(NAFB)--Korea was the third largest corn importer in the world in 2012. The country was the fourth largest market for U.S. corn. But due to the drought - the U.S. Grains Council says Korean import statistics show U.S. imports have dropped to less than one-percent so far this calendar year. As a result - the Council is engaged in aggressive programming to reinvigorate Korean buyers for U.S. corn. The Council escorted a delegation of U.S. corn producers in Korea early this week to reassure long-time customers of the ability of U.S. producers to satisfy their needs. Farmers and representatives from Iowa, Illinois, Ohio and Missouri met with Korean feed grain buyers who represent 83-percent of the market. They continued on to Japan.
According to the Grains Council - the Korean market is unique in its ability to adapt rations quickly in response to changing market prices - which has caused U.S. market share to drop. The delegation is actively fostering relationships between the U.S. and its largest international customers - stressing the importance of the export markets and reestablishing the U.S. as the preferred, reliable, long-term supplier of quality feed grains. Byong Min - the Council’s Director in Korea says Korean buyers were impressed with the U.S. effort to increase corn production through new technology. When the price becomes competitive - he says Korean import buyers will likely return to purchasing U.S. corn because Korean feed millers and corn processors prefer to use U.S. corn that produces higher quality end-products.