SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Grain buyers from around the world are touring Illinois farms this week.
The tour started Monday, with a visit to a corn and soybean farm in central Illinois, and is scheduled to end Friday with a visit to the Chicago Board of Trade. About 20 international buyers in the delegation are from China, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. They have been accompanied by members of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
Jim Mackey, an international market representative for the department, said the buyers are particularly concerned about drought damage.
"They are listening, and also possibly thinking, if the crop is down, does that mean the price is up?" Mackey told The State Journal-Register in Springfield (http://bit.ly/P7Mq7M). "And is there anything they could do that would work better financially."
Illinois agriculture officials said the drought forced the department to move up this year's trade delegation visit because the harvest started early.
"Normally, it's at the beginning of October," said Jennifer Tirey, bureau chief for marketing and promotions with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. "With the way things are going, we knew there wouldn't be anything to see in October."
The state agriculture department is billing the tour as a "reverse trade mission," saying the delegation will see Illinois grain production, handling and storage techniques. They also will visit a Mattoon grain, oilseed and food ingredient supplier and an ethanol plant in Hennepin.
Illinois is the country's second largest producer of corn and soybeans. In 2010, the two crops brought in $11.8 billion, including $4.8 billion in export sales.
Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com
Copyright 2012 The AP.