New uses and confidence in supplies were the foundation for recent talks between representatives from the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and trading partners in Asia. NCGA President Ken McCauley called the trip “very productive.”

McCauley, Firstirst Vice-President Ron Litterer, Bitotech Working Group Chairman Martin Barbre and CEO Rick Tolman spent 10 days in China, Taiwan and Japan. They met with grain processors, ethanol and bioplastic producers, government officials and representatives from the food industry.

Along with representatives from the U.S. Grains Council, the four discussed issues ranging from distillers dried grains (DDG) to a producer’s-eye-view of the current market.

“The market has held despite price fluctuations,” McCauley said. “They appreciated our visit. After three trips in the last 12 months, I can see how much better they’re getting to know us.”

“The Taiwanese purchase 98.5 percent of all their corn from the United States,” noted McCauley. “They’re very happy with us, but of course, they’re concerned about supply. The Chinese are very interested in DDG. I think they’ll increase their DDG imports as soon as they can arrange for regular, reliable shipments. The Japanese will continue to be large grain customers, but they’re very interested in ethanol, DDGs and PLA.”

The group returned home just as the U.S. Department of Agriculture crop report was issued. The report shows growers have responded to market demand by planting the most corn in more than 60 years.

McCauley said U.S. trading partners are glad to hear information like that. “They’re very familiar with NCGA, and very interested in the grower’s perspective that we bring to discussions.”