Soybean Quality, Customer Relationship Importance of Asian Visits

A group of soybean purchasers and quality assessors from China and Indonesia passed through Minnesota early this week to observe the quality and yield of this year’s soybean crop while visiting local farms. The farm visits were part of the AGP-SRDC harvest tour and sampling survey on behalf of the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council in partnership with AGP.

The harvest tour participants received a firsthand look at soybean farms in Minnesota and met with area farmer leaders and Minnesota Soybean Directors to learn about the 2014 soybean crop. The tour included a visit to Mike O’Leary’s family farm near Benson, where the group collected a soybean sample and asked quality questions.

Mike O'Leary

Mike O’Leary

“The two largest soybean importers from China were in the group that visited our farm,” O’Leary said. “What amazes me about their visit, is that we are developing a relationship with these people and that is ultimately what is going to determine if they buy from us or not. They value relationships with the soybean farmers themselves.”

As they made their way from farm to farm, the group continued to collect soybean samples that will be sent to an AGP laboratory to be analyzed for crude protein, oil content and essential amino acids. Questions they asked farmers ranged from soybean supply from this year’s crop to protein, essential amino acids and sugar content of the soybeans grown in Minnesota.

As part of the tour, the group also traveled through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas to collect about 350 soybean samples during this year’s harvest. They also visited train loading facilities shipping soybeans to Grays Harbor, WA, and visited AGP plants and headquarters during their trip.

The MSR&PC oversees the investment of soybean checkoff dollars on behalf of the state’s soybean farmers. The council is governed by the rules of a federally mandated checkoff program that requires all soybean producers to pay a fee on the soybeans they sell. Funds are used to promote, educate and develop market opportunities for soybeans.