Nebraska farmers return from trade missions in Asia

Hunnicutt 2LINCOLN, NEB. – Two members of the Nebraska Corn Board recently returned from trade missions in Asia promoting U.S. corn and red meat. Brandon Hunnicutt, farmer from Giltner, Neb. and district 3 director on the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) participated in the U.S. producer’s mission to Japan and Korea with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). David Bruntz, farmer from Friend, Neb. and district 1 director on NCB participated in a trade mission with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) in Japan and China.

While in Japan and Korea, Hunnicutt traveled with farmers and USGC staff to engage key buyers and end-users, providing insights on the current U.S. corn crop condition as well as the global supply and demand outlook. Japan and Korea are two key markets for U.S. corn, yet, a high level of engagement with the industry, trade and government is still needed to defend U.S. market share.

Hunnicutt observed that the Japanese and Korean buyers and end-users were very pleased to hear about this year’s abundant, high-quality U.S. corn crop that will be available for export in the coming year.

“One of the most important things we, as the American farmer, need to remember is how important it is to raise a high quality crop that the world wants,” said Hunnicutt. “Many times we tend to worry about yield. After spending some time with our ag friends in Japan, I have come to appreciate the need to make sure that the quality of crop I am producing is the highest quality corn crop I can produce.”

Hunnicutt was one of the farmer-spokesmen on the mission who presented on technology in farming to a seminar in Japan that was attended by more than 160 end-users and importers. This delegation helped build on the established relationships between the United States and two of its key international markets, stressing the importance of trade and promoting the United States as the preferred, reliable, long-term supplier of quality corn and related products.

Dave Bruntz returned from Japan and China with a similar message on the importance of establishing relationships with key end-users of U.S. agricultural products. The trade mission objectives with USMEF were to allow U.S. producers to personally communicate their farming practices and commitment to production of safe, high-quality food to international buyers, interacting with livestock producers in Asia, and observing the manner in which U.S. pork and beef are merchandised overseas.

While in Japan, Bruntz’s team gave presentations on U.S. farming practices at a USMEF seminar in Tokyo, which was attended by more than 600 meat buyers from across all sectors of the Japanese food industry. The seminar focused on soil sustainability, the seed used to produce feedgrains, and the specific feeding formulations and processes that allow the U.S. industry to produce such high-quality meat.

“Our Japanese customers and across the world want to know the details of how U.S. meat is produced,” said Bruntz. “They were glad to have U.S. farmers there to ask us questions, but they also wanted us to know to ‘keep the meat coming’!”

The reliable, high-quality supply of U.S. meat was prevalent at a blogging event held with young, Japanese food bloggers, predominantly women.

“They were interested in our production systems of both beef and pork, but love the U.S. products,” said Bruntz.

In China, the delegation gathered in Beijing for the 2014 U.S.-China Swine Industry Symposium. This was the third year for the symposium, with this edition focusing on livestock nutrient management with more than 200 attendees, including industry representatives, agricultural policy makers, animal health experts and university researchers.

They also met with government and industry officials in China and continued on-going discussions about corn, distillers grains and biotechnology. Bruntz reported that there was plenty of dialogue on resolving trade barriers to export beef into the country.

“The U.S. has been free of any BSE cases for 10 years,” said Bruntz. “As producers of crops and livestock, we want to gain relationships with end users in China to build trust and gain respect to open up markets for U.S. ag products.”

The Nebraska Corn Board is a self-help program, funded and managed by Nebraska corn farmers. Producers invest in the program at a rate of 1/2 of a cent per bushel of corn sold. Nebraska corn checkoff funds are invested in programs of market development, research and education.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Pictures available.

Tagline: (Click Here) Hunnicutt 1: Brandon Hunnicutt, farmer-director on the Nebraska Corn Board, presented on technology in farming to a seminar in Japan.

(Click Here) Hunnicutt 2: Brandon Hunnicutt, farmer-director on the Nebraska Corn Board, answers questions during a seminar in Japan.

(Click Here) Dave Bruntz group photo: Dave Bruntz, (third from the left) with members of the USMEF trade mission to Japan and China. Also pictured (l to r) Scott McGregor of the Iowa Soybean Association, Russ Vering of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Steve Hanson of the Nebraska Beef Council, Ambassador Darci Vetter, chief agricultural negotiator with the Office of U.S. Trade Representative and Dean Black of the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

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