United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC), in partnership with the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC), hosted a group of Japanese swine professionals to train on U.S. farming practices while visiting crop farms and facilities. The team consisted of feed specialists, pork producers, a pig magazine editor and veterinarian.
The purpose of hosting the Japanese trade team is to educate them on the latest swine practices and U.S. soybean meal value. For the team to learn firsthand, they visited several hog and crop farms. Bruce Peterson, Minnesota Corn Growers President and Dakota/Rice County Corn & Soybean board member, and Cole Trebesch, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Treasurer and Brown County Corn & Soybean Growers Association board member, hosted the team at their farms.
“I enjoy doing the trade teams because it is really interesting to hear what they do in their countries as well as to answer the questions they have for us,” Trebesch said. “Something else I have realized is they like hearing the numbers on anything; crop yield, pig mortality, amount of NPK. Whatever it is, they like the numbers and usually you can tell they are calculating things in their heads right away.”
The team, which started its southern Minnesota tour Monday and will continue through Friday, was especially interested in different ways farmers make use of waste products.
“One of the topics that we really discussed was manure management, as a few were pig farmers themselves,” Trebesch said. “They were surprised what we can do with the hog manure and how we spread it on our fields. In Japan, manure is a waste product. In the U.S., it is very valuable to farmers.”
On Wednesday night, Minnesota Soybean CEO Tom Slunecka and his wife, Robin, hosted the trade team for an evening supper, bonfire and s’mores.
The trade team was also able to visit ADM, Guardian Energy, Waldorf Ag & Grain LLC, Christensen Farms, Minnesota Pork and Minnesota Soybean. Several presenters also visited the team to educate them on protein in soybeans, how the U.S. ships soybeans and the importance of agricultural lending to farmers.
Their remaining time in Minnesota will be spent at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca, Minn. where they will take courses on gestation and farrowing, wean-to-finish operations and feed management.
The trade team’s visit to Minnesota was made possible by the MSR&PC and the soybean checkoff.