Corn and feed grain buyers representing the North African countries of Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia visited Minnesota last week as part of a tour of American grain operations. While in Minnesota, the group visited Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) board member Les Anderson’s farm in Cannon Falls.
At Anderson’s farm, the group took a tour of his corn fields, equipment and grain storage while discussing the quality assurance measures used on Minnesota farms. Ag Partners cooperative was also on-hand to discuss their role in assuring high quality corn.
The group also traveled to North Dakota for a short course on grain procurement at the Northern Crops Institute in Fargo. Before leaving, the group of corn and feed grain buyers traveled to Louisiana, where they visited grain export facilities.
The group consisted primarily of up-and-coming managers and directors of their companies. U.S. Grains Council (USGC), which planned the visit with the help of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, held the tour to build relationships with representatives who are considered future leaders, helping distinguish Minnesota corn and feed grain from competing countries. According to USGC, the United States faces stiff competition from Black Sea and South American exporters in the region.
The countries making up the Middle East and North Africa region include a variety of growth opportunities. Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia purchased more than 50 million bushels of corn from September 2016 to July 2017, with Morocco alone purchasing 34.3 million bushels, according to USGC statistics. Distillers’ dried grains, specifically, have potential for growth. The four countries imported nearly 342,000 tons of distillers’ grain over the same time period—an increase of 57 percent over the previous year.