Corn Commentary

Overseas Visitors Gain First-Hand Knowledge of Corn, DDGS

Today, Corn Commentary features a guest blog post from Wisconsin Corn Growers Association Communications Director Nancy Kavazanjian.

Seeing is believing for grain buyers from around the world as they visit our farms and farm businesses this week in conjunction with the U.S. Grains Council Export Exchange Conference.

I had the privilege of hosting top management officials from grain importing companies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia who came to learn more about our corn industry, crop quality and especially the production of Dried Distillers Grains (DDGS).  The Algerian delegation includes the largest corn and soybean importers of Algeria, representing over 85% of all Algerian corn imports (3.1 MMT) and their government recently (September 1, 2012) exempted custom duties on DDGS. All three countries have growing poultry, dairy and livestock markets that require imported feed grains to meet their needs.

Our farms and farming businesses truly are the envy of the world – as this visit clearly demonstrated. However, without a farm bill that funds such first-hand experiences as these, along with the imports they stimulate, may become a thing of the past.  Just another really important reason why Congress must reauthorize the Farm Bill as soon as possible!

First stop was Big River Ethanol plant, Boyceville, Wisconsin, where they marveled at the technology and plant efficiencies and were dazzled by the bright yellow color of the incoming corn and resulting DDGS.

Day two of our tour started at Beskar Farms, Wheeler, Wis., where they raise and store corn for Big River Ethanol along with identity preserved soybeans and kidney beans for canning. They are one of two businesses that originate nearly 40% of all U.S. kidney beans as the group was surprised to learn! As impressive as this was, the importers were especially delighted to find an unharvested corn field they could examine.