Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

October 22, 2012

Philippines trade team learns about Iowa agriculture

By DUANE NOLLEN
Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA —  The visit by an agricultural trade team from the Philippines to Oskaloosa was part of a Midwest tour to learn about American agriculture.

A group of 17 hog and poultry integrators, feed millers and manufacturers, and hog and poultry operation owners visited the home of Iowa Soybean Association President Mark Jackson last week. After learning about Jackson’s farm operation, the delegation stopped at Oskaloosa Food Products before traveling to Nebraska.

Jackson said the Philippines is one of the biggest consumers of soybean meal in the world. After soybean oil is extracted to make biodiesel, the meal is exported to places like the Philippines, he added.

Jackson spoke to the delegation in a machine shed about his crops and how the weather impacted this year’s harvest.

Jackson has been farming for 40 years.

“I’m a fifth-generation farmer,” he told the delegation.

Jackson said his corn yield was definitely down — it was 100 to 110 bushels per acre. However, soybeans are more drought-resistant than corn, he said. The timely late-August rains helped soybeans fill out their pods, so Jackson’s harvest was good. His soybean yield was about 60 bushels per acre.

“I’m very pleased,” he said.

Jackson said that although corn yields are down, the higher prices for corn will help producers make up their losses. Livestock producers, however, will have to contend with higher feed prices.

This year has been the driest year on record, he said.

As a no-till farmer, Jackson said that method of farming helped save 2 to 3 inches of sub-soil moisture. The sub-soil moisture is “our bank account” in farming.

Peter Mishek is a consultant for the Iowa Soybean Association and an organizer for the Philippine delegation’s trip to the Midwest. He said that between 40 and 50 percent of the U.S. soybean crop is exported, and trade team trips such as the one that stopped in Oskaloosa Thursday are important to foster relationships.

“Foreign customers are just as important as domestic customers,” he said. “This is a special relationship we have with the Philippines.”

Mishek said that the U.S. also sends farm delegations to countries like the Philippines to learn about the foreign market.