Illinois attracts international tourists. They are easy to spot along Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Downstate farm fields, not so much – except for this week.  Thirty-three buyers from around the world have descended upon Illinois for a “reverse trade mission,” bringing the buyers to the product. They saw corn and soybean crops and enjoyed a barbecue lunch near Auburn Monday.  “Sometimes, seeing is believing,” says Jim Mackey, a trade representative for the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
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“They can go on the Internet, just like everybody else. But if you maybe come from a different culture, where maybe the government has different motivations, maybe you don’t know what you can trust and what you can’t trust.”  “Here in Illinois, you use a lot of technology,” marvels Mexican grain buyer Ismael Garcia. “In Mexico, we don't have that technology, (and) the cost of production is high.”  Farms, processors, and the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange are on the itinerary for the annual tour.
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