Ag News

USGC: “Building trade relationships virtually”

IARN — U.S. Grains Council delegates elected Illinois farmer Jim Raben as chairman of its Board of Directors. Raben mulls over his tenure, which he admits: “It’s been great, but not what I expected.”

“When I reached chairman, I thought I would see all of my friends and supporters face-to-face. The world has changed,” shares Raben. U.S. Grains Council (USGC) directors and staff have adapted well to maintaining and building relationships in a different, online format.

“Virtual has worked well. It’s not like speaking with people face-to-face. We’re learning to build relationships through a virtual setting now. Things have gone good,” Raben says.

Raben says, “Trade has been doing well.” He plans to work towards “picking up more demand” and “opening up other countries.” He speaks to a couple areas where he sees great potential for U.S. corn and corn byproducts in the years ahead.

“Ethanol has taken a hit because of COVID-19,” Raben says. “If we want clean air, we definitely need to use ethanol. And I think other countries need clean air, as we all do.”

“India is moving forward,” Raben says. “I had the opportunity to visit Myanmar, which doesn’t buy anything. That was in-person, and we talked with people. We hope we made an impression, somewhat of a relationship with them, so when they do need grain, they will step forward and come to us.”

World Agricultural Outlook Board chairman Dr. Mark Jekanowski earlier this month suggested, “American farmers could plant a record acreage of major field crops in 2021, if favorable prices continue and spring weather allows.” Raben reassures farmers, “If we do increase our acres, we’ll have a home for it.”

“With China buying what corn they have this year, that puts them in third for corn buying. We hope that stays up,” Raben says. “If we do increase our acres, we’ll have a home for it because our demand is going up.”

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Grains Council

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