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The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in conjunction with the Nebraska Corn Board and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board will soon bring a Japanese trade team of feed milling professionals to the United States. While here, the team will visit Nebraska, Iowa and Washington to better understand the U.S. corn marketing system and pave the way for continued growth in grain, ethanol and co-product sales to the country.

The team of five, including feed milling decision makers, are in the United States to see firsthand U.S. corn, co-products and ethanol production, meeting directly with U.S. suppliers and exporters.

“Prospective corn buyers from any country want to experience every point in the value chain. That’s why the Council strives to bring buyers together with sellers to facilitate trade around the world,” said Ryan LeGrand, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council. “Japan has been a longstanding trading partner with the U.S. and is our second largest buyer of grains in all forms. We are excited to educate these newer, less-experienced Japanese feed corn millers, showcase major production facilities and farms in our country and demonstrate just how proud we are of the corn quality in the U.S., so we can continue to cement these relationships for U.S. farmers and Japanese end-users for years to come.”

Japan ranks as the second largest buyer of U.S. corn and U.S. sorghum, the third largest market for U.S. barley and the ninth largest buyer of U.S. DDGS.

Japan more than doubled U.S. ethanol imports to 934,000 gallons (331,000 bushels in corn equivalent) in 2017/2018, the most since 2010/2011. Using information provided by the Council, the Japanese Ministry of Economy (METI) modified its policy in 2018 to allow U.S. corn-based ethanol in the market based on technological advancements that raised the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction level of U.S. corn-based ethanol and allowed near-term imports of ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) made with nearly 100 million gallons of ethanol.

“Nebraska has a long-standing tradition and reputation of producing quality ag products,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “We’re appreciative of Japan’s business and we’re working to strengthen this relationship well into the future. I’m excited for this group to be in our great state.”

During their time in Iowa and Nebraska, participants will visit a corn farm operation, grain elevator with a rail terminal, ethanol plant and feed mill before flying to Washington to stop in at an export terminal where they will see how grain is sampled and goes through grain inspection before making its way to Japan.