Governor Vilsack is on a trade mission in Japan along with members of the Iowa Soybean Association. The delegation is visiting shipyards, soy oil processing plants and a tofu factory. Iowa is also sponsoring its 4th annual series of soybean seminars and a trade show. Vilsack says nine Iowa companies are there who all export food grain and soybeans.Japan is Iowa’s number-two trading partner. In the first six months of this year, Vilsack says sales of Iowa products in Japan rose 26-percent. The Governor says it’s clear, the annual trade missions are having a positive impact on Iowa’s agricultural economy and our relationship with Japan. He says projections show sales of organic soybeans might increase by 50 percent for this year’s crop.Vilsack talked to Iowa reporters this morning from Tokyo. He says there is only moderate damage to the perceived integrity of Iowa grains in Japan following the situation with StarLink corn. That genetically modified grain is not approved for human consumption but has crept into the food chain. Vilsack says the U-S-D-A has worked closely with Japan to set up a protocol for the handling of StarLink.Jim Legvold is a soybean farmer in the Webster County town of Vincent. He’s on the trip as vice-chairman of the Iowa Soybean Promotion Board. Legvold is convinced the trade missions are worthwhile. He says he’s talked with many people who felt the same way.Legvold says he is cultivating valuable business relationships and is learning what potential customers want.The delegation of about 50 Iowans left for Japan last weekend and is due to return Saturday.
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