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Taiwan Goodwill Mission Commits To Corn Purchases

Ethanol may be in the headlines but corn exports are still important to U.S. corn farmers. By Brian Sexton

Taiwan will continue to be a major buyer of U.S. corn for the next two years, according to the latest Taiwanese Agricultural Goodwill Mission. Iowa Corn Promotion Board leaders joined Iowa government officials to witness the signing of Taiwan's purchasing commitment last week in Des Moines.
The letter of intent commits Taiwan to purchase at least 295-million bushels of U.S. corn and possibly as much as 394-million bushels in 2008 and 2009.

"Ethanol use has been getting all the headlines, but strong export sales are also contributing to the good corn prices," said Julius Schaaf, a grower from Randolph in southwest Iowa and ICPB chair-elect. "Taiwan is a big player in achieving those export sales and is an exceptionally important trading partner."

Taiwan continues to be good customer

Schaaf notes that Taiwan is typically the No. 3 market for U.S. corn exports, despite serving a smaller population. Taiwan has imported more than $4 billion worth of U.S. corn in the last decade and is becoming a leading market for processed corn products such as distillers dried grains and corn-based plastics.

Taiwan's imports of U.S. corn have averaged 185-million bushels per year since 2001. As of May 31, Taiwan has purchased 137-million bushels in the current corn marketing year.

Schaaf and Craig Floss, ICPB CEO, met with Taiwanese government and industry leaders to discuss the outlook for Iowa corn production. Export markets for Iowa's corn are a top priority of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and partners such as the U.S. Grains Council, says Floss. The ICPB, made up of 17 Iowa growers, collects $7 million annually to develop and defend markets, fund research, and provide education about corn and corn products.

- Brian Sexton is the 2007 Wallaces Farmer intern and a student at Iowa State University.

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