Iowa program connects leaders to agriculture in Southeast Asia

Program participants were able to learn about agriculture in Southeast Asia.
Program participants were able to learn about agriculture in Southeast Asia. | File photo

Members of the Iowa Corn Leadership Enhancement and Development program (I-LEAD) learned about the agricultural markets in Malaysia and the Philippines during a showcase led by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. 

The I-LEAD program develops future agricultural leaders in Iowa, while the Philippines and Malaysia program helps the Iowans learn about agriculture in the developing world through countries with very different trade situations. Malaysia is part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), while the Philippines has high tariffs and tariff rate quotas.

“As a region, Southeast Asia is one of the largest corn importers in the world,” USGC Regional Director for South and Southeast Asia Kevin Roepke said. “If you include its huge soybean meal, DDGS (distiller’s dried grains with solubles), ethanol and meat/milk imports, the region’s importance to the state of Iowa is second to none."

In addition to exposure to the region, this trip provided a firsthand look for the participants at the process behind agricultural trade. Participants of the I-LEAD program were able to learn about the challenges, opportunities and successes of the agricultural industry in Southeast Asia.

“Members were surprised to hear that Malaysia’s main port, Kelang, is roughly as big as the United States’ two largest ports combined,” Roepke said. “They also learned about the juxtaposition of technologies that many corn farmers in the region use. These include planting by hand corn that contains biotech traits while documenting their records of planting on iPads.”

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U.S. Grains Council 20 F Street NW, Suite 600 Washington, DC - 20001

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