Following a Single Bean

LINCOLN, Neb. (April 15, 2015) – With half of Nebraska’s soybean crop exported annually, international markets are vital to Nebraska farmers and the state’s economic infrastructure. The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) recently hosted 24 farmers on a See for Yourself mission to the Pacific Northwest to observe how their soybean checkoff dollars are being invested in international market development.


Participants on the tour were able to see the variety of areas in which the checkoff is involved, ranging from transportation and soy exports to biodiesel production and research facilities for the future of aquaculture. Stops on the tour included the Port of Grays Harbor, Ag Processing, Inc. (AGP), Imperium Renewables, Tacoma Export Marketing Company (TEMCO) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


The Port of Grays Harbor, Washington, is the primary port of export for Nebraska-grown soybeans sold to buyers in China and Southeast Asia. With more than 50 percent of Nebraska’s soybean crop being exported overseas and generating over $1 billion for the state, it is vital for Nebraska producers to gain a better understanding of the many links in the international marketing chain. Furthermore, producers can now see their checkoff dollars at work, ensuring increases in productivity, profitability and demand.


The trip started with a visit to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to learn about aquaculture research and how soybeans are being used to enhance fish diets.  The farmers were able to tour the research hatcheries where NOAA conducts fish feeding studies using soybeans.


That afternoon, the trip continued south of Seattle to the Port of Tacoma to tour TEMCO. In 2012, TEMCO became a joint venture between CHS and Cargill. Along with that, TEMCO is the fastest loading/discharge yard in the country and contains 100 miles of rail. At TEMCO, the group was able to see railcars being unloaded and then their cargo being loaded into a ship bound for international export to the Pacific Rim.


On the second day, participants toured the Port of Grays Harbor, which is home to AGP and Imperium Renewables. Grays Harbor is the leading export site for American-grown soybean meal. Other products shipped from Grays Harbor include: timber, biodiesel, automobiles, liquids and bulk products.


Daryl Obermeyer, a NSB district director and soybean farmer, said it was a great trip. “It was a pleasure to be a part of the See for Yourself trip to the Seattle area. Most of the participants were alumni of the Nebraska LEAD program and had a great deal of interest in the information that was presented. Whether witnessing the efficient loading of soybeans onto ships for export to Asia, or discussing the use of soybean meal in marine feed at NOAA, the trip was packed with good information for Nebraska soybean farmers.”


Interested in seeing these locations for yourself or learning more about your checkoff dollars? Join us next year for our See for Yourself international marketing mission. For more information on the program, please contact the NSB office at 402-441-3240 or visit