A delegation of grain buyers, scientists and government officials from South Korea recently visited several farming operations in Iowa, including the row crop and hog farm of Denny Friest in Radcliffe.
Friest is a fourth generation farmer and says the international visitors got a good look into Iowa agriculture at his family farm near Garden City.
“We were just sharing how our farms work and what our farm is like,” Friest says. “I gave them a general farm tour to show how we grind feed on our farm, utilize corn, soybean meal and dried distilled grains into our rations. We showed them how we do things to encourage them to be buyers of our corn, buyers of our ethanol, buyers of our distilled grains, buyers of our soybeans.”
Friest is a director on the Iowa Corn Growers Association and says the organization focuses on finding global markets for unused commodities. “Twenty-five percent of the corn, 25% of the soybeans, roughly 25% of the hogs, and 25% of the beef that we grow in this country, we have to find another home for because we cannot consume that,” he says. “We work real hard as corn growers to develop markets overseas.”
Friest says the delegation of South Koreans was taken aback by Iowa’s agricultural capabilities. “They were suprised at how much independence we have as producers on how we did things,” he says. “We touched on all kinds of things we do to be conservationists and economists. They were surprised about the investment in the machinery and the value of some of the machinery we had to be able to be a farmer, too.”
Other stops included at the Iowa Corn Office in Johnston, a cow and crop farm, the Quad County Processors ethanol plant in Galva and the Golden Grain Energy ethanol plant in Mason City. South Korea is the third largest importer of U.S. corn and distillers dried grains, and also purchased more than 42-million gallons of ethanol in the past year.
(By Mark Freie, KLMJ, Hampton)