Advances in pork production technologies and international trade opportunities were the dominant themes at the 2018 Illinois Pork Tour, conducted June 4-6 by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
Forty-three pork producers and international buyers from 10 Asian and Latin American countries participated in the tour, which has the objective of building relationships with trading partners and promoting exports for the Illinois pork industry. The annual event, now in its 24th year, has generated combined sales of $13.5 million.
“Participants were impressed with all the technology they saw and asked a lot of questions at each stop,” said Bobby Dowson, an international marketing representative with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, who accompanied the group. Participants represented China, Laos, Myanmar, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic.
International trade concerns were also a topic of discussion, particularly among the participants from China.
“It’s certainly a concern, as all of the trade mission delegates recognize the importance and value of international trade,” Dowson said. “They’re hoping it can all be worked out.”
He noted that China ranks as the world’s leading pork producer, and its need for pork production technologies is expected to increase.
Pork Production Plant Tour
One of the tour stops was at GSI’s AP (Automated Production Systems) manufacturing plant in Taylorville, Illinois, which produces environmental controls, feeding delivery systems and other products used in pork production.
“AP is a global brand doing business in all of the regions represented on the Illinois Pork Tour,” said Tom Stuthman, General Manager, GSI Protein-North America. “We were pleased to be a part of the event because it offers the opportunity to meet with current and potential international customers, and to learn how we can best meet their needs.”
Raymond Poe, Illinois Agriculture Director, greeted the delegation at the AP plant, noting that the state ranks fourth in the U.S. in pork production. “The Illinois pork industry has a tremendous export presence around the world,” he added. “Through trade missions such as this, we hope to not only increase pork exports but also agribusiness exports for the pork industry.”
Other stops on the tour included Cedar Ridge farm in Red Bud, one of the nation’s top sellers of purebred breeding stock; the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; the Chicago Board of Trade, and Amlan International, which provides natural disease management solutions for livestock.
After wrapping up the tour, the delegation headed to Des Moines to attend the 2018 World Pork Expo.