(Le Mars) — A group of agricultural officials representing various commodity and farm organizations from Iowa, including Plymouth County pork producer Bill Tentinger of Le Mars, recently returned home from a trade mission trip to Columbia and Panama. Leading the delegation of 20 officials
were Iowa Lt. Governor Adam Gregg and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig. Naig says the purpose of the trade tour was to promote Iowa meat products.
Naig says Columbia doesn’t usually come to mind when discussing trade partners. However, he says Columbia is an important market for Iowa farmers.
The Iowa Agriculture Secretary says what has helped with the development of trade with the two Latin American nations is we have free trade agreements established with both Columbia and Panama.
Competition from other Central and South American nations such as Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil may cause you to believe the US meat market into Columbia would be stifled. However, Naig says he learned the Columbian consumer prefers the better quality of U-S pork and beef products. We also
tend to have an edge over our competitors because of logistics.
Naig addresses critics who may wonder if such trade tours are indeed beneficial? He says establishing relationships between Iowa farmers and foreign buyers is essential to broadening the Iowa and U-S agricultural trade.
Le Mars pork producer Bill Tentinger was one of the Iowa farmers that participated on the Columbian-Panamanian trade mission tour. We will hear Tentinger’s perspective of the trade tour in the coming days.