Tom Sleight President US Grains Council

(Jamie) Thanks for staying with us. Next Tom discusses the work the US Grains Council does for producers.
(Duane) Duane Toews joining you once again with AGam in Kansas and a chance to catch up with US Grains Council president Tom Sleight and Tom, we get the opportunity to discuss what the US Grains Council does and certainly a lot of good work that they’re doing as far as providing an opportunity to get some value out of those crops that we produce here in the US. (Tom) Yes, absolutely Duane. We, the US Grains Council operates all around the world magnifying the investment farmers make on their own checkoff investments to representation around the world; 10 offices, another 10 to 20 consultants around the world. What we do is we represent farmer’s interests in terms of corn, sorghum, barley and co-products, DDGs, ethanol and starch and everything else. (Duane) It’s an interesting scenario where we’re blessed that the producer in the US has the ability to produce out far and above from what we use domestically but that being the case, those international markets are extremely important. (Tom) Yes Duane, here at the Commodity Classic everybody reminds me of that all the time. They’ve got three great crops in a row and people look for another this year, they want to have new homes for those markets and that needs new markets that can maintain the old ones, build new ones, a value added market, that’s the assignment for the US Grains Council and were going after it hard. (Duane) We think about those relationships that it takes. It’s interesting in the world market, it’s not all about price, price is important but having relationships with those buyers is awfully important. (Tom) I know a lot of parents out there tell their kids this all the time, The world belongs to those who show up. Well, the Grains Council shows up for American farmers 24/7, 365, in terms of talking to customers, having a year-round dialogue with customers on planting season, growing season, harvest season, what’s going on with US agricultural commodity movements, freight movements; all those things happen all year-round. Trade doesn’t just happen. It happens to those who are there talking to customers, answering their questions, meeting their needs. (Duane) Obviously I’m assuming that US Grains Council would be looking favorably on Trans-Pacific Partnership to get to some additional footage into those Asian nations. (Tom) It’s all, TPP is only important to those who produce food and people who eat three meals a day. It is incredibly important for US agriculture. TPP gives us that access to those overseas markets that helps us maintain current trade and build future trade. We have gains already that we see for bulk commodity grains in terms of Vietnam; next we see pickup in the various countries like Japan and other places. But even more so it allows us to differentiate ourselves from the competition, in many cases that’s Brazil who’s not part of the TPP. So having these trade agreements allows us to have a firm understanding, foundation for trade. Particularly we have battles over sanitary, vital sanitary issues like biotechnology. (Duane) We often talk about those trade agreements and the opportunities. They only work if they’re enforced in terms of some of those mechanisms. (Tom) You’re absolutely right. So what we always looked for is that the folks that lobby take care of getting these agreements passed. It’s the Grains Council’s responsibility to make sure these agreements are implemented fairly and implemented thoroughly. That’s the hardest part about these trade agreements is that the implementation phase, we got the negotiations phase done, now we’ve got the passes phase next, implementation phase awaits us, and the folks for US Grains Council all around the world are ready to pounce on that stage. (Duane) Talking a little bit about where your funding comes from, I know that Kansas Corn has been a good supporter of US Grains Council for a long time. (Tom) Kansas Corn has been a great support to the US Grains Council and what we like to do is take that investment the Kansas farmer makes in their checkoff, leverage it through a great public partnership program through the US Department of Agriculture’s one agricultural service through two programs the MAP, Market Access Program, foreign market development program to magnify their investments to allow us to have that type of global presence Kansas farmers need. (Duane) Our thanks to Tom Slate, US Grain Council, joining us here at Commodity Classic. Jamie, we’ll send it back to you.
(Jamie) Thanks, Duane! Stay with us after the break for a look at how cattle premiums filter back from beef consumers to beef producers.

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