Tariffs and trade wars have many in southeast Minnesota Agriculture concerned, but one area farmer is reaching out to foreign counterparts. Darin Johnson farms near the town of Wells and hosted a trade team from Thailand Tuesday afternoon as a way of developing positive international relationships.
The team stopped by Johnson’s farm to learn about U.S. soybeans. They got a chance to gain knowledge about storage and the equipment used in soybean production as well as the current status of this year’s growing season. Johnson says it’s important to keep good relationships no matter what’s going on with trade and tariffs and that getting through tough times is something the Minnesota farmer has always been good at doing.
"Right now we are in a challenging time you know, but ag is in our heart," he explains, "So, this is where we come from, most of us are second, third, fourth generation farmers. So, we’ve dealt with adversity in the past and we’ll deal with it in the future and we’ll figure out how to get out of this."
For some members of the trade team, visiting Johnson’s farm was an eye-opening experience.
"Visiting Mr. Johnson’s farm has been pretty, pretty, pretty important for us," says Tiantun Sirichayaborn, "We can see how he operates so many acres with only a few people. I would like to take that knowledge back to Thailand with me."
Others felt their time on Johnson’s farm was positive in other ways.
"This is my first time to be in Minnesota," says Boonyada Tangaromsuk, "And to see how soybeans are planted and grown is exciting for me."
The visit was organized by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion council. Hosting trade teams has traditionally been a way for farmers to develop relationships with customers from overseas.