International buyers from three countries had an up-close look at Midwest agriculture, agri-business and pork production during a recent visit to Illinois and Iowa. The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) hosted 26 producers from China, Mexico and Columbia, South America, earlier this month in an effort to increase export sales for the Illinois pork industry.
According to IDOA, over the last 20 years the tour has generated more than $11 million in sales.
The tour began with a visit to Cedar Ridge – a purebred swine operation – in Red Bud, Ill. The farm was established in 1954 by the late Fred and Betty Grohmann and is now owned and operated by their six sons.
The visitors also went to Prairie State Semen, a boar stud and supplier of boar semen located in Champaign, Ill.; CME Group, an international marketplace that manages financial risks for businesses; Amlan International Innovation Center, which is dedicated to the R&D of adding value to sorbent minerals; and GSI’s AP (Automated Production Systems) manufacturing facility in Taylorville, Illinois, where the participants learned about AP’s technologies used in pork production.
Another highlight was the National Soybean Research Laboratory at the University of Ilinois at Urbana-Champaign, where participants learned about cutting-edge research from industry experts.
Tom Stuthman, GSI Director of Protein for North America, said the tour provided a great opportunity to learn more about the needs of international and potential customers, “so that we can come up with innovative solutions to meet those needs.”
“The Illinois pork industry is a vital component of Illinois agriculture,” said Raymond Poe, Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, who participated in the tour. “The industry contributes billions of dollars to our economy and creates thousands of jobs.
Illinois exports approximately $8.6 billion of agricultural products.