USSEC partnered with AGP-Omaha and ETOS feed company in Poland to bring a team of Polish dairy farmers, managers, and nutritional advisors to the U.S. for training. The training program was concentrated in Minnesota, where the Polish customers visited a number of dairy operations, beef production complementary to dairy operation, feed manufacturing facilities, and soybean producers.
The customers were exposed to different farming solutions: super-large modern farms, medium size farms with lots of automation, but also farms with more traditional approaches.
The Poles kicked off their agenda by touring a very large commercial dairy operation that had 8800 Jersey cows in one place and a carousel milking parlor (Meadow Star Dairy in Pennock, Minnesota). The same group of owners had another huge farm of about 8000 cows, which the USSEC trainees also visited. The company, Riverview LLC, had many more similar farms that added up to a total of about 100,000 cows with a plan to increase their herd to 130,000 in four or five years. The Polish group was also shown around their calf and young stock rearing facility for 8000 head at Hancock, Minnesota, which was a novelty for the visitors.
Agricultural Processing (AGP), a supplier of AminoPlus® bypass soymeal to Central Europe, including Poland, received the delegation at their soy crushing and AminoPlus® manufacturing plant at Dawson, Minnesota, and let them see their bypass production. The AGP colleagues also arranged the visit to Minnesota Supreme Feeder in Lamberton, Minnesota, where the Polish dairymen were able to study nutrition, management and marketing operations of that successful feedlot operation for 5000 heads in one place.
On the fourth day, the Polish customers were hosted at Form-A-Feed head office and production plan in Stewart, Minnesota, where they saw an older facility that is well managed and very successful. It was interesting for them to hear how the commercial dairy and beef cattle market in the U.S. differs from the EU market. The visitors also learned the feed compounder had some production and sales activities in Central Europe, namely in Hungary.
At the end of the team trip activity, the Polish dairymen visited the Schrader family soybean and corn farm at Nerstrand, Minnesota, where they met with Keith Schrader, farmer and the president of Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), and his partners as well as representatives of the MSR&PC. Part of the visit was devoted to soy and corn farming and agricultural economics in Minnesota and the U.S., evolving to an exchange of information on the benefits that green biotechnology offers to U.S. farmers and the growing problems from consumer and political hostilities toward GM crops that Polish livestock farmers face in Poland and some other European countries.
Later, the guests went to the corn and soybean fields and toured the entire farm. It was an interesting visit for the Polish customers; Mr. Schrader was pleased to host real farmers, who know crop production and also manage livestock operations.
The Polish dairymen appreciated the weeklong dairy training program.
Piotr Chełminiak of ETOS, said: “It was a great highly professional training program, which allowed us to see a cross section of Midwest U.S. dairy industry and better understand protein nutrition in which bypass soy protein pays an important role. Our sincere thanks go to USSEC and AGP for making the funds available and arranging such a great program.”
The participants hoped that the experience they gained in the U.S. would be applicable to their own achievements, the level of dairy business development in their farms and country, and better handle challenges the future may bring to their farms.