Applications being taken for See For Yourself port tour

May 8, 2023

South Dakota soybean growers can apply to be part of a tour that sheds light on how soybeans get from South Dakota to Asian customers. “Basically, it’s an opportunity to let

farmers see what it takes to get our beans out to our export customers and the loading facilities and stuff out in the PNW, Pacific Northwest ports, which is where the majority of South Dakota soybeans go,” said Jeff Thompson, a farmer at Colton, South Dakota, who joined the South Dakota Soybean Association Board after participating in a similar tour several years ago.

Ports in the Pacific Northwest are particularly important to South Dakota growers because of rail connections between there and South Dakota. “AGP has their own loading terminal there,” Thompson told the South Dakota Soybean Network, “and that particular terminal is set up mainly for the handling of soybean meal. It’s a little bit different handling soybean meal as opposed to whole beans and corn. It takes a little bit different facilities and they’re very important because we got these new crush plants coming online.”

The tour itself includes a stop at the Port of Grays Harbor near Seattle, where AGP maintains their large loading terminal, according to Thompson. “We’ll visit the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railyard to see what goes on there,” he said, “the Port of Seattle, there are a lot of things going on there.” Additional tour stops include fisheries, as well as CHS and Cargill export terminals. “You don’t get the chance to see these ports or tour these places on your own,” said Thompson, currently second vice-president of the South Dakota Soybean Association. “You have to be with a group that has some ties to these industries.”

Tour dates are July 11th through the 14th. The deadline to apply to be part of the expenses-paid tour is May 21st. More information on the tour, as well as a link to apply before the May 21st deadline is at

“That’s the important thing,” said Thompson, urging growers to apply, “take advantage of trips like this and where it can take you when you get the chance.”