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Ohioan travels to Malta as part of US Grains Council trade mission
 
By Celeste Baumgartner
Ohio Correspondent

DELAWARE, Ohio – Patty Mann, an Ohio corn grower, recently traveled to Malta to show off American corn to buyers from Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Every year, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) hosts the Corn Quality Rollout, a series of presentations in countries that buy significant amounts of American corn.
Mann had to do a quick geography lesson when she learned she was going to Malta. “It was a central point between Europe and Africa and the Middle East,” she said. “So, it was a short flight for most of the flyers in those countries but not such a short flight for me. But it was centrally located and it’s a big tourist destination.”
She is a board member of the Ohio Corn Marketing Checkoff and went on their behalf to represent Ohio and U.S. corn. They are the exporting arm of the National Corn Growers. About a third of Ohio’s corn is exported so the Rollout is a partnership between the state and the national corn organizations.
“I was on a panel of a couple of farmers and a couple of grain merchandisers,” Mann said. “We talked about our 2023 crop. There were two other farmers from the states, one from Iowa and one from Missouri. They had a specific presentation; one talked about sustainability, and another talked about his farm, their equipment, and their practices.
“The highlight of meeting with these buyers was, they wanted to see the face of a U.S. farmer,” she explained. “They love to hear what farmers have to say and they love having those one-on-one conversations. That was pretty much the highlight of the trip, to see their excitement and seeing the relationships that are built or strengthened from meeting these foreign buyers face to face.”
They asked Mann about her family’s farming practices, how and what did they farm, what kind of tillage practices they used, and about the yield and quality of their 2023 harvest.
She told them she lives on a family farm in Northwest Central Ohio. They operate on a commercial scale but are definitely a family farm. They are former dairy farmers but now raise corn, soybeans, and a little bit of wheat. They use minimum or no till whenever they can, and they rotate their crops. Most of their corn goes to ethanol plants.
At the Rollout the presenters talked about the appearance of corn from other countries, especially our biggest competitors, Argentina, and Brazil, Mann said. They had photographs of U.S. corn, Brazilian, Argentinian, and corn from India.
“The U.S. corn is the least pretty in color and it has more broken kernels and more foreign matter,” Mann said. “But when it comes to starch extractability – especially in ethanol production – the extractability of the U.S. corn is so superior to the Brazilian and the Argentinian corn.”
Corn from those two countries has a very hard endosperm so it’s hard to grind and extract the starch out of that for ethanol, Mann said. So, it is not pretty to look at, but the U.S. corn is superior because it naturally has a softer endosperm and is broken down more easily for ethanol and that is important.
Finally, Mann said, the USGC is important to farmers. Ohio farmers pay three-quarters of a cent of all the corn they sell into the Ohio corn checkoff. In turn the checkoff supports the grains council which in turn supports the demand for exports around the world.
“Every time I have gone to a meeting I am blown away by the staff and what a difference they make creating demand for U.S. farmers corn and corn products around the world,” she said. “It is an amazing organization. The council has a full-time presence in 28 fully staffed locations around the world and programs that reach 50 countries. They are definitely global.”

3/5/2024