Trade mission aims to open markets for Minnesota livestock feed in Asia

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Minnesota hopes to plant the seeds of future agricultural exports during a trade mission to Southeast Asia this week.

Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson will lead an eight-member delegation that will promote the state's livestock feed during its week-long trip to Vietnam and Thailand, the Associated Press reports. Representatives of feed and feed ingredient companies are also part of the mission, the AP says.

In announcing the visit earlier this month, the ag department cited the success of two similar trade missions to Asia. Their numbers show trips to Vietnam in 2011 and to the Philippines and Indonesia last year both led to millions of dollars in additional exports to those countries.

Speaking of agricultural exports, state officials also announced recently that 2012 was a record year. Last year's $8.2 billion of farm exports were led by soybeans, which made up $2.2 billion of the total. China was Minnesota's leading customer. Beans far outpaced corn, which was the runner up with $941 million in sales.

Minnesota's push to boost exports is not confined to farm commodities. The state has recently announced plans for new trade offices in Germany, Brazil, and South Korea that will promote products ranging from taconite to medical devices.

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