The grain buyers from 35 countries who attended this year's Export Exchange conference in Minneapolis have since reported buying an estimated $403 million worth of coarse grains and co-products, including distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and feed grains.
The biennial event was held in October, sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy to offer an opportunity for education and introductions to members of the U.S. grains production and export industries.
Buyers and end-users were polled while at the conference and immediately after regarding purchase agreements with sellers and how much volume (tonnage) they bought. In total, attendees reported sales of approximately 2.1 million metric tons of grains and co-products traded either at the conference or immediately before or after.
"Bringing buyers and sellers together in this way is crucial to U.S. farmers right now, and these sales show buyers at Export Exchange 2018 were serious about making deals," said Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the Council. "Considering the international trade climate, we are pleased to see these number are holding steady."
Many buyers this year noted their purchasing strategies were more short-term, due to uncertain relationship between the United States and China, but reported they valued their long-term partnerships with U.S. suppliers. Many also reported they are still considering future purchases.
The top grain traded during the two-day conference was DDGS, with more than 1.3 million metric tons collectively exchanged. This number translates to just over 11 percent of last year's total U.S. DDGS exports. In addition, buyers reported contracting 619,000 metric tons of U.S. corn and 4,050 metric tons of U.S. sorghum.
"It's no surprise that the top commodity traded during Export Exchange was DDGS, as last year we shipped the ethanol co-product to 50 countries on five continents," said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. "DDGS and other ethanol co-products provide a value-added market for the U.S. ethanol industry, and the Export Exchange was successful, providing an ideal platform to connect buyers and sellers."
Export Exchange 2018 offered overseas attendees a unique opportunity to meet and build relationships with domestic suppliers of corn, DDGS, sorghum, barley and other commodities. Nearly 200 international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products were in Minneapolis for the conference, held Oct. 22-24, and for related tours of U.S. farms, ethanol plans and export infrastructure as part of 21 Council-sponsored trade teams.
"The 2018 Export Exchange has once again demonstrated the numerous benefits that ethanol and its co-products, like DDGS, bring to the international market," said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. "DDGS are the most extensively studied feed ingredient in the past 20 years and stands testament to the contributions of the biofuels industry in supporting global agriculture. This event is a critical venue for American producers to build bonds internationally and foster a healthy trade environment."
Other grains traded at Export Exchange included:
Corn Gluten Feed —54,000 metric tons;
Corn Gluten Meal – 600 metric tons;
Barley—500 metric tons; and
Other products including soybeans, soybean meal, feed wheat – 70,000 metric tons
The next Export Exchange is scheduled for 2020. More information about the recent event is online at www.exportexchange.org.