International importers visit central Illinois farms


RTS Farms in Auburn sends their corn and soybeans across the world.

On Tuesday, they got the chance to show off their farm to some of those buyers.

Almost 50 prospective buyers from Mexico, El Salvador and Vietnam toured Illinois farms. 

“It’s a complete picture. They want to see it all,” Tim Seifert of RTS Farms said. “They want to see what it looks like when it leaves our hands, and what it looks like when they get it, and how we can improve on it a little bit.”

The Tour lets international buyers come to farms like RTS Farms here in Auburn Illinois, and see first hand where their products are grown. It also lets farmers and the Illinois Department of Agriculture meet the people who are helping drive one of Illinois’ biggest industries.

“It is very interesting and important to know how the farmers work,” Isral Hernandez, a representative of a fabric manufacturer in Mexico, said. “We can see here the quality. “

Seifert showed the group all of the new technology his farm uses to make the process more efficient, but while the day allowed him to really flex what their farms and technology can do, he said that when it’s all said and done, the product is all that matters.

“It’s not neccesarily about the exposure for the farm, but the exposure for what the farm produces,” Seifert said. “That is what we are wanting to do. We’re wanting to showcase the things that Illinois can produce, and what Central Illinois can produce and the corn and the soy beans that we have to offer.”

This was the tenth year RTS Farms hosted the Department of Agriculture’s tour. They said the biggest change over those ten years is the advancement in technology that they use on the farm.

“It makes it easier to show them how we do our job,” Wes Seifert, Tim’s son and partner at the farm said. “I can put the drone up in the air, and fly over hundreds of acres to show them an aerial view of what our crop looks like. Before the drone, we would have to go and walk around all the plots and it was much more time consuming.”

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