SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois Grain Tour returns for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) will host 40 international buyers from seven different Latin America countries in an effort to increase export sales for the Illinois grain industry beginning Tuesday.

Despite the lack of in-person tours in 2020 and 2021, over $20 million in projected sales were recorded from the virtual tours.

“The Illinois Grain Tour gives Illinois farmers, producers, and retailers the opportunity to showcase their world-class facilities to foreign investors,” said IDOA Director Jerry Costello. “We lead the nation in soybean production and nearly half of the soybeans and corn produced in Illinois are exported, resulting in billions of dollars in direct sales annually.”

Tour participants will meet with representatives from the IDOA. The tour will make stops at RTS Farm in Auburn, GSI in Assumption, Clarkson Grain in Cerro Gordo, ADM in Decatur, Marquis Energy in Hennepin, Seedburo Equipment Co. in Des Plaines, Delong Co. in Joliet and Illinois Soybean Association and MANNS Traders in Chicago.

All participants of the Illinois Grain Tour are required to pay their own airfare and a participation fee prior to joining the tour.