Trade Mission to Asia
by Doug Leman, IDP Executive Director
Because of my position as Executive Director of Indiana Dairy Producers, I was honored and privileged to be invited to take part in the Lt. Governor’s 2014 Indiana Agriculture Trade Mission to Asia to represent the Indiana dairy industry. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan were the countries on our agenda. To put the countries in perspective, I would like to compare each to Indiana. Japan is roughly 4 times the size of IN with 20 times the population, South Korea is comparable in size to IN with a little under 5 times the population, and Taiwan is about a third of the size of IN with almost 3.5 times as many people, seems quite amazing to me. This fact alone lends to their dependency and continuing need to import food, currently each ranking in the top seven for Ag exports from the US. We traveled with Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, her husband and some staff along with several from ISDA along with the Director, Ted McKinney. Ag was very well represented by the remainder of the group. We got to know each other very well over the two week period that we were together!
One of the highlights of the trip for me was a dairy farm visit. We only toured one farm during our trade mission, and it happened to be a dairy farm in Japan! We were given a tour by the owner of the farm along with a translator. They milk 2500 cows in twin double 25 parallel parlors, housed in compost barns with drive thru feed allies. He imports all the feed except for a small amount of corn silage, pineapple waste, and what appeared to be some wet brewers, all fed in a TMR. He buys all his replacements as springers from the US. With the value of beef, he breeds everything back to Wagyu – utilizing motion detection and visual observation for heat detection, feeding the resulting F1 crossbreds out on another farm. According to my translating of the figures, his production is around 17,600 pounds with 115,000 SCC, currently getting around $45 per cwt! It appeared to be a very well-run farm and he is hoping to visit us in Indiana in the not too distant future.