A global audience of approximately 500 buyers and suppliers of U.S. coarse grains and co-products kicked off a full day of learning and networking at the Export Exchange 2022 in Minneapolis, sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and Growth Energy. Among the top speakers on Thursday were Minnesota Ag Commissioner Thom Petersen and USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Ag Relations Jason Hafemeister.
In his presentation, Petersen spoke of the importance of global trade at the state level, noting how Minnesota established an office in Taiwan that recently helped secure the sale of $2.7 billion in corn and soy products to that country. “We’ve built some great relationships, we had some delegations here over the past few weeks, Peru, Colombia, the Philippines,” he said. “I think that’s really opened up doors and I can see the value of these discussions around trade.”
Hafemeister spoke of the importance of global trade for reducing overall extreme poverty, how innovations have increased crop yields, and how the global trade map has shifted over the last several decades.
“If we don’t have open markets, we won’t have the investment needed to do the research and solve new problems,” Hafemeister said. “If the markets aren’t open, our farmers can’t adopt new ideas to sell into those markets. We can’t discriminate against techniques that stifle development and shut out producers.”
“We are pleased that both speakers set the tone for this exciting meeting,” said USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand. “They provided not only a localized perspective on the ag sector here in Minnesota, but also provided the larger national view of the U.S. and global grains market.”
“This week has been an exciting opportunity to network and build relationships that will last into the future,” said Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Market Development Mike Lorenz. “The content in the presentations has been very informative and relevant given all the trade challenges we are facing in today’s market from supply issues to logistics.”
“It was great to see this event kick off with so much enthusiasm,” said RFA Vice President for Technical and Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis. “It has been four years since the last event, but the high level of interest in Export Exchange for networking and connecting across markets continues as if there was no gap. Today’s presentations helped everyone understand the global dynamics at play during this period of abnormal inflation and continuing post-pandemic logistics challenges.”
Also on the agenda Thursday were:
- a WASDE report overview by Reece Cannady of the USGC,
- a review of inflation, monetary policy and commodities by Arlan Suderman of StoneX,
- a shipping and logistics overview by Jay O’Neil of HJ O’Neil Commodity Consulting,
- a DDGS Global production, supply and demand briefing by Matt Fitzthum of CHS,
- a pet food outlook from Lisa Schole of Evolve Consulting; and
- a look at aquafeed demand by USGC’s Ronnie Tan.
Taking place biannually, Export Exchange offers attendees an unparalleled opportunity to meet and build relationships with domestic suppliers of corn, distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), sorghum, barley and other commodities. The global buyers have been broken down into 20 trade teams that have either been in the United States ahead of Export Exchange or will continue their visits after the event to see corn-growing states during harvest, explore DDGS production at ethanol plants, view port facilities and more as they build their networks with U.S. suppliers.
The conference runs through Friday at the Hilton Minneapolis. More information is available at www.exportexchange.org or on social media at #ExEx22.