Agri-business officials from Nebraska and several other Midwestern states spent much of last week in the nation of Turkey, talking trade.
One of the delegation’s leaders was Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey who says the Midwest doesn’t just grow crops, as there are several companies here that help harvest the crops and get them to market.
“We have world-class producers of all those things that help farmers, and help process their crop. When we go to other places, often we see a lack of that,” Northey says. “Our folks have very good standing and are held in high regard by folks in other countries.”
Nebraskans on the Turkey trip included officials from the Kelly Bean Company, based in Morrill, and members of the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission.
Northey says the visit was unexpectedly eye-opening.
“I didn’t realize how significant Turkey was as they compare themselves to the European Union and the other countries that have a lot of agriculture — Germany and France and the U.K., other places,” Northey says. “Turkish agriculture is actually bigger than any one of those. It’s the seventh largest agriculture in the world.”
Northey says Turkey has an interest in doing business with America and the Midwest, in particular.
He says the Turks aren’t as interested in the export of many grains as they have restrictions on genetically-modified corn and soybeans. “But the machinery side, the grain storage side, they are looking to grow,” Northey says, as the country brings more land into production.
While corn and soybeans may be off the list, dry beans will likely be on the table, though as yet, no major deals have been announced.
Representatives from Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and Pennsylvania took part in the trip, as well as officials from 20 American companies.