South Dakota soybean growers are encouraged to apply for the 2018 See For Yourself export tour to Mexico. The experience is hosted by the South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (SDSRPC). Ten farmers will be selected to travel to Mexico, February 18-24, 2018, where they will experience first-hand how the South Dakota soybean checkoff is working for them in the country.
“This See For Yourself experience truly puts a face to this export market. It connects South Dakota growers with buyers from Mexico who import our products,” explains Matt Bainbridge, a farmer from Ethan and SDSRPC Chairman. “Export markets make up a large component of demand for our soybeans. Although we sell a lot of soybeans locally, we rely heavily on export markets and value our relationship with Mexican buyers.”
In fact, close to 70 percent of South Dakota’s harvested 255 million bushels of soybeans are exported. The See For Yourself application deadline is September 21, 2017. Click here to apply.
From the applications received, 10 soybean growers who contribute to the South Dakota soybean checkoff will be selected by a committee of SDSRPC farmer directors for the opportunity to participate in the tour. The tour will cost participants $300. SDSRPC will cover other expenses, including most meals and travel.
“This is a unique opportunity to see how South Dakota-grown soybeans are used in Mexico,” Bainbridge says. “Growers will actually meet with buyers and tour hog and dairy farms, feed mills, processing plants and other facilities who utilize our soybeans. It is a great opportunity to learn what these buyers look for when they buy our soybeans.”
South Dakota soybean grower, Barry Loomis agrees. The fifth-generation Bruce farmer was selected to participate in the 2016 See For Yourself Tour to China.
“I did not understand the magnitude of the industry in China that buys our soybeans until I was there. They are buying our soybeans because of the quality of our beans,” Loomis says.
Proud to continue his family’s 135-year farming legacy, Loomis says he appreciates the opportunity to better understand the needs of the buyers who purchase the soybeans he grows. It is his hope that one day, his sons, Zach and Tanner, will continue the farming tradition.
“Buyers told us that if we do a good job on our quality, they will keep purchasing our soybeans,” Loomis says. “On my own, I would never be invited to tour Chinese soybean processing plants and soybean oil and packaging facilities. It was interesting to learn about the work that checkoff dollars do to market our commodity world-wide.”
Loomis encourages soybean growers to take advantage of the See For Yourself opportunity and fill out the short application to experience the Mexico export process firsthand.