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Chinese commodity importer visits Minnesota soybean farms

Potential trade war looming, China remains tops importer of Minnesota soybeans

Despite the potential threat of a trade war with the largest importer of U.S. soybeans, a major Chinese ag commodity importer traveled to three different Minnesota farms earlier this week to learn more about Minnesota soybean production, and its ongoing benefits to the food and animal feeding industries of China.

More than half of the nearly 400 million bushels of soybeans produced annually in Minnesota are exported, and 90 percent of those Minnesota soy exports went to China last year.

On June 18, Dana Blume, Tim Stelling and Keith Schrader hosted the Chinese commodity importer, Mr. Yanglin Zhu, at their respective farms.

“It is important for us to continue to build relationships with Chinese buyers, especially in these uncertain times,” says Dana Blume, an Elbow Lake, Minn., soybean farmer. “We want our customers to know that as farmers, we are committed to providing the superior product they need.”

The three farmers were selected by the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), which coordinated the visit, because each of their particular farms illustrated one or more facets of Minnesota soybean crop production that Mr. Zhu was interested in seeing.

“Mr. Zhu was very interested in learning who was growing the soybeans destined for China,” says Tim Stelling, of Osakis, Minn. “We walked our fields and talked about the importance of trade between our countries.”

In addition to commodity soybean production, Mr. Zhu was shown production of identity-preserved varieties of soybeans that are specific to the manufacture of tofu (a major food product in China), and high oleic soybean oil, which is a superior new frying oil possessing a lower content of saturated fat.

“Educational opportunities like this visit for Mr. Zhu are important,” says MSR&PC Director Keith Schrader, a Nerstrand, Minn., farmer. “We need to continue to capitalize on our relationships in order to ensure continued success for Minnesota soybean farmers.”

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