to that."

He said China's farm programs pay farmers to stay in the countryside, limiting the amount of corn they can produce. Meanwhile, the country is expanding its processing capacity, currently at 100%, and will rely on corn imports to meet their growing needs.

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