This week, the U.S. Grains Council, a sister organization to NCGA that develops export markets for U.S. corn, barley, grain sorghum and related products, meets in Panama for its annual membership meeting, and a new chart provided by USGC shows how much the global corn supply has grown in previous years to meet all needs worldwide.
"Total corn use outside the United States has not slacked off, but has continued to grow in spite of the high prices of recent years, said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, who was attending the meeting with other NCGA officers. "It's interesting to note that the price increase we've seen for corn around the world has not dampened foreign corn demand, but have actually stimulated corn production outside the United States."
Because foreign corn production has risen faster than foreign corn use, Niemeyer noted, there has been a drop in corn imports from countries such as the United States.
A second chart shows the percentage of non-U.S. corn total use that is satisfied by non-U.S. corn production. Between 1990 and 2005, the figure fluctuated generally between 85 and 90 percent; but beginning in 2006 , non-U.S. corn production has accounted for more than 90 percent of total non-U.S. corn use every year, and has climbed steadily to more than 92 percent in the current year.
Increased corn production worldwide is important for dispelling accusations of a so-called "food-versus fuel dilemma," Niemeyer noted, because the amount of corn going into ethanol is such a small percentage of the overall corn supply. On the first chart, the orange line showing FSI Consumption, which includes ethanol production, is increasing at a lower rate than overall global corn production, and this is also borne out in information provided by the ethanol industry, that the U.S. ethanol industry only consumes about 3 percent of the world grain supply.
"It's impossible to take an honest look at what is happening and blame ethanol for commodity price spikes and world hunger," Niemeyer said. "Day in and day out, season after season, we and our farmer colleagues around the world are growing and harvesting corn to meet all needs and are actively seeking new markets to capitalize on a product that is sustainable and renewable."