Soybean checkoff represents Hoosier farmers during a trip to Brazil, Mexico  - Indiana Corn and Soy

Soybean checkoff represents Hoosier farmers during a trip to Brazil, Mexico 

Posted: May 18, 2024
Category: ICMC, Indiana Corn and Soybean Post - May 2024, ISA, News

Indiana’s soybean and corn farmers were among the many producers represented during an April trade mission to Brazil and Mexico organized by Gov. Eric Holcomb and his staff. Courtney Kingery, CEO of the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC), the state’s two row-crop checkoff programs, was invited to speak for Hoosier farmers. 

“The world needs Indiana agriculture. Indiana has a role to play in feeding and fueling the world,” she reported. 

In Mexico City, the Indiana delegation hosted a roundtable
with the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council, Probocca and
Maple Leaf Farms, which has duck operations in Kosciusko
County. Courtney Kingery, CEO, Indiana Corn Marketing
Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance, talked about the
massive circular agricultural market between Mexico and
Indiana, which is fueled by robust producers and exporters.
far faster than traditional testing that takes weeks. (Photo
courtesy Lei Zhang)

The economic development trade mission also included First Lady Janet Holcomb; Alex Cochran, Chief Technology Officer, DPH Biologicals; Mitch Frazier, CEO, AgriNovus Indiana; Don Lamb, Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA); Jerry Shively, Associate Dean for International Programs, College of Agriculture at Purdue University; Leonardo Chapula, Human Sector Marketing Specialist, Americas, U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC); Doug Newcom, vice president of genetics and technology at the National Swine Registry; and Paul Siems, export sales manager at Weaver Popcorn. 

Kingery immediately followed this trade mission with a similar trip with the USDA’s Foreign Ag Service (FAS) to India. Despite all of the miles across different oceans and continents, she said there were some unifying themes from the people she met. 

“My major takeaway from this trip is that the world needs Indiana agriculture,” Kingery told Hoosier Ag Today in a post-trip interview. “They need Indiana corn and soybeans. They need the pork and poultry products that come from Indiana. They need our ethanol and our biofuels. I heard that loud and clear.” 

This trip marked Holcomb’s 22nd international economic development trip as governor and his first official visits to Brazil and Mexico. 

Brazil and Mexico, like Indiana, both share robust agbiosciences and agricultural industries, advancing global services, products and solutions across agriculture, food production and animal health. Indiana trade between Brazil and Mexico topped $1.7 billion and $13.4 billion in 2023, respectively, and the state is already home to 14 Brazil-based and 13 Mexico-based businesses. 

Indiana trade between Brazil and Mexico topped $1.7 billion
and $13.4 billion in 2023, respectively, and the state is already
home to 14 Brazil-based and 13 Mexico-based business
establishments.

The Governor’s trip was an opportunity for some of Indiana’s leading agtech thinkers and innovators to share expertise and highlight Indiana’s $58 billion-dollar farm economy in two key markets. The trip to Mexico also touted new opportunities in emerging industries such as microelectronics and e-mobility. 

Kingery said the ever-present goal is to “move the pile” for Indiana corn and soybean farmers. Indiana’s corn economy generates more than $4 billion in economic output and employs nearly 18,000 people. 

“The message to Indiana farmers is that checkoff is working for you,” she explained. “These trade missions happened in April while Indiana farmers were busy in their fields. But while they were busy planting, the checkoff organizations were continuing to work on their behalf expanding these markets.” 

While in Mexico City, the Indiana delegation hosted a roundtable with the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), Probocca and Maple Leaf Farms, which has operations in Kosciusko County. Kingery talked about the massive circular agricultural market between Mexico and Indiana, which is fueled by robust producers and exporters. 

“We had over 20 meetings with customers while they were there,” she said. “It’s really all of us coming together from Indiana and how well we’re able to work together and respect each other. The customers see that. The people in country see that, and they appreciate that. They see Indiana a place that they want to do business with. They want to do business with people who are professional, who represent the farmers and are able to bring a basket of opportunities to the table.” 

Some of the highlights from this trade mission include: 

  • Holcomb met with U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley to discuss expanded market access for Indiana biofuels in Brazil. 
  • Weaver Popcorn’s Paul Siems joined the delegation in Mexico City to represent the private corn industry in Indiana. Mexico is the No. 1 importer of U.S. corn in the world. 
  • Leonardo Chapula, who works with USSEC, shared his expertise on the soy economy and how Indiana is fueling growth and demand for soy products in Mexico. U.S. soybeans have the largest market share in Mexico, providing more than 88 percent of total imports. 
  • Holcomb met with U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar, who hosted a reception for the Indiana delegation at his residence and shared in formal remarks his appreciation for the synergies he sees between the economies of Indiana and Mexico. 
  • ISDA Director Lamb joined the delegation in Brazil and shared his vision and firsthand knowledge of the farming sector in Indiana with business leaders, diplomatic representatives, entrepreneurs and more. 

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