Farm Horizons, April 2012

I’m leaving for China

By Myron Oftedahl, Farm Business Management Instructor, South Central College

Yep, that’s right, I am leaving for China on a 10-day tour sponsored by MN Soybean Research & Promotion Council. We left Tuesday, March 27, so by the time that you read this I will be home again.

This is a see-for-yourself trip for MSR&PC, so we are to evaluate the marketing efforts that are funded by your soybean check-off dollars. A second purpose is to understand the consumption of soy foods by the Chinese and how receptive the Chinese consumer is to US soybeans and meat products.

We fly into Shanghai, and while there we will tour the second-largest soy processing plant in the world. We will visit wholesale and retail markets to observe marketing efforts to the consumer and then look into how US soybeans are utilized in feeding Chinese hogs and the integration of their hog enterprises.

Then, we travel to a processing facility for soy foods, and then travel south to Guangzhou (formerly Canton). While there, we will look at their grain handling facilities, retail markets, and the Chinese broiler production. From there, we return home well educated.

So, while the focus is soybeans – how they are unloaded from the ships, processing, and the use for feed and human consumption – there is also a connection with US Meat Export Federation. China plays a very important role in purchasing US agriculture products. Ag exports are leading the way to help maintain a trade balance.

So, for 10 days I will be immersed in the Chinese culture, and I know that the one thing that I will learn and master is the use of chopsticks! I am really looking forward to the trip and am also looking forward to sharing my experiences with you.

In fact, part of our assignment when we return is to share our experiences of the trip with other producers and any others who are interested. So, watch this space for more news about my trip to China.

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