JOHNSTON, IA -- A key focus for the Iowa Corn Promotion Board is building export markets. Currently, the top markets for Iowa’s corn crop are Japan, Mexico and China. Today, China’s growing population and middle class, along with excellent business relationships between China and Iowa have created a demand market for Iowa commodities like corn, soybeans, and pork.
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“Last year, China was the 3rd largest export market for US corn and up until the recent issue they were on track to meet or exceed that position,” said Northeast Iowa farmer Bob Hemesath who returned from China in December.
The 2013 Iowa Corn Strategic Plan developed by farmer leaders puts priority on exports with an emphasis on the China market as well as a focus on a new biotech acceptance program called MAIZALL. Through partnerships with US Grains Council and the US Meat Export Federation the Iowa Corn Promotion Board is also able to leverage checkoff funds to build international markets that will likely have a farmgate impact.
Recently traveling to China on a trade mission with the Iowa Corn I-LEAD leadership class, Hemesath noted that with any trade agreement and marketing opportunity, there will be challenges. Current challenges include a recently discovered unapproved trait (MIR162). The trait in question has been planted on only about 3% of U.S. corn acres for the last two seasons and is not confined to any region.
“Today, our corn checkoff dollars are at work with the US Grain Council to build market security in China,” said Hemesath, “I saw the discussions first hand and they are working. China is an important market, we want to make sure we build relationships for quality, reliable corn that we as US farmers can provide.”