Japanese agricultural trade delegates left Minnesota assured of the superior quality of U.S. soybeans, thanks to a visit to Waseca farmers Scott and Vicky Singlestad’s farm.
The Singlestads hosted a trade delegation of leaders in Japan’s swine health industry who were interested in swine management practices and U.S. soybeans as part of a balanced swine diet. The Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council organized the team of six visitors. While in Minnesota, the trade team also visited Big Gain’s facility in Mankato, the University of Minnesota Extension Southern Research and Outreach Center (SROC), and enjoyed dinner and discussion with Minnesota Soybean and Minnesota Pork producers.
“It was important for me to show international customers first-hand how we produce a safe, reliable food supply to meet their needs while still caring for the environment,” explained Scott Singlestad, who has hosted trade teams in the past from Japan, Taiwan, and China.
Japan is one of the top hog-producing countries in the world. Hogs are fed soybean meal as part of a balanced diet, rich in protein. Japanese farmers and nutritionists have come to trust the quality of U.S. soybeans in their animal diets. The country is the third-largest importer of U.S. soybeans worldwide.
In Japan, most hog farmers breed, farrow, wean, raise, and market animals all on one farm. The visitors were interested in U.S. production practices, like the Singlestads', where they are contracted by Big Gain, a livestock feed company, to raise pigs from the time they are weaned until they reach market weight. They were also interested in humane care of livestock, and remarked that United States farmers are known for their animal husbandry practices.
“We were proud to show these international visitors the time and care we put into caring for our animals and raising a quality crop for their diets,” said Vicky Singlestad.
Singlestad even had some help with planting from some of the Japanese visitors, who had the opportunity to ride along in the tractor as Scott planted soybeans. They were very impressed with the GPS technology utilized in the planter that includes an auto-shut off function to prevent over-planting, which saves resources.