Minneapolis--U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. grains experts were laser focused on the outlook for U.S. corn and its co-products – highlighting the importance of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) – at Export Exchange 2018 in Minneapolis today. Export Exchange is a biennial educational and trade forum for U.S. feed grains that will host attendees from both the U.S. and various countries organized into 21 U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade teams. Both teams will meet with U.S. suppliers and get a chance to learn about current supply and demand for U.S. feed products. Co-sponsored by the USGC, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Export Exchange 2018 offers attendees an unparalleled opportunity to meet and build relationships with domestic suppliers of corn, DDGS, sorghum, barley and other commodities. "The U.S. DDGS market is once again on the rise in various parts of the world," said Tom Sleight, USGC president and chief executive officer. "Not only are we seeing increases of DDGS purchases in the Western Hemisphere - in Mexico and Canada - but we're also seeing increases in countries like Indonesia, Vietnam and India. Highlighting the importance and versatility of U.S. DDGS at Export Exchange only makes sense." After welcome remarks by USGC chairman Jim Stitzlein and the USDA's associate administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service Daniel Whitley, attendees heard from Export Exchange keynote speaker Roger Watchorn, group leader at Cargill Agriculture Supply Chain North America. "North America continues to be a leader in production technologies and a major player in global trade," said Watchorn. "One in seven people worldwide depend on global trade for their basic food needs. We connect farmers with those who need our products around the world. North America is unrivaled in optionality and supply chain efficiencies and we are ready to meet those needs." To round out the morning, the USDA's chief economist Dr. Robert Johansson shared with attendees the USDA's 10-year outlook on feed grains' production, supply and distribution. The afternoon was devoted to one feed grain co-product in particular – DDGS – with speakers including Tyson Foods poultry nutritionist Philip Smith, ProExporter senior analyst Bill Holbrook, Renewable Fuels Association Regulatory Affairs Vice President Kelly Davis and Distillers Grains Technology Council's executive director Kurt Rosentrater covering poultry nutrition, export challenges and opportunities, food safety regulations and new products including pelleting, high protein versions and advancing technologies. "DDGS and other ethanol co-products provide a value-added market for the U.S. ethanol industry," said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. "DDGS exports last year were shipped to 50 countries on five continents, and with upwards of 21 countries represented here at Export Exchange, this is an ideal platform to connect buyers and sellers to meet." Throughout the meeting, international attendees – composed of grain buyers from more than 35 countries - are encouraged to meet with U.S. sellers via an exhibit hall experience called Export Exchange Expo open throughout the conference. It is here that trades between end-users and U.S. sellers occur. The conference runs through Wednesday at the Minneapolis Hilton. More information is available at www.exportexchange.org or on social media at #ExEx18. Please visit www.grains.org for more information about the Council. For more information about RFA, visit www.ethanolrfa.org. For more information about Growth Energy, visit www.growthenergy.org.