Minnesota has been a popular summer destination for countries interested in developing new trade partners for grain. Last week, six corn purchase committee leaders from South Korea made their way through southern Minnesota corn operations, including farms, a grain inspection facility and a co-op.
By visiting the different stops along the journey for field corn, the South Korean representatives were able to see the process that leads to a high quality product. The group started on Lyle Rollag’s farm in Beaver Creek, before moving on to Sioux City Grain Inspection in Windom. After lunch, the group visited farm of MCR&PC council member Gerald Tumbleson before ending at Central Farm Service Co-op in Truman.
At Tumbleson’s farm in Sherburne, the South Korean purchasers began by closely examining the large grain bin operation on the farm. The group was interested in the different fan systems and the overall mechanics that adequately dry out the corn to optimal moisture levels and keep the corn at temperatures that prevent germination.
The team also looked at the important ways farming in Minnesota has evolved over the years, including the use of plastic tile tubing that has drastically increased yields.
While the team from South Korea may be able to find cheaper feed elsewhere, Tumbleson emphasized not only the superior quality of Minnesota corn, but also the reliability of a long-term partnership. American farmers are prioritizing conservation on their farm fields, so they remain productive far into the future, according to Tumbleson.
“What we are trying to do out here is maintain these fields for 100s of years from now,” he said. “We are going to still be here when your great grand kids want to buy corn. We may not be the cheapest, but we are going to be the partner with the most reliable supply.”
Tuesday afternoon, the group visited the main office of Central Farm Service (CFS) Co-op in Truman for a presentation on the co-op perspective in Minnesota. Grain quality and transportation were the main focus of the visit, with CFS officials sharing their history and commitment to the communities they serve.
Wrapping up the Minnesota portion of their tour, the trade delegation stopped at MCGA offices the next day for a presentation on crop progress before touring Cargill headquarters. The group will tour ag operations in Washington before heading back to South Korea.