Corn Leaders Reflect on Recent Soybean/Corn Trade Mission to Morocco

In a recent trade mission hosted by the Kansas Soybean Commission, Kansas Corn leaders Terry Vinduska of Marion and Tanner McNinch of Ness City learned about efforts to build trade with Morocco. They met with the Moroccan Milling Training Institute, saw corn and DDGS imported from the U.S., visited a modern feedlot and an integrated feed mill, which also feeds and processes poultry.

Vinduska is a past-chairman of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and had visited Morocco twice before to evaluate USGC projects there. Tanner McNinch is in his first year of leadership with Kansas Corn. Both saw positive results of market development efforts funded by corn and soybean farmers.

“Having corn and soybean farmers together on the trade mission gave us a broader perspective when looking what our organizations can do to build trade in Africa,” McNinch said.

Vinduska said it was exciting to see results from the U.S. Grains Council’s work to build relationships with potential buyers, help establish modern feeding facilities and increase imports of U.S. corn and DDGS.

“For years, the U.S. Grains Council has said ‘When trade works, the world wins’, and we really saw that.” Vinduska said. “We heard from them how they benefit from working with the U.S. Grains Council and on this trade mission, we were able to see firsthand the impact we are having in Morocco.”

Dr. Mustapha El Youssoufi has been the Morocco representative for the U.S. Grains Council for over 25 years and has focused on improving ruminant nutrition and expanding the dairy and beef industries in Morocco.

“We were so impressed with his contacts and his knowledge,” Vinduska said. “The trust our end users have with Mustapha is phenomenal, and that builds trust with the U.S. Grains Council and U.S. farmers.”

McNinch said he came away with a better understanding of how efforts in one country help develop trade to an entire region.

“We saw that Morocco is a springboard for us for potentially for building trade with the rest of Africa,” McNinch said. “They’re aggressively investing in growing their economy and infrastructure, and the country is definitely a good role model for other countries in the area on how to be successful going forward.”

Grain Infrastructure & Milling
The trade team learned ongoing efforts supporting development and improvement of grain infrastructure like feed mills, grain storage and feedlots are paying off.

“When we visited the milling and baking institute, it was exciting to see how that has grown. They teach milling and baking to people all over the continent,” Vinduska said. “That idea came about years ago to help educate the feed millers, because they really didn’t know how to process grain, make feed, or use DDGS on a small scale. They teach them how, and whether they’re feeding 20 head or thousands they learn benefits of adequate feed. They are also teaching on the baking side how to mill and bake using different types of flours for different types of breads. The institute is truly influencing the entire continent of Africa.”

McNinch said he this trip helped him gain a better understanding of how corn and DDGS is imported, processed and used in Morocco.

“I was interested in their feed mills, how they contrast to what they are like in America,” he said. “Here, we deliver corn to feedlots that have their own mills, but in Morocco, they have centralized feed mills that process corn and then ship it to the feeders. The mills have a large storage capacity and move feed hundreds of miles to feedlots small operators and larger feed lots.”

Livestock Feeding
The group visited a family-owned feedlot that has worked with USGC for several years.

“It’s amazing to see how much the feedlot has grown and how much they appreciate and have benefited from the input and guidance they’ve received from Grains Council staff, and from K-State and they utilized that information to become successful,” Vinduska said. “We invest a lot of money in overseas market development, but it’s unique to see the benefits so clearly.”

Vinduska said the work done to improve feeding in Morocco has broader implications.

“When we started with this effort, farmers in the area didn’t have a way to feed culled cows,” he said. “Here they can feed them and put some weight on them. The feedlot benefits, and the small farmers who put the cows in the feedlot benefit by making more when they sell their cows. This type of feeding was a foreign concept to them until it was implemented, and they realize it really works. Plus, it increases demand for corn, so U.S. farmers benefit as well.”