Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 19, 2014

Customers visit Keota

By Xiomara Levsen | Sep 16, 2013
John Heisdorffer looks on as the Chinese visitors talk about the corn production in Iowa. Heisdorffer had 19 Chinese visitors tour his farm on Sunday, Sept. 15.

KEOTA—John Heisdorffer, Iowa Soybean Association director for District 9, had 19 Chinese visitors touring his farm on Sunday, Sept. 15.
The Chinese visitors came to the United States as part of a soybean trade mission. They arrived in the United States on Sept. 9. Sunday was their first day in Iowa.
Heisdorffer said it is important to the Chinese businessmen to see where their imports are coming from.
“They like to see the crops in the fields and get to find out the availability for next year,” Heisdorffer said.
Another concern is what the pricing for the crops will be, Heisdorffer said. This was one of the first questions he had from the Chinese visitors.
“What do you think the market price will be for this year?” asked U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) county director Xiaoping Zhang, who also acted as translator for the visit. “Will it be the same or different than last year?”
“There will be a difference,” Heisdorffer said. “Last year we had 5 inches of rain in August and this year we’re very dry.”
Zhang asked Heisdorffer if the revenue for this year’s soybean crop would be as good as last year’s. Heisdorffer said the revenue would be lower because of the drought situation.
Zhang asked if there was an estimate on the price per bushel for the soybean crop for this year.
Lindsay Greiner, farm and food ambassador for the Iowa Soybean Association, estimated the average price per bushel to be around $7.50 an acre.
“You can take $100 off per acre from last year easily,” Greiner said.  
Heisdorffer showed the group the corn and soybeans he had picked earlier that morning. His corn kernels were so dry that the corn was beginning to fall off from the ear and could be broken apart easily, which he demonstrated to the group. The soybean leaves were yellow and the pods were averaging to be a three-pod crop, Heisdorffer said.
Greiner and Heisdorffer didn’t just speak about their crops. Several of the Chinese visitors noticed Heisdorffer had hog barns out back. Zhang asked how many hogs Heisdorffer had on his farm.
“We have 450–600 here,” Heisdorffer said. “Lindsay probably has about 5,000 on his farm.”
Zhang explained in China there is a high demand for pork. He said the price keeps getting higher as the demand increases and more pork was being imported into China from the United States because China’s pork producers couldn’t keep up. He asked what the marketing size for the hogs were on Heisdorffer’s farm.
“It keeps going up,” Heisdorffer said. “They’re averaging out to be 285 – 300 pounds.”
Heisdorffer explained to Zhang that he doesn’t own the hogs. He gets them from a company in Illinois, which rents the hogs to him. He owns his own barns and pays for the feed, but the vaccinations are all done before they get to his farm.
“In China it’s common for the hog farmer to take care of everything, including the vaccination,” Zhang said. “Some have a farm that the pigs come right from the sow.”
He asked if Heisdorffer knew of any hog farmers that receive the piglets right from the sows. He also said this wasn’t as common in Iowa as it used to be.
After looking at the soybean field and hog barns, the Chinese visitors went to lunch in Washington. Then they headed back to Davenport, where they will be speaking at Soy Trade Exchange and Grains Export Shipping Conference from Monday, Sept. 16 through Tuesday, Sept. 17. They will leave for China on Sept. 19.
This was the third time Heisdorffer had hosted Chinese visitors on his farm.

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