Joel Foxley, Platte, S.D., knew that soybean exports were important to his farm.
But until he saw a ship being loaded for Asia himself, it didn't seem real.
Foxley toured Pacific Northwest terminals last year with South Dakota Soybean. South Dakota and North Dakota soybean groups are both planning separate "See For Yourself" trips this year. Foxley urges soybean growers to sign up.
"Until you see it firsthand, you have no idea," he says. "The biggest thing I took out of the trip is finding out how complex the logistics are to move and time everything from trains to ships. It was such a huge eye-opener. The elevators always tell you they get penalized if things don't go as planned, but it is such a huge impact. I would love to go again, and everyone should take the time to apply."
Tim Ostrem, Chancellor, S.D., also made the trip
He was surprised to see "how vital the timing of trains arriving at western ports and specific times to facilitate load outs with incoming ships really is."
He too says the time spent on the trip was worthwhile and urges farmers to take advantage of the opportunity.
"The size of ships continues to grow and so does the size of the export elevators," Ostrem says.
The South Dakota soybean checkoff will host 15 soybean farmers on an all-expenses-paid See For Yourself mission to the Pacific Northwest June 22-26. The tour will include stops at the Tacoma Export Marketing Company (TEMCO), the Port of Grays Harbor (PGH), the Imperium Renewables biodiesel plant and Icicle Seafoods Salmon Hatchery.
The North Dakota soybean checkoff sponsored trip is July 14-18. The group will visit North Dakota State University's Commodity Trading Room in Fargo; North Dakota's Port Services and train yards in Minot; the shipping terminal at the Port of Grays Harbor in Aberdeen, Wash.; and an aquaculture facility in Washington.
For more information on the trips or to apply, contact: