Randy Gordon with the National Grain and Feed Association

(Jamie) Thanks for staying with us – now Kyle and Randy discuss issues surrounding the international marketability of US commodities.
(Kyle ) Hi. This is Kyle Bauer from Kansas City. Have the opportunity to visit with Randy Gordon. He’s with the National Feed and Grain Association. Let’s start, Randy, with what does the National Feed and Grain Association do? (Randy) Okay. Well Kyle, our members are grain elevators and feed mills and grain processors and exporters, so we try to represent their interests on trade and ag policy, and futures markets related issues, food safety, biotech, and a number of other areas. But our members are those who are taking the product from farmers and trying to merchandise those into products that are used around the world. (Kyle) You bring up a good verbiage there, is we haul our grain to the elevators and we expect them to sell it. But we have some responsibility as producers when we deliver that to that elevator. (Randy) Well, and that’s a big issue for us right now, is in terms of the marketability of those products. Obviously, the American farmer is tremendously productive and bountiful and efficient and cost-effective in what they do. But in the area of biotechnology in particular, one of the concerns we have is that some new traits are being introduced into the marketplace and commercialized by technology owners that may or may not be approved in some foreign market, so that’s a big consideration for us in terms of whether those commodities can have a market going forward. So we think it is really important as we get through these kinds of situations where there may be a trait that needs to be channeled or stored in a particular way that the technology owner step up and bear a responsibility there, but also that farmers are aware from conversations with their local elevators as to whether there is a good market for those kind of commodities. (Kyle) You used the word channel and it’s probably a great visual because of the fact that the elevator can do just fine without finding a home for those things, they just need to know ahead of time what they’re dealing with, so they put them on the right channel. (Randy) That’s right. And a lot of our members have a very strong feed market, or other kinds of outlets where they can, if they know what the trait is, get it to the right buyer. But the worst case scenario for us is obviously, if there is an unapproved trait in that companies involved heavily in an export market where that trait may not be approved of having that contaminate, if I can put quotes around that word, an entire bin and having that bin, then basically be devalued and used only—be available only for instance a feed market going forward. So it is a big issue that there needs to be that kind of two-way communication with growers throughout the marketing season. (Kyle) Well, and we need everyone to understand. There’s nothing wrong with the product. It’s just that if it isn’t approved in an export market, then it can’t be sold there. And so as long as it’s sold domestically, consumed domestically, we’re fine. But one thing we don’t think about is when it goes to an ethanol plant; those DDGs have to be consumed in this country as well. (Randy) That’s right. There had been some rejected shipments of DDGs because they contained a trait that wasn’t approved yet in a foreign government or by a foreign government. So yes, if it’s important from that sector as well, every one of these products needs to find an approved buyer that can utilize those products without trade disruptions. And frankly, our situation involving a couple of traits a couple of years ago, where trying to stop shipments of US corn, cost the industry and farmers, upwards of 4 billion dollars over the course of a couple of years. So it’s very meaningful in terms of what that economic impact is. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Randy Gordon. Randy is with the US Grain and Feed Dealers Association. This is Kyle Bauer reporting.
(Jamie) After this word from our sponsors we’ll learn what happens when real life parameters are added to beef research.

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