Excuse me the Phone is Ringing

Buckeye Farm Beat

You would be surprised at the variety of phone calls that come to the Ohio Farmer office.

Published on: February 22, 2011

I get all kinds of phone calls during the course of a day. Sometimes it’s the granddaughter of a reader who recalls seeing her grandpa on the cover of the Ohio Farmer in 1957, might have been March or April, but it could have been '58 or '59, and it might have been Farm Journal, but do I happen to have an extra copy of the 1957 March issue and April too?

Sometimes it’s a P.R. person pushing a story idea. “Would you like to talk with Ron Weedster in person? I think you will find what he has to say about the Weedster very interesting. We have had a lot of folks turning to the Weedste in Indiana. Oh and Ohio too. Tell you what give me your email and I will send you a video link so you can see the Weedster in action. You are gonna be amazed.”

Sometimes it’s an irate reader. “Why should the government be involved in… preserving farmland, producing ethanol, giving aid to Africa, allowing free trade, blocking free trade, free lunches, wind farming, fence building, vulture control…” You name it; readers can get irate about it. So why don’t I do something?

Yesterday it was a call from Ricardo Castañeda. He represents the northern sector of the National Association of Tortilla Makers in Mexico. His brother-in-law is the association’s president. “Do you know of anyone who has some white corn they are looking to sell?” he asked.

It did not take a lot of thought to reply, “No.”

Undeterred Ricardo pressed forward, “We are having a terrible shortage of white corn for tortillas in Mexico and I am in Canada now trying to contact someone who might have white corn to sell.”

All I could do was offer my opinion that most folks who grew white corn probably did so under contract to sell it to a manufacturer of corn chip products like Frito Lay. I said, I really doubted there was much white corn sitting around Ohio in a bin waiting for a buyer at this point in the season.

Ricardo responded that the cold weather that hit the growing region of Mexico this year has ruined plantings of white corn and there is expected to be an even greater shortage of the crop as the year progresses. He steered me to the tortilla makers’ website http://www.expotortilla.com.mx/ and noted it was in Spanish, “unfortunately.”

“As a president of this association my brother-in-law has access to a lot of the big producers in Mexico not just in the northern part of Mexico. What we are trying to do is to find a good partner that can give us the quality, price and competitive advantage that we require to grow more in this competitive market.”

He noted that he hails from an area with the largest dairy in Latin America http://lala.com.mx/en/ and has been selling No. 2 yellow corn to the dairy.

“As part of this association we have been building this net-working and right now we are selling around 5,000 ton per month of white corn that we get from Sinaloa in Mexico. If we have a good partner we can do much more with white corn and yellow corn. If you know someone that is interested in this and even better if they have some white corn available right now I would appreciate if you can have them contact me.”

So in the interest of international trade and relations here is a phone number for Ricardo Castañeda 519-962-9514. Just in case anyone out there has some white corn to sell or maybe is looking for a contract to grow some this spring.

If this works out it could be my biggest phone deal yet. Although I did once have a call from a clothing manufacturer in Taiwan who wanted to be connected with someone in Ohio who raised rabbits for fur. True story.

Hold on there’s the phone again.