Soy has a long journey: starting as a seed on a U.S. farm and ending as a bean or soybean meal when it arrives at its end user. International buyers will get to see some of that journey when Northern Soy Marketing (NSM) hosts its Midwest Crop Tour Sept. 11-15. Eight soy buyers from Indonesia and four from Thailand will join the tour, which will start in Fargo, N.D., and end in the Seattle area.

The team of international buyers includes professionals employed in their company’s procurement, purchasing, market research, supply chain and other divisions. The crop tour will give participants a chance to see facilities and farms, as well as develop relationships with those who grow, process and export the crop. The companies represented on the tour include some of the largest purchasers of soybeans in Southeast Asia: Charoen Pokphand, Japfa, Thai Vegetable Oil and more.

“It’s important we create relationships with the people using our soy,” NSM Chair Patrick O’Leary says. “We can both learn from each other and develop trust and they’ll know we’re growing the best product for them and will consider purchasing our product from PNW (Pacific Northwest) ports.”

The team will visit farms in North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota; crush facility representatives; a grain terminal and two PNW soy export facilities. The trip will also include dinners with board members and staff of two founding NSM members: the North Dakota Soybean Council and South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council. Other NSM members include the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, Nebraska Soybean Board and Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board.

NSM will visit some of the trade team members and their companies this winter when they embark on their trade missions to Southeast Asia.

“Having a crop tour in the fall allows us to keep in contact with our customers throughout the year,” O’Leary says. “We can visit them in their home country and see them again later in the year so they can see the quality soy grown in the Upper Midwest.”