CAMDEN — In partnership with the U.S Grains Council, Preble County hosted a six-person trade team from South Korea on Monday, Oct. 26 at the Vonderhaar farm in Israel Township.
The visit was to help build business relationships between the two countries’ agricultural industries and to develop a further understanding of the corn growing process in Ohio and in the United States.
According to Stacie Segar, communications manager with the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, the group which visited the United States consisted of four procurement managers from South Korea and a representative from the Korea Corn Processing Association.
Segar explained, the main goal of the tour was to allow a deeper and better understanding of the United States’ corn and grain exports in attempt to further open trade markets between the U.S. and South Korea.
The group visited New Orleans, Indianapolis, Chicago and southwest Ohio, stopping at Brubaker Grain in Hamilton, Consolidated Grain in Cincinnati and the Vonderhaar farm in Preble County as they explored the U.S. grain and corn process from beginning to end.
The group toured nearly the entire process of the corn industry while in the United States, but it was Preble County which showed the group the beginning of the process according to Segar. “Preble County provided them with the opportunity to really get on a farm and see where the whole process starts.”
While at the 3,000-acre Vonderhaar farm, members of the tour group were able to ride in equipment and see firsthand how corn is grown in the United States.
While on the visit, according to Segar, the trade team had the opportunity to see the entire process of how corn is taken from the fields and across international waters.
Segar explained why developing trade partners is an important part of agriculture in Ohio. “We have always been committed to exports in Ohio and interested in building those relationships,” she said. “We try on a frequent basis to have the U.S Grains Council bring in a group, and this is a great example of the relationship building that can happen.”
“We are very proud of the grains, especially corn we raise in Ohio,” Segar said. “Agriculture is such a large part of Ohio; it is the number one industry in Ohio. We really wanted to get the Korean trade team here to build relationships with them and to show them this corn starts and grows here but we export all over the world.”
Rachel Vonderhaar, Ohio Small Grains Council member and host of the visit in Ohio said, “It was a really good opportunity for them to trace the grain supply from beginning to export in the United States. They really got to experience the full the export process by visiting all those places.”
Vonderhaar said it was a unique experience for her own farm. “I could not believe how young they were first of all, but I think what they found most fascinating was the technology we use when farming but also how we put drain tiles in and how to do that. That was something that they didn’t have a lot of experience in, so they go to see how we did that.”
Vonderhaar believes the visit was a success and will help lead to future positive relationships.
“It creates trust on both sides, to know who we are working with and getting to know and understand each other better,” she said. “We want to raise a product that is desired and they want to know where the product is coming from. “
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.