As the entrepreneurial spirit in Vietnam continues its rapid growth, U.S. farmers see increasing potential in this rapidly growing market. During a recent mission to the country, organized by the U.S. Grains Council, participants saw first-hand the opportunities in this market while also learning the importance of a carefully nuanced approach to the expansion of U.S. agricultural exports in this region.

The nine team members, all of which represent state corn marketing groups, met with international customers and key foreign government officials with whom they shared insight into the U.S. corn supply and quality in 2011. Vietnam, which has the fastest growing corn market in Asia, currently fills its corn needs with domestically grown crop and imports from nearby countries, but the group left meetings encouraged that this market has the potential to import U.S. corn.

"The dramatically changing consumer habits will increase grain demand in Vietnam. We need to continue to educate Vietnamese buyers and farmers on benefits of buying from the United States," said Corn Marketing Program of Michigan President Pat Feldpausch, who participated in the mission. "The United States has a dependable system that provides transparency and risk management. We are a consistent supplier and buyers get better value for their purchases. Buying corn from nearby countries or from Ukraine is a risk. You may get a bargain but it's a gamble."

While there, the delegation attended a Council seminar conducted by USGC Consultant Dr. Budi Tangendjaja on the use of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles at a local feed mill.

"Vietnam is an agile user of U.S. DDGS," said Ohio Corn Marketing Program Vice Chairman Paul Herringshaw following the seminar. "It's a good product that helps every ration. It's a great source of protein, and it's replacing Indian soybean meal and other competitive ingredients. Still we need to continue to educate the Vietnamese buyers on the numerous benefits of DDG to increase the volume moving into the country."

In 2010, Vietnam became the 15th largest market for U.S. agricultural products. U.S. agricultural exports to Vietnam grew fivefold from $216 million in 2006 to $1.3 billion in 2010. Vietnam is the 8th largest market for U.S. feedstuffs, doubling over the past two years and valued at $151 million in 2010.

Click here for more photos and video of the USGC Corn Mission.