Chinese grain buyers partake in 14 -day tour

Twenty one soybean buyers from Southeast Asia are on a 14-day tour of the upper Midwest to see firsthand the quality of this year’s soybean crop.

“The buyers were very curious about our combines, all the electronics and especially the quality of our soybeans,” said Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC) vice-chairman Patrick O’Leary.

The group stopped in Benson, Minn., on Oct. 3 where they had dinner with area farmers Tony Hughes, Michael O’Leary and Minnesota Soybean CEO, Tom Slunecka before heading to O’Leary’s farm in rural Danvers, Minn., on Oct. 4.

O’Leary explained the buyers were split into five groups and drove throughout the countryside, stopping and talking to farmers as they were harvesting. Along the way, they took small samples of beans, looking at quality components and foreign material.

O’Leary currently farms with his brother James and father Michael. The family has often hosted foreign buyers who visit Minnesota to inspect the quality of the crops while building customer relationships.

“The buyers were impressed by the quality of our equipment and the high quality grain coming out of the combine,” Michael O’Leary said. “We enjoy having them stop out and ride in the combine with Pat or in the grain cart with James.”

As part of their tour, buyers visited a number of Minnesota farms, along with numerous farms in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska. The buyers also stopped at cooperatives and processing facilities where they were able to see the process and infrastructure needed to move grain to other parts of the world.

These buyers represent some of the largest grain buying entities in the world, including China’s largest state-owned processor, COFCO Group. This tour was brought to the Midwest in conjunction with Ag Processing Inc. (AGP) as part of the Grays Harbor Project,  led by contractor, Peter Mishek.