Illinois is not “America's Dairyland,” but there is some business to milk from the state's agriculture industry.
The state is hosting about fifteen foreign buyers on a “reverse trade mission” similar to the one just completed for corn and soybeans. “For years, we've been exporting a lot of young dairy heifers to Mexico; we've got a group here looking for that,” says Bobby Dowson, international marketing representative for the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
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“We've got two from Nepal. Their country is looking to be more self-sufficient in dairy production. They don't eat meat, but they drink a lot of milk and eat a lot of cheese. They are looking to import some semen and embryos; sexed semen, especially.”
The tour – which carries a $650 price tag for the visitors, who also pay their own airfare here – began on Southern Illinois farms, continues to the University of Illinois' dairy research center in Urbana, and continues to a manufacturer in Naperville and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange before ending at the Midwest Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisc.