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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Minnesota visit

  • The United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC) sponsored a delegation of four trade representatives last Tuesday in southern Minnesota to help connect some of Japan's food industry leaders with Minnesota soybean farmers to show them the value of U.S. soybeans and encourage them to continue to import U.S. products.
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  • As demand for crops continues to grow globally, farmers are meeting the challenge through the use of technology and international friendships.
    Sleepy Eye soybean farmers and Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Director, Cole Trebesch, and his father, Richard, volunteered to host four food industry leaders from Japan on their farm last week.
    With a growing urban population of around 127 million, only one percent of the labor force engaged in agriculture and only 15 percent arable land, Japan has a dependence on foreign trade for their food supply.
    The United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC) sponsored a delegation of four trade representatives last Tuesday in southern Minnesota to help connect some of Japan's food industry leaders with Minnesota soybean farmers to show them the value of U.S. soybeans and encourage them to continue to import U.S. products.
    During their visit, the group, consisting of meat buyers from Green House Foods Co., LTD and Skylark Co., LTD visited the Trebesch farm south of Sleepy Eye.
    In addition to raising corn and soybeans, the Trebesch's manage custom wean to finish hog barns that have the capacity of holding 7,000 pigs. Cole also demonstrated how he protects and conserves the water surrounding his farm.
    One way he does this is by using minimum tiling practices. This helps keep valuable soil and nutrients on the fields where they can support crop production, instead of escaping the fields and potentially running off into the surface water.
    Many questions were asked by the attendees in regard to how Trebesch works to be environmentally friendly. He assured them by saying, "Minnesota farmers are working hard on a voluntary basis with their conservation agencies. Incentive programs help in continuing to find even better ways to reduce erosion."
    Trebesch believes that there is not a need for unnecessary regulation that would impact Minnesota's agriculture industry and its ability to produce safe, affordable food for people here and around the world.
    The team also visited with representatives from MSR&PC, Minnesota Pork Board and Compart's Family Farm, to discuss current farming practices in Minnesota.
    "Pork is the world's most widely eaten meat and almost one out of three pigs is exported. Japan is our largest customer for product weight, making these relationships critically important to our producers," stated Jeremy Geske, Minnesota Pork Producers Association assistant executive director.
    "Our company strives to be at the forefront of health, safety and the environment," stated Makoto Ikeda, Logistics Section Manager of Green House Foods Co., LTD and attendee of the tour from Japan. "We have the opportunity to increase our business and open more branches overseas, especially in Taiwan and Thailand. Our focus is not only in the volume of our expansion, but also in quality." 
    Page 2 of 2 - After sampling Compart's all natural Duroc pork, the team toured Christensen Farms in Sleepy Eye.
    As one of the largest private pork production companies, Christensen Farms led the group through one of their three feed mills. The mill's unloading capacity is approximately 250 bushels per minute or a semi-load about every four minutes.
    The final destination was Darin Johnson's family farm in Wells. The team learned about the growing stages of corn and soybeans and how the plants produce a crop. After a pork chop supper, sponsored by the Faribault County Pork Producers, and a tractor ride, the delegates experienced a true American tradition, sitting around a campfire and making smores.
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