The U.S. Grains Council reports the European Union is currently experiencing a substantial grain deficit and will be forced to import 10 million metric tons (394 million bushels) of corn and 3 to 4 million tons (118 to 157 million bushels) of sorghum this year. The USGC President’s Mission, which included the National Sorghum Producers (NSP), traveled to Europe and northern Africa to assess the status of European and Moroccan feed grain markets and the impact of Council programming in the region. The delegation visited France, Germany, Morocco and Spain, where they met with producers, feed millers and processors.

Weather issues across the region have depleted traditional sources of grains for the European Union and Africa, stated Kurt Shultz, USGC director in the Mediterranean and Africa. “In addition, the price difference between U.S. sorghum and EU wheat and corn is what is driving this demand,” he said. “The European Union’s stance on biotechnology is also affecting imports.”

The delegation recommends the European Union as a good short term market for U.S. sorghum, and advises the Council to proceed in planning a sorghum marketing and educational seminar in the region to promote long-term use. “Because the pressure is mounting on the European feed milling industry, the timing is right to try and educate the European Union grain industry about biotechnology and elicit their support in addressing policy,” said Dale Artho, U.S. Grains Council chairman.

“Producers are the same all over the world, but with biotechnology and genetically modified organisms, scientists abroad are more wary of long-term effects,” said Dale Murden, NSP president. USGC and NSP representatives on the mission included: Dale Artho, USGC chairman; Jim Broten, USGC vice chairman; Kurt Shultz, USGC director in the Mediterranean and Africa; Ken Hobbie, USGC president and CEO; Dale Murden, NSP president; Toby Bostwick, NSP president elect; and Tim Lust, NSP CEO. The Council’s President’s Mission concluded Dec. 4.