MCGA hosts Taiwanese trade team in Minnesota
SHAKOPEE, Minn. – A U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade team of Taiwanese swine producers and researchers visited Minnesota on June 10 to get an up-close look at an ethanol plant and a Minnesota family farm.
The group began their journey at the World Pork Expo in Iowa, then visited Minnesota before returning to Taiwan. The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) arranged a tour of the Corn Plus Cooperative ethanol plant in Winnebago and Tim Waibel’s family corn, soybean and hog farm in Courtland.
“It was great to show the group what farming in Minnesota is all about and connect with customers and fellow farmers from across the ocean,” said Waibel, who also serves on the MCGA board of directors and was joined for the visit by Minnesota Pork Executive Director David Preisler.
The visits are one way to give the Taiwanese swine producers, who are end-users of corn and co-products like distillers dried grains (DDGS), confidence in the United States’ ability to supply them with high quality products. DDGS are a high-protein livestock feed and a by-product of the ethanol-making process. Every 56-pound bushel of corn yields 2.8 gallons of ethanol, 18 pounds of DDGS and 1.5 pounds of corn oil.
According to the USGC, the next generation of Taiwanese swine producers are not yet familiar with updated technology used in hog production in the United States and the advantages of using U.S. corn and DDGS in rations. There are about 8,600 swine farms with a population of 5.8 million head in Taiwan.
In marketing year 2013-14, Taiwan imported over 1.7 million tons of U.S. corn, more than tripling what it imported in 2012-13. In September of 2013, a 20-member Taiwanese delegation visited Minnesota to sign a letter of intent to purchase $3.5 billion in U.S. corn and soybeans.
Over the last two years, MCGA has worked with the USGC to coordinate corn farm visits and ethanol plant tours for several visiting trade teams from Taiwan, China, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.
“Any time we can show people what ethanol means to the state of Minnesota, we do it,” said Rick Serie, general manager of Corn Plus Ethanol Cooperative. Corn Plus is owned by 615 local members and produces ethanol, DDGS, corn oil and CO2. The plant employs 42 people and even has its own flex fuel pump on-site.
“These types of visits are a great way to build demand for Minnesota corn, homegrown ethanol and all the co-products that result from the ethanol process.”