Export Sorghum showcases U.S. sorghum crop to international, domestic grain buyers


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With an increased demand for sorghum globally, the Sorghum Checkoff and Texas Grain Sorghum Producers jointly hosted the first Export Sorghum, an exclusive, two-day seminar for U.S. buyers of grain sorghum from across the world, in Houston, Texas, May 19-21.

The two-day event brought together international grain buyers from China, Japan, Mexico and Spain and approximately 30 domestic grain buyers and sellers.

Florentino Lopez, Sorghum Checkoff executive director, said the significance of Export Sorghum is tremendous as it provided invaluable networking and education opportunities in hopes of leading to future market opportunities for producers.

“Export Sorghum provided these individuals the chance to build relationships with one another all while learning more about sorghum,” Lopez said. “These relationships will continue to benefit sorghum growers and the industry as a whole.

During the event, attendees were provided insight on sorghum markets, trade opportunities, contract education and logistics. In addition to informational sessions, attendees visited sorghum fields at Guy Farms in Guy, Texas, as well as the Port of Houston Cargill facility to see firsthand sorghum production in action.

Among many topics, Lopez said U.S. sorghum quality and price were major discussion areas.

“Price is always important, but looking at how price, quality and logistics all come together was a big picture item we were able to address,” Lopez said, “U.S producers can definitely be proud of providing a quality product at an affordable price, which provides an advantage to end users.”

Jerry Wang, CEO and cofounder of Living Water Integra Trade Inc., said prior to Export Sorghum he had very little knowledge of sorghum. After attending the event, he said he now understands supply and demand, logistics and specifications of U.S. sorghum.

“This is very helpful for me to promote U.S. sorghum to China,” Wang said. “I appreciate the opportunity to be invited here, and I hope we can start exporting U.S. sorghum to China and find more interest.”

Recent Foreign Agriculture Service reports indicated strong export demand. FAS reported May 22 a total commitment of 3.97 million metric tons (157 million bushels) for this marketing year ending in August. Commitments for exports have already begun for the new marketing year beginning September 2014 totaling 350,000 metric tons (13.8 million bushels).

As U.S. sorghum continues to gain momentum, Lopez said international market opportunities are critical.

“Our ongoing goal must be to help build strong relationships between buyers and sellers resulting in sorghum sales,” Lopez said. “Sharing how sorghum is the smart choice will continue to be a leading theme in our mission to help build strong markets for farmers that lead to better profitability.”