The first-ever U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agricultural trade mission (ATM) to Madrid, Spain, took place last week, allowing potential Spanish and Portuguese importers to discuss U.S. grain purchasing specifics and network with U.S. Grains Council (USGC) staff and members.
USGC-sponsored member-representatives in the delegation included Mark Wilson, USGC corn sector director; Verity Ulibarri, USGC secretary-treasurer; and Jim Massey, USGC sorghum sector director.
“Our presence in the trade missions, Spain in particular, shows our desire to enhance our relationships with good trading partners and to continue to be a consistent option and resource for feed grains, their co-products and a partner in research and market development,” Ulibarri said.
“Our delegation received a better understanding of the overall political, economic and commercial climate, especially related to agriculture, which enhanced our knowledge of the needs of their market. Our interactions with producers, end-users and others in their value chain revealed what Spain and similar countries must work through to achieve all aspects of sustainability, which was an eye-opening experience for us.”
During the mission, the group visited with Iberian pork and fighting bull producers to learn about fattening techniques, visited a dairy and took part in several educational and business-to-business sessions.
“The ATM was very enlightening about the European Union’s Farm to Fork program and how it will impact the farmers and ranchers in Spain, as well as the consumers,” Wilson said.
In the past year, the Council has welcomed several teams consisting of buyers from Spain and Portugal to the United States to witness the sorghum value chain in action, in addition to holding a Corn Harvest Quality Report rollout event in Spain to showcase the quality of the U.S. commodity. The Council plans to continue to involve Spanish buyers in its sorghum programming, while also promoting corn and high protein corn co-products in pig diets throughout the country. “As the world’s sixth-largest feed market, it’s important to have a substantial footprint in Spain,” said Reece Cannady, USGC assistant regional director – Middle East and Europe. “With the help of USDA FAS Madrid, we have some wonderful partners that should take us into future projects that will include various feeding trials and promotional events.”