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K-State Today

July 10, 2017

Workshop held at IGP Institute for next generation of Chinese grain buyers

Submitted by Samantha Albers

U.S. Grains Council China Sorghum Workshop participants at the IGP Institute

Sorghum is a valuable grain to Kansas as it is the largest sorghum-producing state in the country and, in 2016, harvested 2.9 million acres of the crop. This commodity thrives in Kansas because it is efficient with respect to solar energy and water usage.

A team that represents China's next generation of grain buyers attended a specialized workshop at the IGP Institute to focus on the sorghum market in the U.S. from Texas to Kansas. These industry professionals work for companies that are responsible for 50 percent of China's sorghum imports. 

The workshop, sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council, helped participants gain a better understanding of the current year's sorghum crop conditions and purchasing potential from the U.S. The program also helped the team reinforce the demand for U.S. sorghum.

"All of the course topics discussed were very good in this course," says Qianlong Tu, purchasing manager at Guangdong Haid Group Co. Ltd. in China. "It's good for us to learn to negotiate trade contracts with suppliers, and we also know how to control the cost of the purchase and know the product price. It is also very helpful to reduce the risk in purchasing decisions."

In the training program, team members engaged in detailed discussions and lectures with Kansas State University faculty and staff to cover several grain marketing topics for U.S. standards and regulations as well as international grain trade rules.

"The grain buyers on this team exemplify the future of U.S.–Chinese trade," says Bryan Lohmar, U.S. Grains Council director in China. "Facilitating their face-to-face discussions with U.S. sorghum farmers and grain traders is part of the council's continuous efforts to improve the understanding of grain sorghum as a valuable feed ingredient."

"Trade teams help increase familiarity with U.S. marketing and export logistics," Lohmar adds. Connecting these leading importers with U.S. suppliers and discussing specific purchasing needs improves their ability to procure sorghum and expand its use in China."

During their visit, the team traveled to farmers' fields, feed mills, ethanol plants and grain elevators. They also visited both the Port of Corpus Christi and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Federal Grain Inspection Service station in Texas.

While visiting Kansas, the team members not only visited the IGP Institute for the training program, but also met with sorghum traders and U.S. sorghum producers on their farms, and visited a grain elevator and an ethanol plant.

The IGP Institute offers continued education for industry professionals to help enhance the market preference, consumption and utilization of U.S. cereal grains, oilseeds and their value-added products for global grain industry. That education and technical training happens through both on-site and distance offerings. From January 2016 to date, the team at IGP has trained 439 professionals through 20 courses for both international and domestic audiences focusing on the sorghum commodity.