Foreign Officials Visit Illinois Farms in Conjunction with US Grains Council Export Exchange

Lindsay Mitchell

Oct 13, 2022  |  Today's News |  ICMB |  Exports

More than 50 countries are being represented in the United States this week during the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) marquee event, Export Exchange, held October 12-14. Before and after the event, several delegations of foreign officials from Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, the Middle East, and Africa, visited Illinois farms and export facilities to learn more about corn and corn co-products grown and produced within our state.


picture of different international grain importers on an Illinois farmIllinois farmer leaders Mark and Cristin Wilson of Toulon, Paul and Donna Jeschke of Mazon, and Art and Jason Bunting of Dwight hosted groups of the dignitaries, explaining Illinois corn farming, transportation systems, and co-product creation.


“You can’t beat a face-to-face opportunity when it comes to building relationships,” said Wilson, immediate past chairman of the IL Corn Marketing Board and current USGC Director. “I welcome these visits from foreign officials, because even though it is a sacrifice and takes time from harvest, I know there is no greater opportunity to make a sale of U.S. corn, DDGS, or ethanol than through a connection with the folks that will make the purchasing decisions. We are building trust of Illinois farmers and Illinois products.”


The participants are predominantly purchasing officers and supply chain managers at various feed grain companies. The knowledge, experience and trust built from this program will have a direct and meaningful influence on the region’s agricultural industry, and result in higher sales for U.S. producers.


international corn importers look at corn quality at a grain elevator in Illinois“When it comes to building relationships between U.S. producers and overseas importers, Export Exchange is invaluable,” said Caleb Wurth, USGC Director in Southeast Asia. “You can’t put a price on how important it is for international stakeholders to have the chance to see the fields and facilities their commodities originate from.”


Although each team participated in different Illinois experiences, all left with a better understanding of export logistics, including river transport terminals, grain inspection labs, and train and barge companies, in addition to a connection with an Illinois farmer.


“Aside from the benefits for our international visitors, these trade teams are also extremely impactful for domestic farmers and agribusiness owners,” Wurth said. “It’s empowering for U.S. producers to meet their foreign counterparts and understand the global significance of their work via the export chain.”


More information about future Export Exchange programs will be made available online at and content from the event and its accompanying trade teams can be found on social media using the hashtag #ExEx22. Those interested can sign up for a mailing list to automatically receive conference updates by emailing