A U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade team of high-volume Chinese sorghum buyers was in Kansas this summer as part of a tour aimed at further developing and strengthening relationships between Chinese sorghum buyers and U.S. suppliers.
Members of the team were hand-selected by USGC staff in China and represent organizations that purchased 2.5 million metric tons (98 million bushels) of China’s total U.S. sorghum imports in the 2014–2015 marketing year. The team’s visits were focused on U.S. sorghum production, marketing and export logistics.
“It’s our goal at Kansas Grain Sorghum to build solid, reliable, long-lasting relationships with our friends abroad. The Chinese marketplace has expanded dramatically in the last several years and sorghum has found its place in the Chinese demand,” said Pat Damman, director of Kansas Grain Sorghum. “I’ve seen it firsthand, as I traveled to China in March with a group of Kansas sorghum farmers and met some of these same companies there. It really enhanced our relationships to be able to meet with them again when they came to Kansas.”
One of the team’s first stops was at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Federal Grain Inspection Service office to learn about U.S. grain standards, grades and testing for mycotoxins. The team then traveled to Kansas State University, where they completed a short course about poultry and swine nutrition.
This team continued its Kansas tour with visits to Harris Farms and the ADM Alliance Nutrition feed mill in Abilene, Countryside Feed in Hillsboro, Kansas Ethanol in Lyons, Baldwin Farms in McPherson, an ADM elevator in Hutchinson, and Martin Kerschen’s farm in Garden Plain. These stops helped team members, who are sorghum end users, gain a greater confidence in the United States’ ability to supply them with the high-quality sorghum they desire.
Kansas is an active member of the 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. Through its membership, the Kansas Department of Agriculture is able to help host reverse trade missions like this. “Kansas is the nation’s largest producer of grain sorghum but we’re just a small piece of the puzzle. Export markets are critical and as global competition increases, we must do our part to continue to build relationships and ensure the future demand for U.S. grain sorghum,” said Suzanne Ryan-Numrich, international trade director at KDA.
More about the Chinese trade team’s activities is available online at www.grains.org. For more information about the KDA’s international trade opportunities, contact Ryan-Numrich at 785-564-6704 or Suzanne.Numrich@ks.gov, or go to the KDA website at agriculture.ks.gov/international.
Facts About China’s Sorghum Market
In the 2014–2015 marketing year, China imported 8.3 million metric tons (326 million bushels) of U.S. sorghum, accounting for 94 percent of U.S. global exports.
While barriers for U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) exports to China remain, the market has purchased more than 6.0 million metric tons (236 million bushels) of U.S. sorghum this marketing year as of May 19. This is down slightly from last marketing year at the same time but still a major turnaround from 2011–2012 and prior marketing years during which China purchased almost no U.S. sorghum.
The Council continues to monitor and foster this market by providing importers and end users information on procurement, nutrition and crop progress in the United States, as well as continuing its trade servicing support.