The U.S. Grains Council and the National Corn Growers Association are partnering with several state corn organizations to put on five trade schools this winter.
The regional events build on similar workshops held in Washington, D.C., in 2016 and 2019 and in St. Louis in 2018. Each offered information demonstrating the importance of trade to the agriculture industry and farmers’ profitability; details on hot topics on the trade agenda; and training on how participants can talk about trade issues in their communities.
Negotiations on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a trade agreement with Japan and a trade deal with China dominated much of agriculture news in 2019, spurring interest among those in the ag sector and creating demand for more detailed information on trade topics.
“In the last several years, we’ve really seen the interest in trade and market development surge among farmers who are seeing how critical overseas sales are to their profitability,” said Melissa Kessler, USGC director of strategic relations, who manages the trade school events.
The first of the 2019/2020 winter events was held in December in Maryland in partnership with the Maryland Grain Producers Board, attracting farmers as well as representatives from an elevator, railroad and Farm Credit.
- Indianapolis on Jan. 21 and 22, in partnership with the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, the Ohio Corn Marketing Board, the Michigan Corn Marketing Program and the Kentucky Corn Promotion Program.
- Olathe, Kansas, on Feb. 17, in partnership with Kansas Corn, Nebraska Corn, Missouri Corn and Iowa Corn.
- Moline, Illinois, on Feb. 19, in partnership with Iowa Corn and Illinois Corn.
- Burlington, Colorado, on March 11 and 12, in partnership with Colorado Corn.
“Our focus for 60 years has been on developing markets opened by strong trade policy. We truly believe in our mission and are glad to be sharing that mission with so many in our grains community this winter,” Kessler said.
Each event is free for participants, though pre-registration is required.