MARSHALL - George Goblish of Vests had the opportunity to talk about his farming operation during a visit to Vietnam earlier this year and said those in attendance were astonished when he talked about how many acres his family worked.
Goblish was part of a Minnesota soybean trade mission to Vietnam and Taiwan earlier this month, working on building relationships with buyers in the region.
Goblish said the agriculture industry in Vietnam is very different from what Minnesota producers are accustom to.
"Farmers there only raise one acre and it's government-owned," said Goblish. "They can rent or lease it for 30 or 50 years. They have to pay every year, but they get the crop off it and can do what they want with it."
Goblish said people were surprised by the size his operation.
"We had a function where we talked about our operations, and I got up and told them I farm about 2,800 acres," said Goblish. "They couldn't believe you could farm something like that.
"They asked how many people help on the operation, and I told them my father helps, I have a hired truck driver and my two boys help that are in school," added Goblish. "They couldn't believe that many people could handle that much ground."
Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Gene Hugoson said the region is quickly developing and this tour was an opportunity to build relationships that will last for years to come.
"This is an economy where there is a lot of room for growth, it's kind of like where China was 15 years ago," said Hugoson. "To have those contacts on the ground floor as their economy expands is not only good for us now but also in the future as well."
Hugoson said Minnesota-produced soybeans have a good reputation for quality and consistent production in the Asian cultures.
"(Minnesota-produced soybeans) cost more but they also know it's higher quality," said Hugoson. "For the most part they seem to be willing to pay that higher price for the quality, and not only the quality but the consistency."
Hugoson said producers in the U.S. will often deal with a handful of traders in the region who distribute the products once they reach the region.
"The people that are looking to buy this product are, in fact, traders in their own country," said Hugoson. "They are accepting a shipment of soybeans and they turn around and sell it to other people, small feed mills or someone looking to buy a small quantity."
Goblish said he was impressed with the food in the region.
"The food was great, there were things I had never had before," said Goblish. "It's not an egg roll, but it's like that, everything was in a rice paper."
And, Goblish said, much of the food produced in the region is served fresh.
"They don't harvest anything ahead of time," said Goblish. "In that climate nothing keeps, so everything is served fresh."