Japanese Corn Buyers Team Visits Indiana to See Crop for Themselves

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 9, 2015) — A U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade team representing the Japanese corn processing industry, feed industry and corn trade was in Indiana October 7-9 to see the quantity and quality of the current crop firsthand.
The visit was one part of a learning journey including stops at corn farms, elevators, export factories and a visit to Dow AgroSciences LLC in Indianapolis, Ind. The trade team also met with Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.
The goal was to give these important buyers an opportunity to receive firsthand updates on U.S. corn production and quality; allow them to discuss the quality advantages of U.S. corn with U.S. farmers; and learn about U.S. corn quality standards directly from U.S. exporters.    
“The Council aims to arm this team with the knowledge they need to understand U.S. corn production, the U.S. marketing system and U.S. grades and standards that are the basis for corn export trading practices,” said Alan Tiemann, USGC chairman who farms in Nebraska. “We are hopeful that what team members learn this week will give them the right tools they need to purchase the high-quality U.S. corn they demand and to increase their confidence in the United States’ ability to provide them with a consistent supply of our product.”  
The team also focused on learning about the U.S. biotech regulatory system and safety assessment process, as well as how biotech traits are developed and utilized in the United States. This information is expected to help the Japanese corn industry representatives better understand why U.S. corn farmers grow biotech crops and its safety for consumers. 
Among other information presented, Dr. Alan McHughen of the University of California Riverside traveled with the team and hosted an informal session at the end of each day’s activities to address the team participant’s questions about U.S. corn and biotechnology. 
Indiana Corn Marketing Council is an active member of USGC, a private, non-profit organization that works to develop exports in more than 50 countries from 10 worldwide offices and its Washington, D.C., headquarters.  
The trade team toured two Indiana farms to see the 2015 corn crop firsthand. On Oct. 7, the group visited Howell Farms near Middletown, Ind. and met with David and Mary Howell on their family’s farm. On Oct. 9, David and Teresa Gottbrath hosted the trade team on their farm near New Pekin, Ind. in Washington County.
“Our export customers are really interested in seeing where the products they buy are coming from and visits like this allow them not only to see the crops in the field but also meet the farmers growing the corn and ask questions about our farms and management practices,” said David Gottbrath, ICMC vice president. “An important role of the corn checkoff is building markets for our corn and corn co-products and we believe export markets, not only for corn but also DDGs and other corn co-products, are going to continue to be important for corn farmers here in Indiana and across the U.S.”
More from Indiana Corn Marketing Council is at www.incorn.org, and more from the U.S. Grains Council is at www.grains.org. 


CONTACT:  Contact: Megan Kuhn, Indiana Corn Marketing Council, 317-614-0377, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

The Indiana Corn Marketing Council was established by the Indiana General Assembly to promote the interest of corn growers in the state and manage corn checkoff funds. The Council is composed of 17 voting producer directors and seven appointed industry, and government representatives. For more information, visit www.incorn.org. 
This communication was funded with corn checkoff dollars.
Facts about Japanese Demand for Coarse Grains:
  • Japan annually uses around 14 million metric tons (551 million bushels) of corn, 1.8 million tons (71 million bushels) of sorghum and 1.3 million tons (60 million bushel) of barley, mainly for animal feed. 
  • Japan produces negligible amount of corn and sorghum and around 0.15 million tons (6.9 million bushels) of barley, mainly used as food. Japan is the largest importer of U.S. corn and the second largest importer of U.S. sorghum. 
  • Japan shows a steady increase in purchases of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) imports, with 465,164 tons per year imported in 2013, a 3 percent increase from 2012. 
  • Because of population decline and aging demographics, Japanese food and agricultural market is expected to shrink, but the attention consumers pay to food safety and value is increasing. 
  • The reduced availability of U.S. corn due to the drought hit the United States in 2012 decreased the U.S. corn market share in Japan to 45 percent in calendar year 2013. During this time, Japanese buyers and end-users were forced to diversify sourcing. Even though Japan returned to purchasing U.S. corn and was the top buyer of U.S. corn in 2014, the U.S. corn industry must continue to defend its market share in this top market with buyers now more capable of and willing to source from other origins.  
  • The Japanese feed industry has been heavily committed to buying from the United States because of the reliability of the U.S. industry and origination investments Japanese companies have made in the U.S. Corn Belt. However, the industry is recently diversifying sources of feed grains actively which threatens U.S. market share significantly.
Links to Related U.S. Grains Council Stories:
U.S. Coarse Grains Exports to Japan, according to the USDA:

  Marketing Year
  2012/2013 2013/2014 As of Aug. 27, 2015
Coarse Grain Metric Tons Value (USD) Metric
Value (USD) Metric Tons
Corn 6,874,163.6 $2,205,224,887 11,856,105.1 $2,626,277,580 12,318,700.0
Barley 70,440.0 $20,457,111 170,329.0 $41,696,525 4,400.0
Sorghum 208,654.0 $59,930,456 291,900.0 $66,507,290 113,900.0
DDGS 383,057.0   $117,852,720 482,609.0 $128,425,514 N/A