Value-added agricultural products may not enjoy the same export success as raw commodities, but efforts are well underway to change that balance.
AURI project development director Denny Timmerman recently returned from Governor Mark Dayton’s trade mission to South Korea. The delegation also included representatives of the state’s commodity groups and farm organizations. The purpose of the trade mission was to build relationships and expand export markets for Minnesota’s agricultural goods. Timmerman, whose trip was co-funded by Minnesota Farmers Union and the Soybean Growers Association, said “it was a really interesting trip.”
The delegation met with representatives from several major corporations. These meetings allowed the delegation to learn how the corporations operate and what their export needs are. They also gauged interest in low oligosaccharide soybeans and Berkshire pork. Timmerman says “I think it’s really promising for Minnesota, we have the materials they’re looking for.”
South Korea is already one of the nation’s top export markets. Timmerman says it made sense to explore new markets for biobased materials and co-products from agricultural processing. “While Minnesota-grown raw commodities are exported around the world, it has been more of a challenge to get value-added or finished ag-based products into international markets.”