Japanese pork buyers visit Claremont to understand soybeans - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Japanese pork buyers visit Claremont to understand soybeans

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CLAREMONT, Minn. (KTTC)- The United States exports approximately 25% of its pork product, with a majority of it going to Japan. Some of those buyers want to know more about their purchase.

"They already buy product, but they're looking to see what's behind the product," says Sam Ziegler with Minnesota Soybean Farmers. "Where's the product come from? We're also able to show them where the feed comes from."

In that feed, providing key proteins to the livestock, is soybeans.

"A lot of our markets are dependent upon international customers," explains Bruce Schmoll, a Claremont farmer, "and so we do a lot of work with the U.S. Meat Export Federation promoting buyers like this to come over to the U.S. to look at the livestock we have, look at the our crops, so they can kind of connect with us."

The stop in Claremont included a look at some of the equipment used in the fields and a closer look at the soybean product that serves as the backbone to what they are buying.

"We've been able to show them that whole process of quality control," says Ziegler, "integrity and the passion that our farmers in Minnesota have for growing food for not just here, local people and the towns around us, but also growing food for countries like Japan."

Portions of Minnesota got off to a slow start to the planting season, and the effects of that is being felt in the prices of their product.

"Our red meat, our livestock customers, are probably happy because maybe in the long run that's going to impact their costs and they might go down a little bit," says Schmoll. "It might help them to purchase more of our products."

As more of these visits from foreign buyers are being scheduled, farmers are seeing an evolution in the way they do business.

"We're going to see our relationships improve with these people in different countries as they do better economically-wise, they're going to be in the market for more of our products," explains Schmoll. "So, in the long run, we have a pretty bright picture."

The Japanese visitors represented businesses that sell United States pork overseas in hotels and other restaurants.

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