SEA Participants Give Thumbs Up to NCI Short Course, Farm and Elevator Visits

Southeast Asian trade visitors rated favorably the farm and elevator visits as well as a four-day Northern Crops Institute (NCI) course organized by USSEC.
The annual U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange brought together some 40 participants in the food and feed sector from Southeast Asia in a two-week long exchange spanning three states—Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota.  The varied program included the conference, farm and elevator visits, and a short course at the Northern Crops Institute (NCI).

The SEA trade team attended a procurement short course at the Northern Crops Institute

After meeting with suppliers in Milwaukee, the Southeast Asian trade team headed to farm visits in Minnesota and North Dakota, where they had the chance to see soybeans maturing in the fields, speak to farmers about their crop expectations and farm business, and even ride on a combine.
The first stop was in Minnesota on LP Acres in Chatfield, a corn-soy-cattle operation jointly owned by Eric Thorn and Steve Highum.  The group also toured and was hosted at dinners at the Riley farm in Amboy, a soy-corn-hog operation; and at Karolyn and Bill Zurn’s farm in Callaway.
Participants were delighted at the opportunity to visit the farms, meet up with suppliers, and see the physical soy product at the place of origin.  Ryohta Shinohara, a trader with Kyodo Sojitz Feed in Vietnam gave top marks for the farm visits as they provided him the opportunity to understand first-hand how all procedures from harvesting to the transport of soybeans and meal are carried out.
In Fargo, the trade team participated in a course on “Soy Procurement Management for Importers” at the NCI.  The four-day course gave participants an overview of the fundamentals and technical instruments used in predicting commodity prices, the roles of cash and futures markets in hedging prices, contracting strategies for imports and the implications of basis and spreads for import decisions.  The courses were conducted by William Wilson, North Dakota State University (NDSU), Mike Krueger of the Money Farm, Fargo; and Frayne Olson, NDSU Extension Service.
Participants also had hands-on practice in a simulated trading game exercise at the dedicated Commodity Trading Room on the campus of the North Dakota State University.
Said Suryadi Hidayat of PT FKS Multi-Agro in Indonesia: “The best parts of the trip are the farm visits. We now have a better insight into the quality and yield of the new crop for 2014/15.”
“It is good to meet directly with US suppliers,” shared fellow-Indonesian Daniel Hadi Loe of PT Hutama Persada Jaya Mandiri. “We can get a lower price if we deal with them directly.”  He added that his company has confirmed an import deal of 40 metric tons of food-grade soybeans for the coming year.
The courses were held in conjunction with half-day site visits for food or feed interests to soy farms and elevators in the North Dakota and neighboring Minnesota regions.  Many team members expressed their appreciation for these courses, which had enhanced their understanding of the market while equipping them with the necessary information to critically evaluate their own import strategies.