A group of Latin American grain buyers toured a South Dakota farm on Monday.
They were hoping to watch the harvest. Wet weather washed away at least some of those plans, but not hopes for a healthy new business relationship.
"It's some of our newest technology. It's our drought corn," Bridgewater farmer Mark Gross said.
No problem with drought today, but this delegation from Latin America wants to know how Gross keeps his corn fields weed free.
"So right when the corn gets knee high to waist tall, right before you can't drive through it any more, we spray it again so any weeds that do come through get killed at that time," Gross said.
This trade team is following American grain, corn and soybeans, from the farm to the elevator and finally down to the export terminals in New Orleans.
"Today we have a delegation from Latin America, of corn buyers, representing the feed industry in five different countries. We have people from Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Panama," Kurt Schultz from the U.S. Grain Council said.
The group has an interpreter allowing them to ask questions about everything from how much the equipment costs to operation costs and how much is produced.
Rafael Colmenarez runs an animal feed plant in central Venezuela. He's here to buy American corn to feed chickens, cattle and horses.
"The objective of my visit here is to get to know the local producers that grow corn and soybeans because in Venezuela, we use a lot of imported raw materials, especially from the United States," Colmenarez said.
Colmenarez says his country is producing less corn each year, in part, because of a shortage of good farm equipment.
"You can find machines from China, from Europe, but not from the U.S. For example, John Deere, which for me, is the best brand, you know?" Colmenarez said.
Gross is hoping South Dakota corn will also become another "best brand" in Latin America.
"I hope they take away the quality of the corn we raise here in South Dakota and how efficient we are in our management practices. Our fields are clean and we have a quality product and we take care of it," Gross said.
The trade team is also going to visit an American ethanol plant.