Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Japanese Trade Team Tours MKC

By Nichole Gouldie, Communications Specialist

Industry representatives from Japan visited MKC at Groveland on July 26 through a trip hosted by the Sorghum Checkoff and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). The week-long trip was an effort to emphasize the quality of sorghum produced in the U.S. and the value it can provide in Japan.

“We enjoyed the unique opportunity to host the Japan delegation to MKC,” said Nathan Eck, Groveland Location Manager for MKC. “Our visitors were very interested to see how the commodities they purchase from the U.S. work their way through the supply chain from farm gate to our cooperative to port and then on to their facilities in Japan.”

Matt Long, Grain Operations Manager at Groveland for MKC, covered Groveland’s intake of wheat, corn, sorghum and other commodities. Japan representatives also learned about the need for speed and space MKC customers are looking for and how the Groveland location fits those needs. The group also toured the warehouse and elevator facilities.

The Japanese group, consisting of five individuals involved in livestock feed production, arrived to the U.S and traveled to several different locations in Texas before making their way to Kansas. The group began in the Ft. Worth area where they met with sorghum farmers and learned how it was produced. Representatives also met with grain traders in the Texas Panhandle to learn about marketing sorghum and how sorghum is traded in the U.S. Their trip also included a feed lot tour learning about utilizing sorghum silage and flaked grain in beef production.

Their first stop in Kansas was in Wichita where they visited with animal nutritionists to learn more about the feeding value of sorghum. They also toured the Kansas Ethanol Plant in Lyons, KS, and learned about the feeding value of sorghum distillers grains. The group also had the opportunity to visit Baldwin Farms near McPherson.

Tetsuo “Tommy” Hammoto, Japan Director for the U.S. Grains Council, said this was the third
trip to Kansas for groups of Japan representatives.  “Hosting international trade teams continues to be an important effort by the USGC and the Sorghum Checkoff,” Tommy said. “The trips focus on internal marketing, allowing other countries to see the U.S. sorghum industry first-hand while making purchasing decisions.”

Japan is the third largest importer of U.S. sorghum and primarily utilizes the grain in its livestock industry. The United Sorghum Checkoff Program works to improve the profitability of the sorghum industry through research, promotion and information.

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