Even in this economy, and with this drought, Illinois agriculture is big business. “Our exports are a substantial factor in the prices our farmers get for their grain …in any given year maybe 25 percent of the soybean crop is exported, maybe a little less than that of the corn crop,” says Jim Mackey, an international marketing representative for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. He is leading a weeklong tour around the state for 23 members of the international grain-buying community.
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“The crop condition is pretty much better than I expected,” says Korean buyer Mac Lee. “USDA reported last month the corn yield per acre is below 126 (bushels per acre), but this area, I would say it is better than that; (perhaps) 130.” Lee is in the market for 4 million tons of stock for feed.
The tour began at a farm in Auburn and ends at the Chicago Board of Trade.