Regions Hampton Roads

Virginia soybeans to be exported to Japan under trade deal

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Montague Farms, a Virginia producer of specialty soybeans based in Center Cross, has inked a $1 million deal to supply food-grade soybeans to a customer in Japan.

Tokyo-based Sun-Tommy International Co. will import and distribute the soybeans to food processors in Japan. The soybeans will be used to make natto, a fermented Japanese breakfast food.

The deal between Center Cross-based Montague Farms and Sun-Tommy has roots in a state trade and marketing mission to Asia in 2011, when Minoru “Tommy” Tominari, president of Sun-Tommy, met Gov. Bob McDonnell and other Virginia representatives to discuss export opportunities.

Since then, Tominari has worked with Montague Farms and Virginia agricultural trade representatives to develop sales opportunities for Virginia soybeans in Japan. 

Montague Farms has been shipping to other customers in Japan for more than two decades.  The company contracts with other farmers for more than 15,000 acres of field crop each year. Growers in Montague’s farm network cultivate soybeans, corn, wheat and other grain crops.  Montague Farms owns and operates two grain storage and conditioning facilities in Virginia, one in Center Cross and another in Windsor.

Agriculture and forestry are Virginia’s largest industries, with a combined economic impact of $79 billion annually: $55 billion from agriculture and $24 billion from forestry. The industries also provide about 500,000 jobs in the commonwealth.

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