In efforts designed to continue building relationships between India and the U.S., the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) hosted a group from India on an educational tour in Iowa last week. The tour provided details on biotechnology, as well as insight into ethanol production and distillers’ dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

"While the purpose of this trip was to provide information and details on the benefits of biotechnology, members of the team demonstrated a lot of interest in DDGS, U.S. farming methods, crop inputs and the mechanization of modern farms," says Rebecca Bratter, USGC director of trade development.

Bratter and Thomas Dorr, USGC president and CEO, attended the tour and are scheduled to head to India this week to meet with government officials. The trip builds upon work done last June by Chris Corry, USGC senior director of international operations, and Joe O'Brien, USGC regional director in the Middle East and Subcontinent during a trip to India.

"We are placing additional emphasis on India because the country, with its 1.2 billion people, has significant potential to grow as a market for U.S. agricultural products, including feed grains and DDGS," says Bratter.

The delegation included participants from India's private companies, starch manufacturers, a farm organization, a university and others, including a representative from the Indian Maize Development Association. While in Iowa, the team visited biotech experts at Iowa State University and seed companies, as well as a central Iowa farm, ethanol plant and analysts at the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

"On the biotech side, conversations focused on the benefits of biotechnology, including improvements in production and yield potential," says Bratter, adding that discussions also included the need for tolerances for the unintended presence of both approved and unapproved events and the need for synchronous approvals. "We were also pleased to see a strong interest in DDGS, which may create some opportunities in the future," she says.