February 8, 2011

U.S. Grains Council meets for strategic planning for U.S. corn, DDGS

A record-breaking number of participants, more than 230, are gathered in New Orleans, Louisiana this week for the U.S. Grains Council’s 2011 International Marketing Conference and Annual Membership Meeting.

During the first two days of meetings and speakers, presenters and the Council’s international staff members, focused on export issues including trade policy, biotechnology and value-added.

Thomas Dorr, the Council’s President and CEO, gave opening remarks by explaining the theme for the meeting: The Year of Competitiveness. A new strategic plan described by Dorr will be an opportunity for the upcoming year to gain results from adding value to U.S. grains through international markets. The new strategic plan is built around an “egg yolk” which is policy, surrounded by demand, trade and marketing. They also have a number of new ways to look at current and future international markets.

A hot topic during the meetings is the anti-dumping DDGS case in China, which happened December 28th. The Council has been instrumental in providing resources and communications on the issue, which is currently under investigation. Resolving this issue is critical to the long-term access to competitive markets.

Another important part of this annual meeting are the Advisory Team (A-Team) panels who meet to discuss specific critical issues. A-Teams include Asia, Rest of the World (ROW), Biotechnology, Trade Policy, Membership/Communication, and Value-Added.

According to a recent news release, Erick Erickson, USGC special assistant for planning, evaluation and projects, emphasized the role of A-Teams in developing the Council’s United Export Strategy (UES), the annual plan that directs Council priorities and programs.

“These programs are for our members, so it’s critical that they bring their own perspectives and insights to the discussion to help determine our future,” Erickson said. “The checkoffs invest grower dollars in export market development, and our success contributes to growers’ bottom lines.”

Nebraska Corn Board chairman and member of the Council Board of Directors, Alan Tiemann, sits on the Mem/Com A-Team as the board liaison. In the first two days, they have discussed key issues and putting a communication plan together for the new strategic branding and outreach, as well as an update from the 2010 Corn Mission.

The Council meeting will convene until Thursday, February 10 at the Hotel InterContinental in New Orleans. For updates on Twitter, follow the #usgrains11 hashtag.

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