The third installment of Corn Conversations was held on Friday, August 28, offering attendees the opportunity to gain a better understanding of U.S. Grain Council (USGC) and its global efforts. Three representatives from the council dove deeper into the value of expanding markets, growth within emerging markets, and where U.S. ag exports stand today. Wesley Spurlock, a farmer from Stratford, Texas, and president of Texas Corn Producers Association, introduced the three presenters and provided insight to how Texas Corn Producers collaborates with the USGC for existing and emerging markets in our industry.

Melissa George Kessler, USGC’s director of strategic relations, started the webinar by explaining the role trade has on the agricultural industry as a whole, and what efforts need to take place to expand markets to new places.

During her presentation, she provided light to the ideas and values of market development. Kessler explained USGC presence as a whole, while then also speaking to the importance of trade on farm economies.

“Growth in Ag Exports is where we will see growth in our industry,” Kessler said.

The USGC focuses on a holistic picture of exporting grains, but also keeps in mind where the exports are going. While the world is ever-changing, Kessler focused on bringing knowledge to the fact of trading in the midst of a global pandemic. Sharing information is a vital key to success within the markets.

Ryan Legrand, the president and CEO of USGC, joined the Corn Conversation to provide insight to the factors of current trade and markets. Legrand provided updates on what is currently happening and where the industry stands today.

Legrand explained the purpose of the USGC in undeveloped nations is to feed their population, expand offices to India, and market share as a whole. Legrand highlighted where Mexico is dominating the imports of corn and distillers’ grains, and their importance of keeping good relations with those export markets. Recognizing the importance of the USGC working together with TCP and its other partners to promote corn and corn products ultimately help establish and build relationships with markets worldwide.

Kurt Schultz, USGC’s senior director of global strategies, who works in development and long-term planning in support of the Council’s domestic and international operations wrapped up the webinar by sharing the ideas of growth within market development, as well as future demand building.

Schultz raised the question of, “How do we set the stage for future growth?”

Expanding markets is very important for the future of our industry. Schultz highlighted the factors that Africa might have for building the industry. The market and populations are fast-changing and give a lot of potential to looking further into markets that other countries might provide. Current engagement is looking at expanding the Council’s footprint to countries such as these to provide new and exclusive opportunities!

“The council goes where the market doesn’t,” which just in turn provides more opportunities to our future,” Schultz said.

USGC works to provide sustainable growth to evolving markets. The Council stays connected domestically and internationally to strengthen and grow market development as a whole, while working with its association partners such as TCP. Find out more about USGC efforts on its website at

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