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October 5, 2006

Illinois Department of Agriculture to Lead Reverse Trade Mission
24 international grain buyers scheduled to arrive Sunday for tour of the state’s grain industry

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois’ export-dependent grain industry will have an opportunity next week to demonstrate its vast production and distribution capabilities to 24 potential foreign customers.

 The Illinois Department of Agriculture has arranged to bring the group here as part of its annual Grain Tour, a four-day “reverse trade mission” that begins Monday, Oct. 9.  Participants will see firsthand Illinois’ state-of-the-art grain production, storage and handling techniques and learn about trade opportunities with the state’s producers and suppliers. 

“Illinois is a reliable source of quality grain and grain-related products and services for customers around the globe,” Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said.  “Our technologically- advanced crop production methods make it possible for us to grow a surplus of grain, and our transportation systems allow us to efficiently deliver it anywhere in the world.”

 Illinois is the second largest producer of corn and soybeans in the United States.  In 2005, it harvested 1.7 billion bushels of corn and 444 million bushels of soybeans.  Cash receipts from the two crops totaled $6.2 billion, including $2.2 billion in export sales.

 The foreign buyers are coming to Illinois from Mexico and Vietnam.  During their stay, they will visit Southern Illinois University’s National Corn to Ethanol Research Center, a corn farm, a manufacturer of grain storage products and a farm implement dealer.  Other scheduled stops include a lock and dam on the Mississippi River, the University of Illinois’ new Beef Research Farm and the Chicago Board of Trade. 
The itinerary for the 2006 Illinois Grain Tour follows:

Sunday, Oct. 8

Arrive in St. Louis at Lambert International Airport

Monday, Oct. 9

    9:30 a.m.  Melvin Price Lock and Dam, Alton
  11:00 a.m.  S.I.U. National Corn to Ethanol Research Center, Edwardsville
    3:00 p.m.  Tim Seifert Farm, Auburn

Tuesday, Oct. 10

  8:30 a.m.  Grain Systems Inc., Assumption
  1:00 p.m.  Sloan Implement Co., Assumption
Wednesday, Oct. 11

  8:00 a.m.  University of Illinois Beef Research Farm, Champaign
  1:30 p.m.  Advance Trading, Bloomington

Thursday, Oct. 12

  9:30 a.m.  Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago
11:00 a.m.  Seedburo Equipment Co., Chicago


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