Leaders of a 20-member delegation from Taiwan signed a letter of intent during a ceremony today at the Minnesota state capitol to purchase an estimated $1.83 billion worth of U.S. corn and corn co-products in 2014-15.
The letter — also signed by Gov. Mark Dayton and Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) president Tom Haag – declares the Taiwan Feed Industry Association’s intent to purchase about 197 million bushels of corn and 500,000 metric tons of corn co-products such as dried distillers grains (DDG).
“Minnesota’s corn farmers are helping to meet the growing demand for food and agriculture-based products in Taiwan,” said Haag, who was part of a Minnesota delegation that traveled to Taiwan earlier this year. “We have been strengthening our relationship with Taiwan officials through visits and face-to-face meetings over the last couple of years. Today’s signing ceremony shows that all of our work is paying off for Minnesota agriculture.”
Taiwan is one of the world’s largest consumers of U.S. agricultural products on a per capita basis. Its GDP ranks among the top 20 in the world. Because Taiwan is only about one-fourth the size of Minnesota and the average farm is under three acres, Taiwan relies on the United States for a significant amount of its food supply – especially Minnesota corn.
“The food, fiber and fuel grown by Minnesota farmers makes a positive impact in our own backyards and throughout the entire world,” Haag said. “It’s a job that we take a lot of pride in. A strong export market also boosts job creation in our state and Minnesota’s economy overall.”
Taiwan is the fifth largest importer of U.S. corn in the world and the sixth largest export market for Minnesota agricultural products. Since 1998, Taiwan has imported $8.46 billion worth of U.S. corn.
A major growth area for Taiwanese imports is livestock feed grains. Taiwan already imports 95 percent of its feed grains, a number that might increase as the demand for meat rises. Since 2011, DDG – a high-protein livestock feed that is a co-product of corn ethanol production – exports to Taiwan have increased by 32 percent.