Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) Chair Patrick O’Leary declared his first trip to Japan an unequivocal success. Even during pockets of leisure time, O’Leary opted to engage in ag-related tourism.
“I went to places like a food market during free time. It was all very intriguing to me,” O’Leary says of the trip, which is sponsored each year by the United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF). “I think the utilization of U.S. pork and beef in their diets is very promising for soybean farmers here at home.”
During the week-long trip, O’Leary and MSR&PC Director Gene Stoel attended seminars, met with customers, witnessed a grocery store tasting, visited a pork and beef promotional event and toured Japan’s largest food service company.
“We saw first hand the increase of meat in Japanese food culture,” O’Leary says. “In turn, we’re observing an added value in terms of how important this export market is to U.S. farmers.”
Stoel applauded USMEF and its efforts to tap into a global market.
“USMEF is doing a fantastic job. You couldn’t ask for better people,” Stoel says. “And the livestock industry is our biggest customer; it’s a very important relationship to soybean farmers. USMEF has some great programs, and with their help, it was pretty clear the Japanese people want our products.”