December 12, 2016

Throwback Thursday from the Intern's Desk

Colombian Trade Team accompanied by NCB intern Morgan Schilling,
NCB member David Bruntz, and Nebraska Pork Producer Terry O'Neel.

As I sit in the office on this cold December day, I reminisce the warmer days of my internship. It seems like just yesterday I was pumping gas at an E85 promotion or having a blast at American Ethanol night at the races. Although those enjoyable summer events, and weather, are long gone, I am glad I still have all of those great times engraved into my memory. One of the best experiences from last summer that I will never forget was spending time with one of the U.S. Grains Council trade teams that visited from Colombia.

From July 17th through July 23rd, a U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade team, which was made up of large and medium sized pork producers from Colombia, spent a week in Nebraska. The team took this time learning more about meat processing technology as well as implementing dried distillers grains (DDGS) into their feeding diet. The USGC continues to push DDGS into Colombia and as pork producers generally use DDGS in their diets, this learning experience was quite relevant for these Colombian producers.

The team arrived in Nebraska on Sunday and didn't waste any time on their quest to learn more about the swine industry in the United States.

On Monday, they spent the day at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) campus. In the morning, they heard from Benny Mote, a swine extension specialist from the University. Benny focused on DDGS inclusion into swine diets, recent technology on swine genetics and he also covered the use of antibiotics in the swine industry. In the afternoon, the trade team stayed on UNL's campus and heard from Dennis Burson on meat processing. Dennis focused on presenting material about U.S. pork cuts, processed meat products, U.S. retail products and packaging and also food safety and the HACCP program.

On Tuesday, the team started the day at the Nebraska Farm Bureau building in Lincoln and heard from the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, the Nebraska Farm Bureau, and some local pork producers from Nebraska. These organizations and producers gave a broad overview on each of their impacts on the industry and allowed time for the trade team to ask any questions that they had. The team really enjoyed having a panel of local producers there, it gave them the chance to ask questions and really grasp the differences and similarities between pork production in the United States and Colombia. In the afternoon, the team traveled to a hog facility owned by Terry O'Neel which was just southwest of Friend, NE. After touring the hog facility, the team traveled just a few miles down the road and visited Nebraska Corn Board member, David Bruntz's farm. Once again, the team had the chance to ask many questions at both locations to compare U.S. farming/producing to their own.

The team started Wednesday at the Green Plains Ethanol office in Omaha where they ate lunch and were given a presentation about the Green Plains business. After the presentation, they traveled to a Green Plains ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa. While there, they took a tour of the plant and experienced how an ethanol plant works and where the DDGS come from.

The team spent the majority of Thursday and Friday at the American Convention of Meat Processors and Supplier's Exhibition at the Century Link Center in Omaha. On Friday afternoon, they took a meat processing tour in Omaha with the Greater Omaha Packing Co. The team then departed for Colombia on Saturday.

As a Nebraska Corn Board intern, I was happy to help coordinate this trip with the U.S. Grains Council. All of the Colombian pork producers who attended gained a lot of information about the U.S. pork industry as well as how DDGS could possibly benefit their operation. It was great to visit with them and ask about Colombia's agriculture industry as a whole. Trips like this are a great opportunity to strengthen the United States' trade relationships with countries overseas, which can in turn have a large impact on our local farming economy.

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