A U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade team of Taiwanese swine producers, government officials, researchers and association representatives got a firsthand look at Minnesota corn farming and ethanol production on Tuesday.
Harold Wolle, a fifth-generation family farmer and First Vice President of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA), hosted the group at his family’s corn and soybean farm near St. James. Harold and his son Matthew answered the team’s questions related to marketing, quality, planting decisions and costs. Neighboring farmers also attended to talk about pig farming and other challenges faced by Minnesota farmers.
From there, the Taiwan team traveled to Claremont to tour the farmer-owned Al-Corn Clean Fuel ethanol plant. Al-Corn CEO Randy Doyal walked the team through the ethanol-making
process, then led a tour of the plant that culminated with a group photo in front several large piles of distillers dried grains, a high-protein livestock feed that’s a by-product of the ethanol-making process.
By visiting the Wolle family farm and Al-Corn, team members, who are grain end-users, gained a greater confidence in the United States’ ability to supply them with high-quality coarse grains and co-products. Minnesota is an active member of the USGC, a private, non-profit organization that works to develop exports in more than 50 countries from 10 worldwide offices and its Washington, D.C., headquarters.
“Visits like this one help strengthen relationships between Minnesota corn farmers and end-users of our products in other countries,” said Wolle, who also serves as First Vice President of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA). “It’s great to get these folks out to a Minnesota farm so they can see firsthand the care and dedication we put into growing the best crops possible, while protecting our land, soil and water resources.”
The team also attended the World Pork Expo and visited a corn farm and ethanol facility in Iowa
before venturing to Minnesota.
“Taiwan’s swine industry is one of the largest feed consumers in Taiwan, using about 40 percent of the country’s complete feeds,” said USGC Chairman Alan Tiemann, who farms in Nebraska. “It is key that the Council and its partners in state’s like Minnesota continue to help Taiwanese swine producers innovate and expand their livestock production so that this industry will be a driver in the coarse grain trade.”