As a producer and Nebraska Soybean Board director, Gregg Fujan has taken part in several overseas trade missions, promoting this country's soybean meal and other soy products.
This fall on his farm near Prague, Fujan had the opportunity to show a trade mission from the Philippines how soybeans are grown, harvested and handled in this country. The Filipinos' week-long tour included stops at the Chicago Board of Trade; farms in Nebraska, Minnesota and South Dakota; soybean processing facilities, including AGP in Hastings; and AGP's export facilities at Grays Harbor, Wash.
Peter Mishek president of Mishek Inc., based in Omaha, led the group on its tour. AGP organized it and. Several state checkoff boards, including the Nebraska Soybean Board, helped fund the tour.
"The Philippines is the second largest buyer of U.S. soybean meal in North America, behind only Mexico," Mishek said. "But it is the largest buyer of U.S. mean outside of North America. The island nation is very important to the U.S. and Nebraska."
Mishek said that more than 40% of U.S. soybean meal is exported and that a considerable amount of that meal comes from AGP's plant in Hastings.
Gerald Uygonco, chief operating office for La Filipina, was on the tour. The organization has extensive flour mill operations and feed manufacturing operations in the Philippines. It also has two hog operations.
~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~"One hundred present of the soybean meal we buy comes from the United State," Uygonco said.
The trade mission consisted of his customers in the Philippines such as livestock producers and feed mill operators. "We sell soybean meal to all parts of the country."
He said his customers prefer U.S. soybean meal over soybean meal from South America because the U.S. product provides more energy.
Soybean meal is a major part of the diets in the country's livestock sector, which is primarily swine, chickens and ducks.
Grain trade missions involving U.S. farmers going overseas or foreign visitors coming to the U.S. are increasing more common.
For his part, Fujan described to the visitors how he grows, manages and markets his soybean crop, and how the Nebraska Soybean Board helps trade missions like this one. He gave several of the trade team members a ride in his combine as he harvested soybeans.
"It is important for us to serve our foreign customers and to show them the quality of our soybeans and soybean meal," Fujan added. "Asia is the fastest growing market for soybeans and soybean markets."