Friday, March 9
Sean Arians, Ryan Voorhees, & Susanna Zimmerman – Presiding Fellows
Xin chào – pronounced zin chow. (Greetings) from Hanoi Vietnam. Today we started the day at a family owned company called CP Vietnam. They are a large vertically integrated food processor. The call themselves food integrators. We visited their chicken processing plant yesterday, but toured their feed mill today. The mill provides bagged and bulk feed for the contract pork, chicken (layer and broiler), fish, and shrimp farms. The mission of CP Vietnam is to be the Kitchen of the World. Given their mission, we heard a lot of focus on food safety and healthy products. The company was extremely clean and strives for high quality products which start with the animal feed. They reject about 3% of the grain that comes into their facility because of quality issues. They have an on-site lab which uses state of the art equipment to test grain and feed quality. The goal of the company is to export 1 million chickens by year end.
The feed mill uses 30% of their soy meal from the United States. 80% of the feed produced is bagged with the remainder as bulk for their larger farms. The entire mill is run by computers. (See picture). Both of the plants we visited were advanced processing plants with the latest technology.
As a vertically integrated company, they supply the breeding stock and feed to the farmers. They then own the processing plants for all of the various livestock, and finally they own a number of fresh markets while contracting with dealers/supermarkets to market their products. As refrigerators and freezers become more common here, they are selling more product in Vietnam, however today, most product is exported to 14 countries.
After another great lunch, we visited a fish farm that uses soy based food and an In Pond Raceway. The farm adopted this technology from a researcher at Auburn University. They create a current in the ponds that encourage the fish to swim like in their natural habitat which improves the growth rate of the fish. They even used the term “happy fish”.
This farm focuses on the details of proper oxygenation, environment, and feed to help increase their productivity. The raceway system also helps them reduce their feed ratio from the standard of 2kg of feed to 1 kg of fish weight to 1.5kg of feed to 1 kg of fish weight. The farm uses waste to produce biogas to fuel their farms or composting for fertilizer. They operate under the principal that “everyone is downstream from someone.”
Both visits today highlighted partnerships and support of the US Soybean Export Council and the American Soybean Association. It has been great for the class to see the importance of our checkoff dollars and our products impact to consumers around the world. Whether it be directly or indirectly through a company like CP or the fish company using our products to feed their products to export to other countries.
It is important to note the warm welcome we received from the Vietnamese people. The country is an old country with a young population that is growing rapidly. With an expected 50% growth in disposable income by 2030, Vietnam will be an important trading partner for US products!
Tonight, we were on our own for dinner with a few hours to see the town and try to dodge motorbikes crossing traffic!