SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois’ export-dependent grain industry will have an opportunity next week to demonstrate its vast production and distribution capabilities to 32 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. 12. Participants will see firsthand Illinois’ state-of-the-art grain production, handling and storage techniques and learn about trade opportunities with the state’s producers and suppliers.
“Illinois is a sought-after trading partner because of its ability to deliver high-quality grain anywhere in the world,” Agriculture Director Tom Jennings said. “The Grain Tour will show potential customers the advanced crop production methods that make it possible for us to grow a surplus of grain, our modern handling and processing equipment, our vast storage infrastructure, which is second to none, and the transportation systems that allow us to ship grain and ethanol by-products around the globe.”
Illinois is the second largest producer of corn and soybeans in the United States. In 2008, it harvested 2.1 billion bushels of corn and 428 million bushels of soybeans. Cash receipts from the two crops totaled $13 billion, including $5.7 billion in export sales.
The foreign buyers are coming to Illinois from China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Mexico and Peru. During their stay, they will visit the Melvin Price Lock and Dam in Alton, an Auburn corn farm, a Springfield grain inspection service and the Chicago Board of Trade.
The itinerary for the 2009 Illinois Grain Tour follows:
Sunday, Oct. 11
Arrive in St. Louis at Lambert International Airport
Monday, Oct. 12
8:45 a.m. Melvin Price Lock and Dam, Alton
1:00 p.m. Tim Seifert Farm, Auburn
Tuesday, Oct. 13
9:30 a.m. GSI, Assumption
2:00 p.m. Springfield Grain Inspection, Springfield
Wednesday, Oct. 14
9:30 a.m. Marquis Ethanol, Hennepin
1:30 p.m. Jim Rapp Farm, Princeton
Thursday, Oct. 15
9:30 a.m. Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago