Nebraska soybean growers traveled to the Pacific Northwest last week to see how their product is exported worldwide.
The trip was part of the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) See For Yourself program that’s designed to give farmers a hands-on opportunity to learn about their checkoff.
The farmers visited the AGP terminal at Grays Harbor, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Pike Place Market and the Tacoma Export Marketing Company (TEMCO) grain terminal.
Dave Utrecht, a soybean producer from Hastings, Neb. and a first-time See For Yourself attendee, was awestruck by the size of the TEMCO terminal.
“It just boggles the mind how much grain can move in such a short period of time,” Utrecht said. “There’s a soybean processing plant in Hastings, and within 35 days that soy meal can travel across the world to China.”
Dale Blum of Hildreth, Neb. said the trip opened his eyes to the impact Nebraska soybeans have worldwide.
“It kind of amazes me how everything has to work in conjunction to keep rails going, to keep ships loaded, to keep enough soy product to fill the ships,” Blum said. “I’ve always said we all have to work in this together, and after going on this trip I realized how big the whole system is.”
Ron Stech from Osmond, Neb. agreed.
“There’s all we do on our end, producing the crop, a whole host of things that need to happen after to get it loaded onto the ship. Any little hiccup along the way can affect everything that’s going on,” Stech said. “It really hit home when we were at the terminal and they advised us that the very next train unit that was coming in was less than 12 hours away and it was coming in from Nebraska.”
Blum said he hoped Nebraska producers could continue to grow their exports.
“After talking to some of the people who are handling and selling the soybean, I learned they know we consistently produce a pretty good product out here,” Blum said. “I think the overseas market realizes that and they rely on us a little bit more because of that. It makes me feel good that I can keep producing and it has a place to go.”
Stech said he would recommend the See For Yourself trips to any producer who wanted to learn more about how their product affects the global economy.
“When we get too comfortable in our own little surroundings we tend to forget the big picture and how much is going on out there, and when you do something like this, it really opens your eyes to what our products are part of,” Stech said. “We affect a lot of people in the world.”
Information provided by Nebraska Soybean Board