March 15, 2016
Thirteen soybean farmers from across the state are traveling throughout Vietnam as participants of the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council’s “See For Yourself” tour.
“The ‘See For Yourself’ trip gives farmers a chance to see their checkoff dollars at work,’ said Tom Slunecka, MSR&PC CEO.
Vietnam was chosen for this tour because of its high demand for soybean products, specifically for soybean meal. Slunecka said Vietnam ranks 17th in global animal feed use, 4th in global pork production and 3rd in aquaculture production. Plus, the country’s economy is growing 5% to 6% annually.
Minnesota soybean farmers on “See for Yourself” tour of Vietnam
“Projected imports of soybeans in southeast Asia are around 240 million bushels of soybeans,” Slunecka said. That is equivalent to 7,500 Minnesota soybean farms raising 800 acres of soybeans per farm.
“You can see how important the Vietnam marketplace is for Minnesota and for us to continue to gain as much market as possible,” he added.
While in Vietnam, the tour group will visit Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and rural areas of the country. They will visit swine and poultry farms as well as a feed mill, a crush plant, a flour mill, a meat processor and an aquaculture plant. They also will meet with government officials, trade ministers and traders from various international companies.
As they visit with folks in Vietnam, they will be presenting them with Minnesota-made gifts, such as soy-based lotions and soaps, and printed information about Minnesota and soybean production.
Upon their return, farmers on the tour will be expected to share their experiences with other soybean growers and local media.
“These ‘See For Yourself’ tours are not free trips or vacations,” Slunecka said. “Each farmer invested his own money to participate and checkoff funds were used, too. This assures that people on the trips are working and they will be giving reports and interviews upon their return.”
Slunecka encourages farmers to consider joining future “See For Yourself” tours.
“We invite all farmers to consider adding these events to their future calendars,” he said. The next trip has not yet been decided. However, given export potential and market growth, another southeastern Asian country might be in the works, as well as a trip to India, he added.
These are not free trips or vacation Farmers on the trip have invested their own money
More than half of Minnesota soybeans are shipped overseas each year, and MSR&PC actively works to grow those markets and build relationships with international customers through the soy checkoff. MSR&PC Chairman Keith Schrader will lead the See for Yourself Program in Vietnam, where farmers can see their checkoff at work.
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