USDA considering adding DDGS, pork to export sales report

By Holly Jessen | September 11, 2012

In recent years, the USDA has received numerous requests from the U.S. pork and ethanol industries to add pork and distillers grains to a Foreign Agricultural Services USDA export sales report. Now, that may become a reality.

The next step is for the USDA to make a “yes” or “no” determination, based on comments submitted on or before Aug. 24, according to Peter Burr, branch chief with the import policies and export reporting division office of trade programs with the FSA/USDA. A final rule will then be issued. “No timeline is set for this to occur,” he told Ethanol Producer Magazine, “But as with all rulemaking, we are expeditiously moving forward with the process.”

According to the proposed rule published in the Federal Register, 39 commodities are currently covered by the export sales reporting requirement mandate, including wheat, oil seeds, cotton, beef and more. The proposed rule calls for all exporters of U.S. pork and distillers grains to provide information to the FAS/USDA on a weekly basis. Reportable information includes quantity, destination and more.

Under the current system, there is a two month delay for information on total volume of sales and shipments, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. If distillers grains and pork are added to the FAS/USDA report, however, that information would instead be available in two weeks. “An internal review conducted by USDA supported the claim made by these industries that the addition of pork and DDG to the export sales reporting requirements would facilitate market transparency and enable the U.S. commodity markets and the U.S. industries to conduct more accurate and timely analysis on U.S. market conditions,” the proposed rule said.

In response to a the call for comments, the National Corn Growers Association sent a letter to Burr, in support of adding distillers grains to the export sales report. The Aug. 24 letter outlined the growth of the distillers grains market and reiterated that the data would help “facilitate market transparency and allow our industry and our corn marketing partners with the ability to conduct accurate and timely analysis of U.S. market conditions.”

China, particularly, is a fast-growing market for the coproduct of ethanol production, although there are factors that could constrain that growth, according to an August report from the USDA Economic Research Service.  

“As the people of China continue their climb into the global middle class, they are moving toward a diet rich in both protein and taste,” said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer, a farmer from Auburn, Ill. “Given the incredible size of its population, a shift in the average Chinese diet can generate impressive demand. U.S. farmers and ethanol producers look forward to working with the Chinese feed industry to fill this need with quality U.S. distillers grains. DDGS represent a tremendous opportunity for so many, truly maximizing the usefulness of our corn crop and its ability to feed and fuel a rapidly evolving world.”