DELAWARE - Paul Herringshaw, a corn grower from Bowling Green, represented the Ohio Corn Marketing Program as part of a high-level leadership mission to three key Asian markets Japan, China and Vietnam to experience an array of export challenges and opportunities for corn and processed corn products.
The mission was an opportunity for collaborative learning, as growers gained firsthand exposure to the dynamics of developing and defending export markets and shared their insights about the supply and quality of the new U.S. corn crop with key customers.
The mission was to provide a broad understanding of Japanese customer needs, based on a schedule that includes a full range of corn end-uses from livestock feeding and starch processing, to an ingredient in foods such as the newly introduced ramen noodles with 20 percent corn content.
Port tours allowed participants to assess how infrastructure issues affect corn and corn product shipments to Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, China's Pearl River Delta and Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City.
In addition to Ohio, the mission roster included participants from states representing more than 62 percent of U.S. corn production - Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska.
"Japan is the chief U.S. corn export customer, but it is also a mature market that may be in transition," said Tom Sleight, vice president of operations at the U.S. Grains Council, which organized the mission.
"In contrast, China is the No. 1 growth market in Asia and the big variable in today's world trade environment. China's demand is potentially colossal. Vietnam is still an 'infant' market but it is a good representative of the demand developing in Southeast Asia, where the United States has struggled to gain a foothold."