The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is offering its members an exclusive opportunity to participate in an intensive market study tour to Australia in March 2018.

The upcoming study tour to several sites in Australia will tentatively begin March 2, 2018, and return to Iowa on March 13. It will explore the agriculture and cultural sites in the eastern third of Australia, the country’s prime farming area, said Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services, who will lead the market study tour.

The IFBF study tour will visit Australian grain and livestock farms and meet with local farmers, agribusiness leaders, agronomists and others, Miller said.

Market competitor

“It will be enlightening to visit Australia because its agricultural strength makes it one of the major players in world ag markets in both grains and meat,” Miller said. With a domestic population of less than 25 million, the country’s agriculture is geared primarily toward the export market, he said.

The United States and Aus­tralia, Miller said, often go head-to-head in the global beef market, especially when selling into markets in Asia. “Typically beef from Australia is the top competitor to U.S. products in many Asian markets, and particularly in Japan, South Korea and increasingly in other southeast Asian countries,” he said.

On the grain side, Australia is not a significant corn grower. But it is a powerhouse in wheat, which competes with corn in the world feed grains market, Miller said.

Another intriguing aspect of the IFBF market study trip will be viewing an emerging soybean production area in the Queensland area of northeastern Australia, Miller said.

“They are beginning to get soybean production there, and there appears to be some real growth potential,” he said. “Latitude-wise, the same soybean varieties that work in Brazil could very well work in the Queensland area.”

Australian farmers have indicated an interest in specialty soybean markets, such as edible beans or non-GMO crops, Miller said. “That may be the way they will try to break into a very competitive world soybean market,” he said.

The Iowans participating on the market study trip will also have a chance to see many cultural sights in Australia, including those in Sydney and Brisbane.

This is the sixth IFBF market study tour. In 2013, the IFBF market study tour traveled to Ukraine and other Black Sea countries to see emerging grain production there. In the summer of 2014, Miller led a study trip to China to study the potential for continued growth of U.S. exports to the world’s most populous country. In March 2015, a group of Farm Bureau members traveled to Brazil to study the livestock industry there. In the spring of 2016, the IFBF study trip traveled to South Africa to view an emerging agricultural nation in the Southern Hemisphere. Earlier this year, a group of Iowa Farm Bureau members explored Poland.

Selection process

Participants for the upcoming IFBF Australia market study tour will be selected based on potential leadership participation in Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations, communication skills and a willingness to “give back” to communities through oral and written presentations.

The tour is exclusive to IFBF members who apply and are selected. Applications can be submitted through the IFBF website and must be submitted by Jan. 7, 2018.

Members selected for the Australia study tour will be required to pay $2,500 to fund a share of the cost of the tour. The state organization will fund the rest of the tour costs, and no county Farm Bureau finances will be used. Participants will need to have a valid passport through July of 2018.

Participants will be required to give a minimum of four post-trip presentations in local, county, district or state venues, such as county Farm Bureau annual meetings, community organizations or youth groups and/or through the public media.

“Our market study tours are knowledge-share trips, and so participant willingness to share the knowledge they gain in Australia with fellow Iowans is a must,” Miller said. “We want to be able to share the information we learn on the trip as widely as possible. We’ve had very good response to members’ presentations about earlier market study tours and believe that Australia will also be of great interest to members and others in the community.”

A rigorous tour

In addition, Miller added, the tour will be rigorous, so applicants should be in good health. “Australia is a very large country, and we’ll cover a lot of miles to glean as much information as possible on the agriculture and people of this part of the world,” he said. 

For more information on the IFBF Poland market study tour, contact Lavonne Baldwin at or by phone at 515-225-5633.

Click here to view the itinerary.

Apply today!