Thursday, October 01, 2009
sponsored by Graue Inc.

Taiwan is Illinois farmers' best customer

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[October 01, 2009]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Department of Agriculture is hosting members of a Taiwanese trade delegation in Springfield as part of a good will mission designed to further a long-standing trade relationship.

HardwareDuring a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library on Wednesday, the 17-member delegation signed letters of intent with the Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Soybean Association, expressing a desire to purchase Illinois grain in 2010 and 2011.

"Illinois agriculture is an export-dependent industry," said Tom Jennings, state agriculture director. "We ship 40 percent of our grain out of the country and are grateful to the Taiwan Feed Industry Association and the Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers not only for their business, but also for their long-standing friendship."

In 2008, Taiwan was the top customer of agricultural products from Illinois with purchases of more than $955 million. Taiwan also ranked as the seventh-largest export market for U.S. agricultural products overall and the fourth-largest market for U.S. corn and soybeans.

"The sale of Illinois corn and corn products to the Taiwanese is great news for Illinois growers as we prepare to harvest another large corn crop," said Jim Rapp, chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. "Taiwan continues to be a valued customer, while Illinois growers remain reliable producers of corn."

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"We thank Taiwan for their continued support of our industry and look forward to building our relationship with them," added Ron Moore, Illinois Soybean Association chairman. "We realize that in the United States almost every other row of soybeans harvested is exported to countries like Taiwan, and this in return creates a stronger market for Illinois farmers' soybeans."

The Taiwan Feed Industry Group intends to purchase 7.7 million to 10.5 million metric tons (303 million to 413 million bushels) of U.S. corn and 0.5 million to 0.75 million metric tons of corn byproducts. The Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers' Association will buy between 3 million and 3.2 million metric tons (110 million and 118 million bushels) of U.S. soybeans. Combined, the two sales total an estimated $3.5 billion.

The agricultural mission from Taiwan is in central Illinois on a three-day visit. Members also are scheduled to meet with legislators and farm organizations during their trip to cultivate future opportunities for trade.

[Text from Illinois Department of Agriculture file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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