A cadre of international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products from more than 35 countries are scheduled to arrive in Minneapolis next week for Export Exchange 2018, ready to meet with U.S. suppliers and service providers across the value chain. Export Exchange is an educational and trade forum for U.S. feed grains that will host approximately 200 participants organized into 21 USGC trade teams. The biennial conference, scheduled for Oct. 22 to 24, is sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy. "At a time when we have just agreed to a new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, highlighting the importance of international trade can be no better illustrated than by Export Exchange and the trade team visits before and after the event," said Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council. "It is essential for us to strengthen the bonds between suppliers and partner countries, and the connections made at this critical event will not only help propel our industry this year, but for years to come." The Export Exchange conference is the conduit between buyer teams from countries interested in purchasing U.S. feed grains and U.S. suppliers. The meeting brings these groups together to help each broaden their networks and forge new relationships by facilitating trade of U.S. corn, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), sorghum and other commodities. "Next week's event allows producers to promote the many benefits of ethanol and its coproducts like DDGS to key foreign markets like Mexico, Turkey, Thailand, South Korea and many others," said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. "We're excited for the opportunity to tell the story of how they are produced and how they can support agriculture at home and abroad." During the conference, speakers – including Roger Watchorn, Group Leader at Cargill, Dr. Robert Johansson, Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Kelly Davis, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at the Renewable Fuels Association will speak about the state of the agricultural supply chain, the 10-year PS&D outlook for feed grains and food safety regulations for DDGS manufacturers, respectively, among other topics including transportation options for U.S. feed grains. "Trade is incredibly important to our industry, as nearly one out of every three tons of animal feed produced by the U.S. ethanol industry is exported," said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. "The Export Exchange provides an excellent opportunity for U.S. producers to strengthen relationships with current customers in the international market, as well as to cultivate new partnerships. We're looking forward to another exciting and productive event." Before and after the conference, trade teams from countries around the globe will travel to various grain-producing states where they will engage in specialized farm visits, tour the 2018 corn harvest, as well as explore ethanol plants and get a better understanding of transloading facilities so they have a clear picture of the U.S. value chain for these commodities. To register or find more information, visit www.exportexchange.org.