The 2018 Nebraska Soybean Board See for Yourself International Marketing program is taking place this week. This year, Nebraska soybean farmers traveled to the Pacific Northwest to increase their knowledge of how soybeans are exported to international customers and explore non-traditional usage of soy products.
The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is an important region for soybean exports. The Nebraska Soybean Board reports that, in 2017, more than a quarter of all U.S. soybean exports traveled through the PNW. Many of the exports travel to Chain, Japan or Southeast Asia. Last year, roughly $16 billion worth of soybeans, soybean meal and oil were exported to the three counties.
Rural Radio Network broadcaster Bryce Doeschot is part of the trip, reporting on the tours and meetings.
The first full day of the trip began in Seattle, Washington where the group traveled to the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center. At the center, Dr. Ron Johnson, manager of the aquaculture research explained how scientist are using soy as a substitute in fish food.
Dr. Ron Johnson, NOAA Fisheries describes the research
Next, the soybean growers departed for Grays Harbor, Washington. The Port of Grays Harbor is home to Ag Processing Inc. (AGP), a grower owned cooperative in the Midwest.
The Hastings, NE AGP location is is one of the nine processing faculties. According to the company, each day, AGP processes over 16,000 acres of soybeans.
AGP loads soybean meal onto rail cars and ships them to Grays Harbor to be loaded onto barges bound for export partner counties.
Leonard Barns, Grays Harbor Port Deputy Executive Director, describes the port and expresses his appreciation for AGP.
Day 1 Spotlight Reports – Sponsored by Crary Harvest Equipment.
On the second day the See For Yourself tour, the group of growers first traveled to the Port of Tacoma. The Port of Tacoma is home to TEMCO, LLC, which is a 50/50 join venture between Cargill and CHS. TEMCO buys, sells, stories and handles grain for export out of the Pacific Northwest.
TEMCO primarily handles corn, soybeans and wheat which arrives on rail cars from Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Canada.
Darrin Rayl, TEMCO Plant Manager, talks about the grain handling facility.
Day 2 Spotlight Reports – Sponsored by Crary Harvest Equipment.
The final day of tours began at the BNSF Division Office in Seattle, Washington. BNSF briefed the soybean growers on how the company is investing to expand and renovate infrastructure. The move comes to ensure that grain and other rail car cargo can travel to the destination as quick and as safe as possible.
Next, the group saw first hand how large cargo ships are loaded and unloaded at the SSA Marine – Terminal 18. Staff from the terminal provided an in-depth tour, describing how products are handled efficiency to get boats loaded or unloaded quickly.
The final tour of the day and trip was of Hiram M Chittenden Ballard Lock. The lock and dam combination was competed by the U.S. Army® Corps of Engineers in 1917. The system connects the saltwater of the Puget Sound to the fresh water of the Ship Canal, which sits roughly 20 feet above sea level. Boats are able to enter the locks and water then rises or falls to the level of the destination of the waterway.
Timelapse Video: The large lock at Hiram M. Chittenden Locks fills with water.
Day 3 Spotlight Reports – Sponsored by Crary Harvest Equipment.
Day 4 Spotlight Reports – Sponsored by Crary Harvest Equipment.
The fourth and final day of the See For Yourself tour was a travel day back to Nebraska. On the stoplight reports, members of the trip reflect on their experiences.
Report 1 – Audio with Cale Buhr
Report 2 – Audio with Sandy Newton
Report 3 – Bryce Doeschot Recaps the trip