Members of the U.S. Grains Council’s Advisory Teams met this week at the organization’s 14th International Marketing Conference and 57th Annual Membership Meeting in Panama City, Panama, to set direction and priorities for the Council’s global activities.
“As market opportunities constantly ebb and flow, so must USGC continuously adjust our activities to maintain our long-term global trading partners and meet increasing demand in developing markets,” said Chip Councell, USGC chairman and a grain farmer in Maryland. “The input of our Advisory Teams is essential to both developing the Council’s overarching strategy and planning the Council’s annual activities.”
The committees, often referred to as A-Teams, met to discuss issues of importance in each region and on major topics including ethanol, innovation and sustainability, trade policy and value-added products. The Council delegates also met Tuesday in sector-specific groups, for corn, barley and sorghum producers as well as agribusinesses and general farm organizations.
The input from the A-Teams and Council’s international staff will form the backbone of the Council’s Unified Export Strategy (UES), the operational blueprint and long-term planning document used to apply for USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) market development and export promotion programs, including the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program.
On Monday, board directors, delegates, members and spouses toured the Panama Canal expansion in Colon, Panama, and representatives of the Council and the Panama Canal Authority signed a memorandum of understanding pledging mutual cooperation.
“Roughly one third of U.S. grain exports travel through the Panama Canal,” said Tom Sleight, USGC president and CEO. “We appreciate the working relationship between the Panama Canal Authority and U.S. grain exporters that make it possible for our producers to reliably meet the world’s increasing demand for food, feed and fuel.”
The sessions in Panama concluded Wednesday with business meetings of the full USGC Board of Delegates and the Board of Directors.