Sustainability

Reliable U.S. Soy: Production Transparency Strengthens Texas Exporter Relationships

What’s happening in the field?

As an independent grain-handling and exporting business in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, my family’s business, Garcia Grain Trading, commonly hears questions along these lines from our customers. We strive to provide answers by showing and telling them about crop progress and quality.

We are part of the U.S. soy industry, committed to providing a reliable supply of high-quality, sustainable and consistently performing soybeans to customers around the world. In addition to exporting soybeans, we also handle corn, dry edible beans, sorghum (milo), cottonseed, rice, sunflowers, sesame and canola.

Transparency is one of our key values, so we welcome customer visits. We take visitors to meet with farmers raising the crops they will be buying to allow them to see crop progress and quality. We also offer tours of our grain handling facilities and transportation logistics, so they can see for themselves how their commodities will get from the farmers to their businesses. We usually host customers multiple times each year, with the exception of last year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Company agronomists come to observe and measure crop progress and quality, particularly for specialty crops. They often visit just before or after planting or harvest. We connect them all with our farmers to encourage conversations and transparency for the whole growing and delivery process. At the same time, we continue to work closely with farmers, providing agronomic support as needed.

Soybeans Filling Pods Well

This year, in the spirit of transparency, we are also sharing the progress of the unique soybeans developed for our region with both farmers and customers. Our varieties, Pamela GT and Lynda GT, have been included in four variety plot trials in soybean-growing regions of Texas, which are located in the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi, Port Lavaca, Victoria, Wharton, Stephenville, College Station, Beaumont and Greenville-Commerce.

These trials allow us to promote the opportunity to grow soybeans to farmers in our area and see if these varieties are a viable commercial alternative further north. As our soybean supply allows, we will sell these local soybeans to a growing number of customers. Opportunities for diversification with crops like these soybeans serve the best interest of both our farmers and our customers.

During field days held for farmers to learn about varieties and best management practices, attendees have been reacting favorably to the unique genetics and their yield potential. In our immediate area, these two varieties are clearly among the best-performing soybean options available. In other regions of Texas, like the Coastal Bend, Winter Garden and North Central Plains north of us, it is too early to tell how well they will compete with other commercial soybean varieties. We are very eager to see yield data in a month or two, and we will share our findings then.

In the Lower Rio Grande Valle, these “long-juvenal” soybean varieties have been setting pods and maturing well. They should be ready to harvest in mid- to late-July, and they the second crop of soybeans will be planted throughout July to mid-August.

This transparency, both with farmers and buyers, reinforces the strength of our long-standing relationships and our role as a connecting intermediary in the supply chain. Our efforts are just one example of the ways the U.S. soy supply chain supports transparency, sustainability and strong relationships between farmers and customers.

Mauricio Garcia

U.S. Soybean Farmer

Texas

Mauricio Garcia is a fourth-generation farmer/rancher from south Texas. He works as a grain merchandiser for Garcia Grain Trading, a family grain handling and export business that includes 3,000 acres of soybeans, corn, milo, cotton and vegetables. The company is actively engaged in a soybean improvement program for Texas farmers, and is getting ready to commercialize a variety that works for the Rio Grande Valley. In addition, they operate six grain elevators that export 500,000 metric tons, or about 20,000,000 bushels, of soybeans, rice, sunflower, canola, sesame and dry-edible beans to Mexico. They are the largest exporter of Texas soybeans into Mexico, and one of the largest exporters of pinto and black edible beans to Mexico. Mauricio holds an economics degree from University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is passionate about farming best practices, agronomy, merchandising, and learning from other farmers and people in the ag industry.