Mercer Landmark Soybean Extrusion Plant Going International
by Sheila Baltzell

After 2 years in production at the Rockford plant, Mercer Soy is perking right along, extruding locally grown soybeans into oil and meal.  The oil is being sold in the human market, and the soy meal is a feed supplement for livestock – meaning it is part of a combination of grains, vitamins, minerals, etc to provide food for livestock grown locally. But that is not all.

Scott Boulis, general manager of Mercer Landmark in Rockford, John Wenning, Landmark’s feed salesman and nutritionist, and consultant, Ed Burtch of Burtch Seed, Rockford, recently returned from a 10 day trip to Seoul South Korea and Manila, Philippines where they met with Mayette Ramos, Philippino president of FFF Nutrition, a sales agent for various livestock feed mills in the Philippines. Her company represents Mercer Soy.  In Seoul, South Korea, the group met with Mr. Cho (Aaron) with the ILJU Trading Company, LTD, who is the sales agent for several livestock feed mills in that country. Scott Boulis mentioned that Mercer Landmark has never directly exported before, but, they expect their export volume to make up 20% of total production when finalized.

Scott explained, “Hog operations are not commercialized like they are in the US, they are back-yard operations, where a family raises 5-6 hogs literally in their backyard and sells them for slaughter at a neighborhood stockyard. Pork is an important food in both countries, as well as fish. These countries are in need of different grains to use in the feed mixture. They can not grow much of their own feed. Seoul is mountainous, and the Philippines are tropical and volcanic with land at a premium. The Philippines grows mainly mangoes, peanuts, pineapple and rice. Mercer Landmark can provide soybean meal to them and are in the midst of negotiations to export their soy meal. The trio made the trip to market their product which is a higher quality of soy meal with 6% natural oil retained versus the usual competitors’ mix of less than ˝ of a percent of soybean oil. There are not many big swine operations; the smaller backyard pens are not messy; the hogs are well-cared-for, although they are a bit smaller than ours. They raise them to 20 lbs. lighter because they do not have access to corn and soybean meal for protein. We can feed longer in the United States because those grains are readily available to us. Mercer Landmark’s natural soy oil is in the meal with plenty of the protein that these countries are looking to purchase. They already import.

Mayette Ramos visited The Village of Rockford on June 1st and 2nd, 2009 to gather more information and to discuss procedures for financing.

The men flew out on Detroit on February 10th and arrived 14 hours later in Tokyo, followed by Manila, Philippines the next day and stayed through the 15th. They traveled then to Seoul, South Korea for a day and left for the United States on February 17th. It was exciting for them as they discussed business practices noting for Mrs. Ramos and Mr. Cho that the export process is already in place. Landmark uses poly-woven tote bags, which weigh 2,205 lbs full (or 1000 Kilograms). They are one metric ton. They are processed in Rockford, bagged  with the help of augers, and loaded into containers at the rockford plant, trucked to Columbus, Ohio, and loaded onto rail cars. The railroad then takes them to Long Beach, California where they are loaded onto ships. When the containers reach the destination port, they are loaded back onto a semi truck and delivered to the feed mill.

Boulis explained that Burtch Seed already ships overseas. They sell soy beans for tofu production for humans  in Japan. Those beans can not be genetically modified  in any way. Honda of Marysville is one of the biggest purchasers of soy beans in the area. They, too, ship by truck, then container. It takes one month for the bean meal to reach its destination. Pallets are also inspected and must be heat treated to stop an invasion.

Seoul, South Korea, through Philco AgriTech Co. LTD  bought two containers of soy meal to try, each weighing 20 metric tons. Other countries including Nigeria, Japan and Russian have exchanged information with the Mercer Soy office.

Below are some great pictures taken during the trip. Click on the smaller pictures to enlarge them.


Pictures Below are of the Philippines Leg of the trip.

Feed Mill Warehouse

Control Room in Feed Mill

Scott Boulis makes a presentation to management staff at the
Feed Mill


Philippine Food Vendor  - Notice the chicken foot.

Philippine Jeep like a small bus

Left to right: Mayette Ramos, Emily Villapondo, Scott Boulis, John Wenning, Ed Burtch, Mike LeCano
Mike and Emily are both working for TSC Agri Commodities

New resort being built.

Philippine Countryside.
Pictures Below are of South Korea

Very modern city

Scott Boulis, Mr. Cho (Aaron)n John Wenning, and Mr. Lee, owner of Philco

Most buildings in Seoul are new following the Korean War.

Mr. Lee ordering our lunch

Lunch ~ Food was good but not familiar


Looking over proposal
in our hotel room

South Korea is mountainous



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