China trade team meets with Minnesota farmers

Despite an escalating trade war, soy buyers from China continued touting the high quality of Minnesota soybeans during a tour of Minnesota farms sponsored by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC).

“Minnesota soybean producers want to maintain good relationships with our overseas customers during this current difficult time, to assure you can buy our great soybeans when normal trade resumes,” United Soybean Board Director Lawrence Sukalski said in a presentation to the China buyers.

During their visit to Sukalksi’s farm, the Martin County farmer served the China delegation steak with French fries cooked in high oleic soybean oil.

Sunday, the group visited Faribault County. Jeff Ignaszewski, chair of the Faribault County Corn and Soybean Growers board, explained to the group the various factors he takes into account when he makes decisions regarding when and where to sell his soybeans each year.

Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) Director Darin Johnson explained to the China group at his Wells, Minn., farm how both private sector seed companies and the University of Minnesota soybean breeding program create new soybean varieties with greater disease resistance and higher yield to enable soy supply to keep up with demand.

On Monday, the team visited Earl Ziegler’s farm in Blue Earth County, where Ziegler compared his estimate of this soybean field’s likely yield to the estimated yield calculated by the China group after taking into account how many pods they counted in one square meter. Earl’s son, Sam Ziegler, showed the group how his precision ag software facilitates soybean production decision making; especially now that he has installed planter sensors that measure soil organic matter.

Before departing for Portland, Ore., the Chinese team visited the Minnesota Soybean offices in Mankato, Minn.,, and heard presentations from Minnesota Soybean CEO Tom Slunecka, Market Development Director Kim Nill and University of Minnesota Agronomist Seth Naeve.

“These buyers were very excited to hear of our ongoing efforts, via Seth Naeve, to help Minnesota farmers reduce their foreign materials,” says Nill, who helped curate the tour. “These meetings bode well for the Chinese to continue buying Minnesota’s soybeans the minute this trade dispute reaches its conclusion.”

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