The Sorghum Checkoff along with the U.S. Grains Council hosted a group of six Mexican grain buyers recently to show them the value of importing U.S. sorghum. The buyers represented the Mexican pork and poultry industries and visited seven different elevators throughout the Sorghum Belt.

The group started in Texas, touring the Planter’s Grain Co-op in Odem and Attebury Grain in Saginaw. They made stops at three Kansas elevators and finished with two more elevator tours in Oklahoma.

“This is the first time for many of the country elevators to know directly who their end users are in Mexico,” said Troy Skarke, a sorghum producer from Claude, Texas, and chair of the Sorghum Checkoff Market Development committee. “Elevator operators had the opportunity to discuss potential issues and learn how to better serve their end users. By strengthening these relationships, we hope to see continued business with Mexico.”

The participants on this mission took a closer look into the journey of the sorghum they purchase as it travels from the field to the elevators and from the U.S. shipping ports to Mexico.

“This mission was important because Mexico is the No. 1 importer of U.S. sorghum,” said Brian McCuistion, general manager of the Planter’s Grain Co-op. “We have been eager for them to see this year’s sorghum crop.”

Texas has tremendous production potential this year, and Mexico will likely be one of its strongest importers. The U.S. has maintained a great relationship with Mexican grain buyers. Providing quality sorghum has been the key in keeping that business strong.

In 2009, Mexico accounted for 82 percent of U.S. sorghum exports. The Sorghum Checkoff hopes to continue the relationship with Mexico in 2010 through efforts like buyer tours.

The United Sorghum Checkoff Program is a producer funded organization dedicated to improving the sorghum industry through research, promotion and education. For more information about the USCP and other projects please visit www.sorghumcheckoff.com.