Grains Council CEO at #ACE16DC

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is a new member of the U.S. Grains Council, recognizing the important role that organization plays in the promoting exports of both ethanol and the livestock feed co-product DDGS.

ace16dc-sleight“We have a unified (ethanol) industry effort working together to build exports,” said USGC president and CEO Tom Sleight who visited with members of ACE in Washington DC last week for their annual legislative fly-in. “For 15, 20 years we’ve been doing DDGS and now for about three years we’ve been looking at ethanol and the effort is going farther and faster then I thought it would, again because of the strong cooperation we’re getting from the full ethanol industry.”

Sleight says China, Japan, Mexico and India are top priorities for U.S. ethanol exports. Secondary markets include Canada, Philippines, Colombia, and Peru.

In this interview, Sleight also discusses the U.S. DDGS market outlook and upcoming Export Exchange this year to bring buyers and sellers of DDGS together. Interview with Tom Sleight, USGC

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

#ACE16DC Gets Update on China DDGs Investigation

Back in January, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) initiated an investigation into anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports of U.S. produced distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). The U.S. Grains Council has been on top of the situation from the start and provided an update for members of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) meeting in Washington DC this week.

ace16dc-erbUSGC Director of Industry Relations Lyndsey Erb says the issue is important because China is such a huge market for the ethanol co-product used as animal feed. “China had been the largest importer of U.S. DDGS, taking 56% of exportable supplies last year,” said Erb. USGC has been coordinating the response from the U.S. ethanol industry to provide the information needed to help address the concerns and get China back in the market.

“We’re still very much in the beginning stages,” Erb says. “Ultimately the case has to wrap up between a year and a year and a half after the initiation so we still have a long road ahead of us in this case but such a large percentage of the U.S. industry is joining the Grains Council to fight that we are optimistic we can put together a good defense.”

Erb explains more in this interview: Interview with Lyndsey Erb, USGC

ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album

RFA, Growth Energy Join USGC

US Grains Council logoThe U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) membership is expanding. This month the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy became official members. Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE) and Al-Corn Clean Fuel also joined this month. USGC says their newest members, especially the ethanol trade organizations, will benefit them in multiple ways as they work together to increase global ethanol exports. Both groups will also have seats on USGC’s ethanol Advisory Team.

rfalogo1“We are proud to have RFA’s and Growth’s full support promoting ethanol overseas,” said USGC Chief Economist Mike Dwyer. “While they have sat on an advisory committee before, now they will really have the chance to engage as members. These organizations specialize in ethanol and offer input and context that will take our A-Team activities and programs to a new level.”

The 2014/2015 marketing year saw the second largest quantity of U.S ethanol shipped overseas. The organizations are using this as foundation for promoting U.S. ethanol as a clean-burning source of fuel to buyers and end-users around the globe. Lase year, this work was done through ongoing assessments of potential markets; bringing three buyers teams to visit the United States; bringing two groups of U.S. ethanol industry representatives overseas; and a series of workshops focusing on the environmental and economic benefits of ethanol use in China.

This year, this Council’s work will focus on the Asia-Pacific region, particularly Japan, Mexico, India and China as priority markets, with additional opportunities in Peru, the Philippines and other countries that are increasingly receptive to the benefits of blending ethanol into their fuel supplies.

growth-energy-logo1“With RFA’s and Growth’s growing engagement in these programs, the steering committee is showing their commitment to our work abroad,” Dwyer said. “Developing new markets for fuel ethanol exports offers new opportunity for U.S. corn and sorghum producers and offers us new ways to partner with customers looking to reduce their fuel costs and their environmental impacts.”

US Grains Releases New Portal, App

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) has released a grains conversion calculator app and a U.S. grains-in-all-forms exports portal to help members of the global grain trade access critical information more easily. The U.S. grains-in-all-forms exports portal is an online calculator that converts volumes of exported U.S. commodities including ethanol and dried distillers grains (DDGs) into corn equivalents. This offers a different and holistic view of the amount of feed grains produced by U.S. farmers that are consumed by overseas customers.

screen568x568“We are excited to expand our digital presence to include these products that will be helpful for both domestic and international stakeholders,” said USGC Chairman Alan Tiemann, who farms in Nebraska. “The grains conversion app and the grains-in-all-forms portal are cutting-edge resources that contain information, trends and statistics that will help the global grain trade work and grow.”

The Council’s grains conversion app converts English units to metric units and vice versa for grains and related measures. The app is available to download for free in the appropriate app stores for Apple, Android and Windows platforms. It also includes an option to switch between multiple languages including English, Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, French and Korean.

China Instigates Anti-Dumping Investigation

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has initiated anti-dumping countervailing duty investigations into U.S. produced distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) exported to the country. Both the ethanol industry and the grains industry expressed concern over the announcement.

Dried Distillers GrainsU.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight responded by saying, “We are disappointed to see today the initiation of anti-dumping and countervailing duties investigations of U.S. DDGS exports to China. We believe the allegations by the Chinese petitioners are unwarranted and unhelpful. They could have negative effects on U.S. ethanol and DDGS producers, as well as on Chinese consumers, potentially over a period of many years. We are also confident that our trading practices for DDGS, ethanol and all coarse grains and related products are fair throughout the world. We stand ready to cooperate fully with these investigations and will be working closely with our members to coordinate the U.S. industry response.

“The U.S. Grains Council has worked in China since 1981 to find solutions to the challenges of food security through development and trade. There have been measureable positive effects of this work for the Chinese feed and livestock industries and Chinese consumers. We and our members will work vigorously in the coming months to demonstrate that the allegations being investigated by MOFCOM are false, even while we continue to stand ready to expand our cooperation with China on agricultural issues of mutual benefit.”

This is not the first time that China has been down this road. Back in 2011 China began an investigation into DDGs but then in 2012, they dropped it. Now, in 2015, they have re-begun the process.

Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy, weighed in with a statement noting his dissatisfaction with the allegations. “We are disappointed to see the initiation of anti-dumping and countervailing duties cases against U.S. DDGS exports to China. The false allegations by the Chinese petitioners have the potential to seriously threaten our largest overseas market for DDGS and could have a significant impact on the supply, demand and price for DDGS in the U.S. and other foreign markets. We are working closely with our members and the U.S. Grains Council as it coordinates an industry response.”

Grain Growers, Biofuelers to Meet at Export Exchange

exportexchange1Two industries that go hand-in-glove will meet next fall in Detroit. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) says it is joining with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) for Export Exchange 2016, scheduled for Oct. 24–27, 2016.

“We are expecting more than 200 international buyers of coarse grains, co-products and ethanol to attend Export Exchange 2016 along with an estimated 300 producers and agribusiness representatives, making this the industry’s premiere opportunity to network with your key customers,” said USGC Chairman Alan Tiemann.

In addition to networking opportunities, Export Exchange 2016 general sessions will address critical issues facing U.S. agricultural exports, offering the customers and sellers in attendance an increased awareness of the benefits of U.S. corn, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), ethanol and other products.

“The global demand for DDGS has increased significantly over the last several years, and Export Exchange provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to bring buyers and sellers together with the goal of promoting continued growth in the international market,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.

More information is available at www.exportexchange.org or on social media using the hashtag #ExEx16. Those interested can sign up for a mailing list to automatically receive conference updates by emailing info@exportexchange.org.

Ethanol Industry Takes Clean Energy Mission to India

A team from the U.S. including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Growth Energy, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) recently returned from a clean energy mission to India. Led by USDA Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Micheal Scuse, the group met to discuss opportunities for developing clean energy solutions, technologies and policies. An additional goal of the mission was to strengthen the level of cooperation and coordination between the ethanol industries of the two countries.

logosDuring a series of meetings that involved ethanol producers, oil companies and government officials, the U.S. participant group of seven received an in-depth look at the local industry’s situation and outlook. There were extensive discussions on India’s economy, political environment, energy sector, and the role of government policy as a driver of the ethanol industry’s growth.

“Macroeconomic factors like population growth, continuing urbanization and increases in disposable income mean India is poised to use more gasoline and diesel fuels,” said USGC Past Chairman Ron Gray, who was part of the group representing the U.S. industry. “Given the negative effect that petroleum-based gasoline has on air quality, we feel that the expanded use of ethanol as an oxygenate can help India reduce smog and carbon emissions in this rapidly growing developing country, particularly in its cities.”

Ed Hubbard, general counsel for RFA said of the trip, “America’s commitment to using ethanol in our fuel has made it possible for our nation’s busiest cities to dramatically reduce levels of smog and other harmful tail-pipe emissions. By sharing our experiences with our friends here in India, we believe we can help them significantly improve the country’s air quality.”

In 2014, India imported $86 million of industrial ethanol mostly from the U.S. and Brazil and USGC expects imports to rise potentially researching $150-200 million in 2015. Even accounting for this level of growth, the U.S. ethanol industry believes there is still room for growth, especially in the transportation market. According to a press release sent out from the U.S. delegation, this view was echoed by India’s sugar and ethanol sector during last week’s meetings, with the country seeking ways to increase their blend rates from current low levels as a means to improving air quality while supporting India’s sugar producers.

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Grains Council Chairman at #ACE15

ace15-tiemannNebraska farmer Alan Tiemann was recently elected chairman of the U.S. Grains Council and he is excited about the work they are doing to expand exports of ethanol and the co-product Distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) used for livestock feed.

“For this coming year, my theme is ‘Excellence in Exports,'” said Tiemann during an interview after his address to the American Coalition for Ethanol conference this week in Omaha. “That’s what we’re going to focus on, excellence in exports – in ethanol, in distillers grains, in all the co-products, in sorghum and barley.”

During his address at ACE, Tiemann talked about the great success in exports of DDGS around the world and the potential for increasing ethanol exports to markets like Asia. “We look at Beijing and the smog issues they have there, the opportunities for a clean burning fuel like ethanol should be a no-brainer,” he said. Right now the largest export markets for U.S. ethanol are Canada and Brazil.

Listen to my interview with Tiemann here: Interview with Alan Tiemann, US Grains Council chairman

Listen to Tiemann’s full presentation at ACE here: USGC chair Alan Tiemann address to ACE

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

Grains Council Presents Ethanol Export Strategy

During this week’s 55th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting in Montreal, Canada, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) unveiled an ethanol export promotion strategy. The program was developed with input from the ethanol industry including U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

U.S. Grains Council Chairman Ron Gray.

U.S. Grains Council Chairman Ron Gray.

“In 2014, the Council and its partners completed in-depth market assessments in Southeast Asia, Peru, Panama, Japan and Korea that produced valuable information used develop this strategy,” said USGC Chairman Ron Gray. “Our plans in these markets continue to develop, and we are carrying on market assessment work in places like Canada and the European Union. However, we are also moving forward aggressively with market development and policy-focused work in countries like the Philippines that have the potential to increase demand for U.S. ethanol in the near term.”

Ethanol was the subject of a general session panel at the meeting, including input from Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen and Green Plains Renewable Energy Executive Vice President for Ethanol Marketing Steve Bleyl, moderated by USGC’s Chief Economist Mike Dwyer, a leading global biofuels analyst.

Ethanol export plans were explored in more depth during the Ethanol Advisory Team meeting, comprised of members from throughout the value chain, and a breakout session focused specifically on USGC’s ongoing ethanol-focused programs.

“U.S. ethanol exports are becoming increasingly vital to our stakeholders’ bottom line, which makes finding new markets for U.S. ethanol is a priority for the Council,” Gray added. “This plan shows our and our partners’ commitments to making that happen.”

Among other activities, two trade teams in the United States and three missions traveling overseas are scheduled to focus on ethanol in the remainder of 2015.

Ethanol Trade Missions to Expand Markets

Representatives of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), and Growth Energy were in Tokyo this week for an industry market assessment of the potential to export U.S. ethanol to Japan.

growth-exports“The United States exported 900 million gallons of ethanol in 2014, supporting both U.S. farmers and the ethanol industry. We know that, going forward, ethanol exports have the potential to grow and become equally beneficial for our customers overseas,” said USGC president and CEO Tom Sleight. “USGC, Growth and RFA are committed to launching initiatives in 2015 and 2016 to build demand for U.S. ethanol and address barriers to ongoing imports.”

Over the next two years, the government of Japan will be undertaking a full review of its national energy policies, including biofuels, potentially opening up opportunities for additional ethanol exports there.

“The team came away with a much greater understanding of the current Japanese requirements and market conditions pertaining to ethanol and began the implementation of a strategy to help ensure that U.S. ethanol receives fair market access under the future energy policy that will be adopted when the current policy expires in 2017,” said Jim Miller, chief economist and vice president of Growth Energy.

“The team will continue examining the requirements of the Japanese sustainability standards, looking for ways to overcome infrastructure concerns, and compiling data responding to some of the misinformation government officials still hold regarding renewable fuels,” added RFA’s director of regulatory affairs, Kelly Davis.

Last week, the organizations were part of a mission with USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service in Mexico to explore potential in that market. One mission member, Greg Krissek, CEO of Kansas Corn, reflected on the trip in this video from the USGC.