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USGC: Four railcars of U.S. sorghum destined for Canada

The U.S. Grains Council, a non-profit organization working together with producer organizations and agribusinesses to generate $659 million in 2008 through U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and value-added exports, organized the sale of four railcars of South Dakota sorghum to Canada. The sale, approximately 360 metric tons or roughly 14,172 bushels of U.S. sorghum, was finalized in late February. Dan Keefe, USGC manager of international operations for DDGS, said this sale was not about quantity but more so about opportunity.

"Realistically, this is a small amount of U.S. sorghum but it is a great beginning," said Keefe who provided assistance in making the connections necessary for the sale to occur. "This is the initial step in getting greater quantities of U.S. grain sorghum to our northern neighbors. This is very similar to the story behind U.S. DDGS (distillers dried grains with solubles) making headway in the Canadian marketplace. In 2003, 30,898 tons of U.S. DDGS were exported to Canada and now they are the second-largest buyer of the co-product, importing 771,797 tons in 2008."

Keefe said U.S. sorghum has strong potential for growth in Canada's marketplace due to its competitive price to local wheat and barley. Exporting sorghum, according to Keefe, is profitable for U.S. farmers; in the case of this transaction, the sorghum was priced higher than it was in South Dakota.

Council member Furst-McNess Company, based in Freeport, Ill., handled the logistics of the transaction.

"The deal is finalized and the sorghum is set for a March delivery," said Jamie Williams, merchandiser for the Furst-McNess Company. "This sorghum will be used primarily as bird feed but will also be used for livestock. I'm hoping this is a sign of good things to come for U.S. sorghum growers."



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