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By US Grains Council | 02 Aug 2021
The US Grains Council brought members together in person on July 28 for the first time since the start of the pandemic, kicking off its annual summer meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, and online via a virtual meeting platform.
Attending his first face-to-face meeting since taking office as Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack addressed attendees on the state and future of US agricultural trade.
Vilsack began his remarks by calling the US grain industry the “secret sauce” of commerce, noting that its members understand the importance of the partnership to growing export demand.
“We are in the process of rebuilding better for trade at USDA,” Vilsack said. “We are working to remove barriers to trade and are ready to engage more frequently and more closely with our counterparts in other countries. American agriculture is at the center of this work because if anything happens internationally, American agriculture will feel that change. We are prepared and ready to seek more opportunities and diversity from our business partners.
In addition, Vilsack stressed the continued need for biofuels in the future, including for aviation and the navy.
“It will be a long time before we are in a position where we no longer need biofuels. We need to look at creative ways to use bio-based products. If we can do it, I think we’ll see a bright future for American agriculture, ”he said.
USGC President Jim Raben, a farmer from Illinois, began the 61st annual meeting of the Council of Delegates by thanking the industry for their persistence during the global pandemic.
“Over the past year, our members have provided customers around the world with a virtual behind-the-scenes look at their operations and assured our global partners that the United States will continue to provide them with a reliable, high-quality product, despite these uncertainties. times, ”Raben said.
“Likewise, our staff – time and time again – have stepped up their efforts and business has continued despite the pandemic that keeps us at home and the technological challenges that we all have faced and have had to overcome. “
USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand presented his assessment of the state of the markets for corn, sorghum, barley, dried distillers’ grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol at United States.
“During this time, we were challenged to think new ways, to understand how we could use technology to continue to serve our customers and keep markets open,” he said. “I can definitely say that we were successful. We had record sales of US corn and US sorghum during this period. Although it is still a difficult commercial horizon beyond our coasts, it is a very promising horizon. “
Nearly 400 in-person and online attendees also heard a recorded presentation by former Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ambassador Alan Wolff and a live presentation by futurist Christopher Kent of the Foresight Alliance. , who shared his take on what American commerce might look like. like in a post-COVID world.
The winner of the World Food Prize, distinguished professor and soil scientist at Ohio State University, Dr Rattan Lal, spoke about the role of agriculture in sustainability as the world emerges from the global pandemic.
In the afternoon, participants took part in one or more of the seven meetings of the Council Advisory Team (Team A). Each A-Team has a specific focus – including Asia, Ethanol, Innovation & Sustainability, Middle East / Africa / South Asia, Trade Policy, Value Added & Western Hemisphere – allowing members to provide input, set priorities and help determine Council action plans for the coming year.
On Thursday, the Council’s programming is expected to focus on certain markets around the world in which it works, including Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, South Asia, Mexico and China. The meeting will culminate on Friday with the meeting of the Council of Council Delegates, the appointment of new A-Team leaders and the election of the 2021/2022 Board members.
More of the meeting is available on social media using the hashtag # grains21.