USSEC Hosts Ecuadorian Agriculturalists on Tour of U.S. Ag Industry

By - Monday, May 9, 2016

USSEC had the privilege of hosting a group consisting of nine Ecuadorian agriculturalists during a weeklong trip through Missouri and Iowa. From April 25-29, the group, composed of Ecuadorian farmers and representatives from the Ecuador Minister of Agriculture’s office, learned the ins and outs of soybean and corn production through various meetings with businesses in the ag industry, academia and farmers.

Francisco de la Torre, USSEC Regional Representative for the Americas region, viewed the chance to host this team as an excellent opportunity to expand on the current relationship between the U.S. agricultural industry and Ecuadorian ag producers and consumers. Additionally, providing the group with a firsthand encounter of U.S. agriculture instilled a higher sense of confidence and trust in the crops produced by U.S. farmers.

“Providing the opportunity for importers of U.S. Soy and other commodities to see how the production process works is increasingly valuable,” said Mr. de la Torre. “People want to know where their food comes from and how it was produced. Ecuador is purchasing more and more U.S. Soy every year; we want them to know that no one can produce the same high quality products as efficiently as the U.S. farmer.”

The team had a series of meetings discussing current production and management practices at both the University of Missouri and Iowa State University. The group was especially interested in the topics of biotechnology, as Ecuadorian producers do not currently produce genetically modified crops; sustainability; and yields. Additionally, the team had the opportunity to visit both the Bay Research Farm, the Missouri Soybean Association’s farm and home to Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC) research,  and Greenley Research Center in Missouri. Staff from the University of Missouri discussed the basics of planting, breeding, feed trail, and production management research taking places at the farms.

Additional visits to industry members allowed the team to learn more about the hands-on presence of U.S. agriculture. DuPont Pioneer hosted the team at their headquarters in Johnston, Iowa, allowing them the opportunity to learn more about one of the world’s largest seed companies. ADM introduced them to a soybean processing facility in Des Moines, Iowa, discussing the various soy products they produce and the importance of sustainability in the industry. The Iowa Corn Growers Association gave great insight on the functionality of farmer-supported organizations and how each contribution impacts the marketability of U.S. commodities. The MSMC and Iowa Soybean Association also had the opportunity to meet with the visiting agriculturalists, as well as assisting with the planning of visits during the trip.

The highlights of the trip for the Ecuadorian guests included trips to farms in Missouri and Iowa. Despite stormy conditions, Doug and Becky Thomas were able to discuss their operations and the importance of their family being involved in their northern Missouri operation. Additionally, the team was able to visit with Rolland Schnell, Iowa farmer and President Elect of the Iowa Soybean Association Board of Directors, on his farm in central Iowa. Rolland and wife Donna discussed their involvement with the Iowa Soybean Association and how the association positively impacts Iowa farming. The team was greatly interested in Mr. Schnell’s and the Thomas’ usage precision technology, selecting and using genetically modified hybrids, and investments in equipment and facilities.

 

At the Thomas farm, the group discussed grain storage

At the Thomas farm, the group discussed grain storage

 

Mr. Schnell took great pleasure in the opportunity to host this team.

“The thing that impressed me most about this team was their interest in the details and all the aspects of our operations. From how we select or seed and technologies to our equipment and management practices, they were completely interested in everything we shared. Hosting them was a wonderful opportunity,” said Mr. Schnell.

 

The group enjoyed its visit to the Schnell farm

The group enjoyed its visit to the Schnell farm

 

“Allowing trade teams and others with interest in U.S. Soy and American agriculture to participate in on-site interaction with farmers and others in the industry is very beneficial,” said Eric Gibson, Stakeholder Relations Coordinator at USSEC. “The groups who met with our guests are enthusiastic about sharing their experiences in the industry. Agriculture and food production has a great story to tell and many eager to do just that.”

USSEC hosts a number of trade teams from around the world each year. To find out about USSEC’s involvement with trade teams or if you have interest in hosting a team, please contact Eric Gibson, Stakeholder Relations Coordinator, at egibson@ussec.org.

 

At the University of Missouri, the group met with Dr. Nicolas Kalaitzandonakes

At the University of Missouri, the group met with Dr. Nicolas Kalaitzandonakes

 

At Iowa State, the team visited the ISU Seed Science Center and talked with three Ecuadorian grad students studying there

At Iowa State, the team visited the ISU Seed Science Center and talked with three Ecuadorian grad students studying there