Grain News

Morocco Trade Delegation Visits MN Corn Farms and Ethanol Plant

Date Posted: December 17, 2013

The temperature in Morocco was around 65 degrees on Dec. 10.

In Minnesota, thermometers struggled to stay above zero as icy winds gusted up to 15 miles-per-hour.

The frigid conditions and drastic temperature difference didn’t stop a Moroccan trade team from learning more about homegrown ethanol and Minnesota corn farming, though.

A delegation that included representatives from three major feed companies in Morocco visited Lori Feltis’s and Jerry Demmer’s farms in Stewartville and Clarks Grove, respectively.

Demmer is the chair of the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council and Feltis serves as council secretary.

The team learned how to run a corn moisture test at Feltis’s Farm and got an up-close look at corn planting and harvesting equipment at Demmer’s farm.

The five-member team also visited the Guardian Energy ethanol facility in Janesville where it was given an overview of the ethanol production process and a tour of the 100 million gallons per year facility.

Questions from team members focused on everything from planting decisions and costs associated with farming, to crop insurance and dried distillers grains.

“We have a much larger corn crop this year and more competitively priced,” said Cary Sifferath of the U.S. Grains Council, who led the delegation and worked with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association to coordinate the team’s Minnesota stops.

“We’re trying to get the U.S. market share back up in countries like Morocco and other places like Africa and the Middle East,” Sifferath said.

In the fall — back when it was 80 degrees in Minnesota instead of below zero — a trade delegation from Taiwan visited and signed a letter of intent to purchase $1.83 billion worth of U.S. corn and corn co-products.

Meeting in-person with foreign trade delegations provides Minnesota corn farmers an excellent opportunity to answer questions and concerns potential buyers may have about U.S. grown corn.

It’s also an opportunity to develop long-term relationships that pay off for Minnesota corn farmers well into the future.

“For the end users in Morocco, meeting face-to-face with growers here in Minnesota and throughout the U.S. is really the key to developing those markets overseas,” Sifferath said.

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