Increasing exports of distiller’s dried grains with solubles is critical to the continued success of the U.S. ethanol industry, said Dan Keefe, U.S. Grains Council manager of international operations for DDGS.

“As ethanol margins have been pinched in recent months, DDGS have become more important for maintaining ethanol plant profitability and continued operation. This is vital to U.S. farmers and rural America,” said Keefe.

“The Council is working around the world 24 hours a day to increase awareness of U.S. DDGS as a feed ingredient and expand demand for the ethanol co-product. We are the only organization conducting hands-on market development programs to increase utilization of the co-product in animal rations across the globe.

“Thanks to our producer checkoff and agribusiness members’ investments in the Council, we are getting the job done.” Specifically, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, the 2008 calendar year concluded with 4.5 million metric tons of U.S. DDGS entering the overseas marketplace, up 91 percent from 2007. The 2008 quantity translates into $978,648 for the U.S. ethanol industry, up 149 percent from $391,964 in 2007.

Council programs launched in 2002 and continued in subsequent years introduced the co-product in overseas markets unfamiliar with the product. For example, Turkey, the third largest DDGS market, imported 465,212 tons of U.S. DDGS in 2008, up 241 percent from 2007.

The Council recently introduced DDGS to Egypt for the first time and as a result 42,901 tons were purchased in 2008.