By Kristen Johnson, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Anchor - bio | email
SIBLEY, Iowa (KTIV) -
The two nations leading the world in soybean sales are the U.S. and Brazil.
As Iowa farmers begin planting, those in Brazil are just finishing up harvest. The timing couldn't be better for a Northwest Iowa soybean farmer to travel to the equator, where the fields of soybeans are being produced.
Last week, Brian Kemp of Sibley, led a delegation from the Iowa Soybean Association to learn more about Brazil's crop.
Kemp said the fields look similar to Iowa, but farmers there face different challenges.
The transportation infrastructure is much less developed.
Because there's no freeze, pests and disease become a big issue. However, the tropical climate also means that there's two opportunities to grow crops before the dry season kicks in.
Kemp says these issues have an impact on the global soybean market.
"We're both trying to produce protein for a growing world population. U.S. producers cannot grow enough soybeans to meet the demand alone, and Brazilian soybean producers alone could not do it. To a certain extent it's going to take both brazil's production to feed the world and the U.S. production,” said Kemp.
Tom Oswald, of Cleghorn, said they'll use this information as part of their strategy to improve competitiveness for Iowa soybean farmers.
Each person in the group is required to share their experience and observations with other members of the association.
“Anytime farmers can sit down. It doesn't matter if it's an Iowa farmer to an Iowa farmer or a soybean producer in Iowa and a soybean producer in Mato Grosso. When we can sit down and kind of exchange ideas, we're both going to do a better job at what we do," Kemp added.
Kemp is headed to Thailand on a trade mission led by Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.
He says the group will meet with feed producers and soybean processors over three days this week. The goal is to put a face to Iowa's agricultural products.
One in five Iowa jobs is dependent on international trade, according to Kemp.
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