Posted at: 09/11/2012 6:37 PM
Updated at: 09/11/2012 6:42 PM
By: Dan Conradt
Taiwanese Delegation Visits Freeborn County
(ABC 6 News) -- America's farmers don't just feed the country, they feed the world. And on Tuesday, a delegation representing one of the biggest foreign customers of U.S. soybeans toured a farm near Albert Lea.
"This was the entire crush industry from Taiwan," said Cole Pestorious, who hosted the visit on his Freeborn county farm.
"What they do is crush the soybeans for soybean oil and then they use the soybean meal to feed their livestock."
“The reason we bring them over is to show them the updated quality and possible quantities of US soybeans for export," explained Anthony Thang with the US Soybean Export Council.
"They wanted to visit us to see what the soybean crop was like this year after all the weather problems they've heard about and the drought," said Pestorious as he led the group on a walking tour of his operation.
“I think everybody is concerned about the shortage of U.S. crop and how much more premium they need to pay for buying U.S. soybeans in the future," Thang explained.
Two years ago, Minnesota exported 2.2 billion dollars worth of soybeans and soybean products.
"Every other row of soybeans is exported to a different country,” Pestorious explained.
“Taiwan has been one of the best markets for US soybeans," added Minnesota Soybean Association Executive Director Tom Slunecka.
But U.S. producers are facing stiff competition from those in South America.
"So we are trying to do our best to recapture the market share," said Thang.
And with technology and genetics increasing the size of the US soybean crop:
"We need to keep developing relationships with countries like the people that we had here today so that as we increase production, we have a market to sell it to," said Pestorious.
“Crops look pretty good here. we're about borderline, as you go further south it gets dryer and worse, and as you go further north it looks better, and I think we just have an average crop in this area."
“We also want them to leave knowing supply is not an issue," said Slunecka.
"What they see on the road is that both corn and soybean production seems to be not looking too bad, so I think this is a good start," added Thang.
The Taiwanese delegation toured a grain elevator in Delavan after leaving Albert Lea, and had dinner on a farm site near Easton.