A few days ago, in an interview with the analyst Ken Shwedel about the fact that Mexico has failed to diversify its grain imports, he told me that there are good relations with the top-ranked ag leaders in the United States, but not between the bases. Shwedel questioned whether the farmer in Iowa or Nebraska, harvesting corn or soybeans and selling them to an elevator, knows where those grains go.

I don’t think so. Maybe, farmers do not imagine that it is very likely that a Mexican chicken will eat the grain they harvest in their fields. Looking at this from the other way, the one who mixes feed in a feed mill in Mexico, or who takes care of the chickens on a farm, also has no idea how far away that grain was grown. The two ends do not know each other. They are not aware of the importance of both.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s I worked for the American Soybean Association for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In those early years, perhaps I did not realize the importance of our marketing efforts. One of the many activities we used to carry out was to bring feed producers, poultry producers and swine producers from the region to in order to get to know farms, elevators or production plants in the the United States. In those occasions, the encounter between the two ends took place and I am sure that it helped to understand commercial relationships.

If there are good relationships at the top level, perhaps it would not be a bad idea for poultry producers or feed producers to organize one or more delegations to tour the Midwest – the Heartland – to see and be seen. Relationships could be beneficial in these times of free-trade agreement renegotiations. What do you think?

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