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updated: 10/4/2013 7:07 AM

Illinois Grain Tour may boost state agribusiness

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- The relationships developed with foreign buyers during the Illinois Grain Tour are expected to pay dividends for the state's agribusiness.

Illinois Department of Agriculture officials say foreign buyers who took part in the trade mission are projecting $173 million in purchases in the coming year. They say that is more than triple what last year's tour produced. Agriculture director Bob Flider says the challenge is to build upon the relationships started and turn initial purchases into repeat business.

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The tour brought 42 grain buyers to Illinois from China, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Thailand and Vietnam. Stops included farms, transportation facilities and equipment manufacturers as well as the Chicago Board of Trade and the Mercantile Exchange

The Grain Tour is one of the department's strategies to find markets for Illinois products.

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