Area Farmers Open Doors to International Trade Members

Several Minnesota soybean farmers invited trade delegation from Southeast Asia to their family farms on Tuesday, October 16. This group, consisting of leaders in the Filipino, Korean and Hong Kong food industries, saw first-hand how U.S. farmers set the bar high in terms of crop production. During their trip to Minnesota, the delegates also visited Western Consolidated Cooperative in Holloway and Ag Processing Inc. in Dawson.

“The goal of the this tour is to help connectsome of Asia’s trade industry leaders with soybean farmers, to develop a relationship and build trust between buyer and seller,” said trade mission leader Peter Mishek, managing consultant of Mishek, Inc., an agricultural management and consulting firm. “The tour also gives the buyers an opportunity to see first-hand what they’re buying, how it’s grown and processed.”

Soybeans are Minnesota’s number one exported value crop; Minnesota exported $2.2 billion worth of soybeans and soybean products in 2010. Total U.S. soybean meal exports are estimated to reach 70,000 tons this year, due to higher feed demand by the expanding domestic livestock, dairy, poultry and aquaculture industries.

Many countries in Asia rely on international trade to feed their people. With a growing population of around 4.1 billion, Asia is the world’s largest and most populous continent and a key market for U.S. soybean and soybean products. With Asian diets trending toward higher protein and meat content, soybean meal demand increases as a source of protein for livestock diets.

Ag Processing Inc. (AGP) is a farmer-owned cooperative, engaged in the procurement, processing, marketing, and transportation of grains and grain products. AGP operates nine soybean-processing plants across the Midwest and is the largest cooperative soybean processing company in the world. AGP and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC) are sponsoring this tour as a way to help connect some of the Asia’s food industry leaders with Minnesota soybean farmers to show them the value of U.S. soybeans and to encourage them to continue to import U.S. product.

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, a non-profit, farmer-controlled membership organization working to assure profitable soybean farming by monitoring government policies, informing the public about agriculture and supporting research and market development activities. The organization works with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) to share The R.E.A.L. Story (Responsible, Ethical Agriculture for Life).

Take virtual farm tours across Minnesota to learn more about local farmers and farming at http://youtube.com/user/minnesotasoybeanor read R.E.A.L farm stories straight from Minnesota farmers by visiting http://TheRealStoryMN.org.

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