Corn groups from the U.S., Argentina and Brazil signed a memorandum of understanding this week to form an international alliance of corn producers, collectively called MAIZALL.
The National Corn Growers Association, ABRAMHILO (Brazil), MAIZAR (Argentina), and the U.S. Grains Council signed the agreement in Buenos Aires Tuesday.
Though the countries are competing in the marketplace, USGC President Tom Sleight said the agreement is a way to reach out to international customers and talk about modern agriculture, food security and the role of modern stewardship and technology.
"The main idea is to coordinate communications and speak with a more united voice as producers to the rest of the world," Sleight explained.
According to Sleight, benefits to U.S. corn producers include finding solutions to biotech and phyto-sanitary trade barriers.
"When you have the major corn producing countries talking with a more united voice it adds the farmers' voice to the ongoing government to government negotiations, the industry negotiations," Sleight said.
He said interest is also growing among legislators, namely Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to get global agricultural producers on the same regulatory page ahead of forthcoming trade agreements.
The formation of the group comes just a month after six countries – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the United States and Paraguay – signed an agreement to work together to limit ag technology barriers and promote science-based, transparent regulatory approaches.
After signing the MOU, MAIZALL partners met for two days to establish organizational details and meet with agricultural, scientific and government leaders. A tentative agreement was reached on the structure of the MAIZALL Board of Directors, officers, preliminary funding targets and next steps.
Over the next several weeks, the proposed organizational structure will be presented for approval to the Boards of the four participating organizations, USGC said.
"We are competitors," USGC Vice Chairman Julius Schaaf noted, "and we will remain competitors. But we grow the same crop, we serve the same customers, and we face the same problems on market access issues. We have a common interest in working together to open markets and improve food security around the world. That is the goal of MAIZALL."
News source: USGC