Farmers Meet with Mexican and Korean Business Reps
Illinois farmers overcame physical distance during harvest to meet online with international business leaders from Mexico and South Korea for a special virtual trade mission and farm tour.
Representatives from Gruma, a global food company founded in Mexico that manufactures corn flour and tortillas, met with farmers and grain handlers to better understand white corn production, quality, and availability in Illinois. Another team of nearly 20 from South Korea represented corn and co-product buyers from the corn processing and feed industry. This group was particularly interested in learning more about the current corn crop condition, overall supply situation in Illinois, and the Mississippi River export channel.
The farm tour featured former Illinois Corn Marketing Board of Director, Lou Lamoreux and his family’s farm in Carroll County in Northwest Illinois. Lamoreux grows corn and soybeans along with operating a beef cattle feedlot. The video took the international guests through daily operations on his farm and highlighted Illinois’ world class corn production and transportation capabilities.
In addition to the farm tour, the groups met with representatives from Consolidated Grain and Barge in Hennepin, which markets conventional and specialty grains around the world.
The U.S. Grains Council coordinated the event along with state corn organizations. U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol. The group has a full-time presence in South Korea and Mexico.
“Although we were not able to physically host trade teams this year, we made the best of the situation and reached many more buyers through the virtual platform,” Collin Watters, IL Corn Director of Exports and Logistics, said. “I am confident that the connections we make though these programs will drive demand for Illinois corn around the world”
The groups met Thursday morning and evening on October 15th via Microsoft Teams.
Overall, both international groups and farmers took away key points about the importance of having consistent reliable trading partners and the benefits they have for one another.