SAINT LOUIS - The U.S. Grains Council Corn Mission is under way this week and next, exploring successes in developing diverse corn markets, from established achievements in Japan and Taiwan to China's emergence as a leading market for distillers grains and as a new buyer of U.S. corn.

"Ideally, the mission's outcome is to increase our exports," says Larry Klever, an Iowa corn farmer and director serving on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, who is participating in the mission. "With the people we're seeing, we'll be addressing their concerns. We have an excellent corn crop that will store well, and that's the message I look forward to delivering."

The mission schedule is a "who's who" of important Asian corn customers. In Japan, the largest importer of U.S. corn, the delegation is meeting with feed manufacturers and feed trade groups, with key individual customers like Zen-Noh, and with three major corn processing associations.

The Taiwan agenda includes discussions with corn users, visits to Taiwanese manufacturers of corn-based plastic products, and a tour of a major swine operation.

In China, the group will delve into the outlook for distillers grains through meetings with traders and users, plus visits to a feed mill and a container port.

"The visit to China is especially timely," says Klever. "They have a renewed interest in our corn and they are an expanding market for our distillers grains."

The mission runs to Dec. 10, and includes Klever, Kent Kleinschmidt from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Kenny McNamar and Becky Frankenbach from the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, John Whaley from the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, and Kelsey Pope representing the Nebraska Corn Board.

Pope is blogging on this trip and posting photos at the Nebraska Corn Kernels website.

SOURCE: National Corn Growers Association