USSEC discussed the health benefits of soybean oil, as proven in a clinical study, with an important oil refinery in Mexico. The refinery is looking to review their marketing strategy as a result of this study.
In September 2016, USSEC completed a clinical research study in the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition “Salvador Zubirán,” a highly recognized institution in Mexico. A group of PhD scholars with experience in nutrition conducted the study. The objective of the study was to analyze the effects of soybean oil versus other oils on levels of LDL cholesterol, lipoprotein profile, and other health parameters, in patients with hypercholesterolemia. The study was carried out following the scientific protocol recommended for this kind of research. It confirmed the health properties of U.S. soybean oil due to its unique composition of Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9 fatty acids and its high content of Vitamin E. The results of the study are being communicated to oil refineries so that they can use this information in their marketing materials for the Americas and other regions.
Main result of the clinical study: Soybean oil consumption decreased the total cholesterol in men by 11.5 percent and by 27.3 percent in women. The consumption of soybean oil also significantly decreased serum glucose by 18.5 percent in women.
The consumption of olive oil decreased LDL cholesterol levels by 13.9 percent in women. The consumption of canola significantly decreased serum triglycerides by 28.9 percent.
USSEC was invited, through Pork Colombia (Colombian Swine Association), to participate in an event developed by Colanta, the largest dairy processing cooperative in Colombia. The event took place in San Pedro, Medellin on November 26, 2016.
Colanta owns three state of the art harvest plants where they process veal, dairy cows, and pork, each one in its own line in one big complex.
As a dairy cooperative, Colanta also encourages its associates to raise pigs and therefore warranties their pig input for the swine harvest plant. The weight of a market pig has increased over the years from 100 kilograms (kg) up to 150 kg. The workshop, aimed at swine producers associated to Colanta, was set to demonstrate that a good heavy pig puts out more meat when fed properly, than a lighter pig. This is of interest to pork producers since Colanta pays by the percentage of lean meat on pigs.
To prove the importance of proper nutrition in pigs, two pigs, weighing approximately the same amount, from different farms, and with different back fat, were picked to debone and measure the amount of lean meat. The animal with the least amount of back fat rendered more meat than the one with high levels of back fat. This simple but effective demonstration showed participants how proper nutrition and farm management can lead to a higher percentage of lean meat, and therefore a higher monetary compensation.
Staff from Colanta and their associates spoke very highly of the workshop and of USSEC consultant Julio Chaves, to the point that they want to repeat this event at least twice a year with more and different Colanta associates. USSEC will help Colanta demonstrate that a heavier pig does not necessarily mean more fat when proper nutrition is taken into account and that U.S. soybeans play an important role in this equation.
As a direct outcome of the information and knowledge provided by USSEC’s biotechnology and sustainability team in September 2016, the Colombian Association of Endocrinology (ACE) is now officially supporting the poultry sector in Colombia in demystifying the supposed use of hormones in broilers, which had thought to be linked to early puberty in teenagers. This stance also comes from a thorough and comprehensive understanding of GMO products and U.S. production.
The president of ACE and a director of FENAVI, the Colombian Poultry Federation, participated in this program, led by USSEC. The Americas team was made up of more than 40 representatives from Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica and included representatives from the government, industry, and media sectors. Throughout the event, the group was exposed to U.S. regulatory authorities, academic /scientific representatives and grower leaders, all of whom provided valuable information and demystified beliefs around the topics at hand. The group had access to an array of information on agricultural production of GMOs in the U.S.
USSEC hosted a team of 12 animal utilization (AU) industry representatives from core customer companies from 5 Latin American countries to the New Orleans area in October 2016.
Through a series of visits and meetings over the course of three days, the customers gained first-hand exposure to some of the advantages of U.S. Soy, in relation to logistics, finance, and quality. Participants had the opportunity to interact with two USSEC member firms, a shipping agent, and USSEC consultant experts, and discuss purchasing and maritime freights.
The visit to Thionville Laboratories catered to specific interests expressed by customers from the Dominican Republic, English-speaking Caribbean, and Mexico. The CEO of Thionville Laboratories extended a warm welcome to the team and shared information relating to the technical aspects of surveying, its conditions, requirements, and advantages. The staff in charge of the laboratory and analysis discussed technical topics ranging from sampling procedures, to input analysis methods, to the equipment and resources available, and the most current techniques. The team had the unique opportunity to see the laboratory conduct a series of tests on soybean meal samples that had been submitted in advance by one of the firms in attendance, giving way to in-depth discussions.
CHS Inc. hosted the team at their Myrtle Grove facilities. It was the first time most of the members of the group had ever visited a port and export facilities, where they could tour and interact with trading representatives and local staff in charge. This opportunity led to discussions focused on current market perspectives, loading and exporting processes, execution of contracts, and competitive logistics in the U.S.
The third visit took place at Bluewater Shipping, Inc. After a presentation about their company and the services they offer, the discussion turned to the information and resources available to keep track and evaluate logistics and shipping, and follow-up vessels en route.
During the site visits, USSEC consultants Mark Kuehl (expert on freights), Ronald Perez and Francisco Cabrera (experts on purchasing and contracting), discussed the following topics with the group: pricing of products, domestic river and barge logistics, elevation facilities, and related costs. Mr. Kuehl conducted a presentation on maritime freights, freight market structure, and perspectives. Based on the most up to date information and figures, he led participants through comprehensive examples of freight estimations and transit times, which highlighted the logistical advantages of U.S. Soy and grains.
The AU team was escorted by USSEC consultants Pedro Lora, Fradbelin Escarraman, and Gerardo Luna, whose varied knowledge and expertise provided participants with a tailor-made experience, which allowed them to participate in discussions around key aspects of soybean meal, products, exports, technical, trade and marketing related issues.
The trip was a great success, and the team expressed their appreciation to USSEC and all the companies and firms visited.
USSEC consultant Pablo Adreani, founder of AgriPAC Consultants in Argentina, will present the outlook for South American agriculture at the AgServe Agriculture Outlook Summit in St. Louis on March 9.
Mr. Adreani, also a consultant to the United Soybean Board (USB), understands the dynamics of South American agriculture on U.S. producers and agribusinesses.
When don’t you want to be ranked #1 in the world?
Answer: When your country tops the charts for having the highest diabetes rates. And that’s what motivated the Mexican government to take action. They pulled together a team of international nutritionists and scientists who quickly discovered that beverage consumption was the primary reason for the skyrocketing incidence of diabetes in Mexico. Typical teenagers and adults were getting twice the recommended amount of their entire daily energy requirement from soft drinks and other sugary beverages.
With these findings, the Mexican Ministry of Health took the bold and unusual step to introduce the world’s first daily beverage consumption recommendation – which included soymilk. It deployed an expansive, countrywide consumer awareness campaign which also included targeting every school and government office. Their message introduced and educated their citizens on why it was extremely important to their health to change their beverage choices. And that change included drinking up to two glasses of soymilk each day. The Mexican Ministry of Health considers soymilk’s excellent protein, vitamin and mineral content to be comparable to cow’s milk.
Mexico is the first country in the world to officially recommend the daily consumption of soymilk to its people.
As a result of continued assistance by the USSEC Americas team, another major Mexican refiner, La Patrona, has introduced a new pure soybean oil in a three-liter bottle. Consumers want to know the source of their edible oil, and identifying pure soybean oil help differentiate it from other oils and mixed oils. The production of this new soybean oil brand started in February 2016.
The new oil was developed to cover a special market segment composed of hospitals, hotels, and restaurants (HRI) and large families. The soybean oil began to be promoted in June in a combined effort by the IPSA refinery in cooperation with USSEC.
The oil is produced from U.S. soybeans that are imported by IPSA at a current amount of more than 400,000 metric tons per year. The new oil is expected to help to increase the imports of U.S. soybean oil and soybeans in the coming years.
USSEC held the U.S. Soy in International Aquaculture Marketing Mission in Guayaquil, Ecuador from October 19-26.
14 participants, including U.S. grower leaders and USSEC aquaculture staff, took part in this mission in order to better understand the Ecuadorian aquaculture industry, particularly the shrimp industry, and the importance of this market for U.S. Soy. This trip took the team to much of the shrimp aquaculture production chain, including hatchery-growout-processing operations and feedmill operations, along with providing a chance to take part in the annual AquaExpo that brings the commercial industry together for discussions and a trade show.
Participants included Belinda Burrier, United Soybean Board (USB) director; Jerry Bambauer, American Soybean Association (ASA) director; RJ Campbell, Nebraska Soybean Board; Tony Johanson, Nebraska Soybean Board; Diana Beitelspacher, North Dakota Soybean Council; Andy Tauer, Indiana Soybean Alliance; Tom Griffith, Indiana Soybean Alliance; Kary Claghorn, Iowa Soybean Association; Rolland Schnell, Iowa Soybean Association; USSEC Marketing Director – International Aquaculture and Customer Focus Colby Sutter; and USSEC Project Manager Aquaculture/ Customer Focus Dena Hensel.
During this trip, there was also an opportunity for Aquaculture Program Lead Technical Consultant – SEA Lukas Manomaitis to discuss the updated International Aquaculture Feed Formulation Database (IAFFD) with the grower leaders to show them how USSEC is trying to directly influence the industry to use U.S. Soy.
In support of the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) third-party certification program, USSEC Aquaculture Consultant – Americas Jairo Amezquita recently presented BAP certificates to Colombian small farmers selected to receive training and financial support.
Mr. Amezquita has been a key player in ensuring that Colombia’s farmers receive the training and financial support necessary to apply for the BAP certification to comply with local and international market requirements since USSEC and the Federación Colombiana De Acuicultores (FEDEACUA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) early this year.
The USSEC consultant presented a number of tilapia and trout producers with BAP certificates for attaining BAP certification at a celebration of responsible aquaculture organized by FEDEACUA in Bogota, Colombia, on October 11.
“The MoU signed by USSEC, FEDEACUA and GAA to train Colombia’s small farmers to achieve BAP certification represents an effective demonstration of responsible aquaculture in Latin America,” said Marcos Moya, manager of BAP supply development for GAA.
Beginning in 2015, USSEC partnered with the Alcon-Cargill Company to develop a new dairy diet.
USSEC Animal Utilization consultant Carlos Campabadal worked with the dairy nutrition staff at Cargill – Central America to develop a closing diet for the pre-partum period, which is the most important diet in a dairy feeding system. Its use increases milk production and reproduction in the next lactation and causes a reduction of metabolic diseases including milk fever, ketosis, and acidosis.
The diet was finalized at the end of February 2016, and USSEC helped to introduce it in Honduras by participating in four dairy field days, attended by 272 producers. Mr. Campabadal spoke about the importance of the closing period and also presented a conference, “The Importance of Nutrition in Cow Reproduction.” The USSEC consultant gave great emphasis to the importance of using U.S. soybean meal because of its quality and composition during all of his presentations.
The development of a new diet is a good step for USSEC because it encourages Central American dairy producers to utilize more soybean meal, and partnering with Cargill is a positive because the company purchases more than 140,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. soybean meal, selling U.S. soybean meal to small producers that make their own feed.
USSEC was asked by RAGASA, the largest U.S. soybean crushing plant in Mexico, to send its animal nutrition consultant to help them in the promotion of their soybean meal and pelleted soybean hulls in the Mexican market. RAGASA processes one million metric tons (MT) of soybeans per year and with its new crushing plant that will be ready in January 2017, the company will process two million MT of beans annually.
USSEC – Americas animal nutrition consultant Carlos Campabadal provided technical assistance to RAGASA. Four of Mexico’s largest swine operations, representing more than 400,000 sows; poultry operations that produce 15 million birds/cycle; and a company with 32 million laying hens, 10,000 dairy cows and 70,000 sheep were present. Various nutrition topics were discussed with the nutritionists and company owners, particularly the advantages of using of soybean meal and pelleted soybean hulls in their animal diets, due to the digestible amino acid content and high digestible fiber, respectively. Additionally, Mr. Campabadal presented a conference on the use of pelleted soybean hulls to members of ANFACA (Mexican Feed Mill Association).
USSEC partnered with the International Grains Program (IGP) Institute at Kansas State University to hold the Regional Animal Production Course (RAPCO) in feed manufacturing. 30 feed mill staff, nutritionists, and quality control technicians from 9 different Latin American countries traveled to the IGP Institute from September 6 – 9.
“The IGP-KSU partnership with USSEC continues the technical program under RAPCO that helps Latin Americans who import U.S. soybeans and soybean meal to better understand and utilize its nutritional benefits,” says Carlos Campabadal, course coordinator and feed manufacturing and grain quality management curriculum manager. “It also helps them understand how to improve their feed operations.”
Course participants learned new techniques and updated their knowledge in feed manufacturing, including information on ingredient and soybean meal quality, feed storage, feed safety programs, pelleting, extrusion processing, and feed mill design and material handling. Participants heard from USSEC representatives along with IGP faculty and Kansas State professors. In addition to presentation-style learning, participants toured the KSU O.H. Kruse Feed Mill to gain a better understanding of feed manufacturing and plant operations.
Course participant Elizabeth Bastidas from Colombia says she attended the course to learn from others in her industry.
“I wanted to meet people from other countries with the same type of product,” Ms. Bastidas says. “I have enjoyed listening to other individuals’ strategies so that I can incorporate them myself.”
Roger Ferrera, a plant manager for Cargill in Honduras and course participant, said that it was nice to see a variety of companies represented.
“I enjoyed the diversity of companies that took the course and the exchange of knowledge between them,” Mr. Ferrera says. “This is all information that I can take back to my own plant.”
Mr. Ferrera says he enjoyed the quality of instructors and their presentations throughout the week. “You can tell that they know a lot about the subject and can pinpoint specific issues we have in our own plants at home.”
USSEC recently provided technical assistance to livestock producers in the states of San Luis Potosi and Jalisco, Mexico.
USSEC technicians, Carlos Campabadal and Carlos Espinosa, visited VALI feed mill in San Luis Potosi. VALI produces all types of feeds and also sells roasted and extruder full fat soybean meal (FFSBM), purchasing between 4,000 to 5,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. soybean meal. During this visit, discussions were related to feed production, especially in the area of roasted and extruder FFSBM, including the nutritional differences between these two products, their nutritional value, and the methodology to evaluate the processing effect.
In Jalisco, the consultants visited Forrajes Mendez. This feed mill produces all types of feeds (2,000 MT/month) and sells feed ingredients (5,000 MT/month) to producers that make their own feed. They buy between 1,500 to 2,000 MT of U.S. soybean meal. Mr. Campadabal and Mr. Espinosa visited the storage area to evaluate the quality of the feed ingredients and to review the process to produce the feed.
The next visit was to Tinajeros Dairy Farm, which is known for its Holstein dairy cows. This farm has a forage program, and the USSEC consultants made some recommendations about it and also about the use of U.S. soybean bypass protein in their rations.
Next up was Forrajes Mercado, a feed mill that sells 3,000 MT of feed of different species and feed ingredients. They purchase 1,500 to 2,000 MT of U.S. soybean meal. The feed mill was visited and USSEC reviewed the quality of the feed ingredient, finding that the soybean meal was of good quality. The consultants saw feed production, reviewed the particle size of the feeds, and discussed the quality of the U.S. soybean, the methodology to evaluate this product.
The last visit was to a beef cattle feedlot, La Mezquitera, which has 300 cattle of different breeds. The cattle’s diet utilizes U.S. soybean meal as a source of protein, which is not common in feedlot cattle. USSEC provided several nutritional and management recommendations to improve performance.
USSEC secretary and Illinois Soybean Association director Sharon Covert was part of a delegation representing American soybean and poultry groups that visited Cuba on a trade mission last week.
The U.S. team met with poultry, egg and soybean representatives to learn more about Cuba’s food distribution system and to discuss biosecurity, food safety and nutrition issues. The mission’s focus was to assess the potential for greater U.S. agricultural trade as relations between the U.S. and Cuba continue to develop.
The delegation represents the first mission to Cuba funded by the soybean checkoff since America started normalizing trade relations with the country. The Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program and the Iowa Soybean Association, funded by the soybean checkoff, backed the trip.
USSEC chairman Jim Miller says while Cuba isn’t a large market, it could be an important one in the future.
Mr. Miller said the possible opening of the Cuban market comes at a good time as producers are facing low commodity prices.
“When we have depressed market prices like this, any time that we can open up a new market, it’s a great opportunity for us,” he stated.
He explained that establishing and opening new markets takes time, patience, and persistence, as evidenced by U.S. efforts to open the Chinese market.
“We worked in China for 12 years before we sold the first soybean to China,” Mr. Miller says. “In 1995, China bought 145,000 metric tons from the U.S. and last year, China bought 30 million metric tons from the U.S.” Although the size of the Cuban market won’t be nearly that size, Mr. Miller feels that the country holds great promise for trade, now that the embargo is crumbling.
USSEC participated in Consejo Nacional Agropecuario’s (CNA) forum, Foro Global Agroalimentario, in Puebla, Mexico on September 29 and 30.
CNA’s Global Agri-Food Forum is an annual event that brings together high-level specialists in agri-food issues from around the world. The forum aims to analyze the most important issues for the global food industry.
USSEC CEO Jim Sutter spoke at the event and served as part of a sustainability panel on the conference’s first day.
USSEC provided technical assistance to one of the largest poultry operations in the Mexican state of Aguas Calientes.
USSEC consultants Carlos Campabadal and Carlos Espinosa provided technical assistance to Sabro Pollo, which produces 900,000 broilers and 15,000 metric tons (MT) of broiler feed weekly. The company purchases 3600 to 4000 MT per month of U.S. soybean meal from a local company.
Topics discussed were the advantages of using U.S. soybean meal as a source of protein and problems that may be experienced in broiler performance with the use of high levels of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGs) such as reduction in gains and feed conversion due to the rancidity of the oil, high fiber content, low amino acids digestibility, and the presence of mycotoxins in this product. The USSEC consultants recommended the use of U.S. soybean oil, because it has higher energy levels and is an excellent product, especially for pre-starter diets.
The second visit was to FOGASA, which produces 20,000 MT/month of feed. During this visit, the consultants discussed the use of special sources of U.S. bypass protein in dairy cattle such as SoyPlus and several nutrition and management topics to help increase the use of U.S. soybean meal.
The last company visited was Nutry Pollo. This company produces 5 million broilers per cycle and produces 9,000 MT of broiler feed, purchasing 2,500 to 3,000 MT of U.S. soybean meal. The topics discussed were related to the level of urease in soybean meal, and the methodology to measure this parameter as well as the optimum level (0.01 -0.05) to process soybean meal. The consultants also discussed the use of enzymes, mycotoxins in the corn, tannins in the sorghum, and the importance of making a good pre-starter diet. Because this company is using free fatty acids as a source of energy, it was recommended to change to soybean oil and the use of full fat soybean meal since they have an Anderson extruder.
USSEC provided technical support to commercial shrimp growers in Peru by holding multiple discussions with a feedmill representative and fish and shrimp producers about modifying diet formulations for fish and shrimp by incorporating more soybean meal derived from U.S.-grown soybeans.
Visits to fish and shrimp farms and facilities by USSEC consultants Dr. John Hargreaves and Jairo Amezquita consisted of six one-on-one or small-group direct technical consultations and presentations to farm groups about pond preparation and water management of shrimp ponds to improve productivity and technical capacity. The presentation consisted of sections on sediment removal, pond drying, soil liming, fertilization, managing water transparency through water exchange, and the use of probiotics in fish and shrimp farming. Six large and prominent fish and shrimp farms in Huacho, Piura and Tumbes were visited. The presentations were made to personnel at two of the six farms visited. Mr. Amezquita also talked about USSEC’s role in the development of global aquaculture, emphasizing the advantages of using U.S. Soy in shrimp diets.
Dr. Hargreaves´s presentation focused on pond preparation and water management of fish and shrimp ponds to improve productivity. The lecture consisted of sections on sediment removal, pond drying, soil liming, fertilization, managing water transparency through water exchange, and the use of probiotics in shrimp farming. A few points were emphasized to shrimp farmers as recommendations:
1) The importance of pond drying was emphasized to oxidize accumulated organic matter. It was recommended that farmers have a production cycle with a 15-day interval between harvesting one crop and stocking juveniles for the next crop. Within this 15-day interval, there should be 7 days of bright sunshine with the pond completely exposed.
2) Ponds should be routinely tested to evaluate soil pH. This is especially true for ponds located in former mangrove wetlands, which are known to have soils with low pH and a very high lime requirement. The point was emphasized that ponds will not respond well to fertilization unless soil pH is greater than 7.
3) Perhaps the most important point emphasized was that the best way to manage dissolved oxygen in ponds without aeration is to manage water transparency. By maintaining a water transparency (as indicated by Secchi disk visibility) of 30-50 cm, there should be no problems with dissolved oxygen concentration. This can be problematic in shrimp farming areas where source water is already highly eutrophic, as indicated in at least one farm visited.
USSEC America’s team, in conjunction with the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, has been awarded the 2016 gold at the ASPID awards for their campaign “Soy es Salud” or “Soy is Health.”
The ASPID award is selected from the Barcelona, Spain-based entity that evaluates and awards the best advertising and promotional campaigns in the Ibero-American countries in certain categories. This is the first time that a U.S. organization’s campaign has been selected for the award.
The objective of “Soy es Salud” is to increase the awareness of the different soy products available and the health benefits of soy. The creative from the USSEC campaign has been used in Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic and is available for the USSEC offices globally, as well as stakeholders.
The initial concept initiated with USSEC Americas Regional Manager Nayeli Vilanova with the assistance of USSEC consultant Mark Andersen. The campaign was focused on helping consumers realize how many products can be obtained from soybeans besides soy sauce and to position a graphic image in the minds of customers and consumers to help them to promote their products as well as understand what soy is and differentiate the origin as U.S. Soy.
Several qualified state soybean boards (QSSBs) have already shown interest in the creative. Please contact Nayeli Vilanova with any questions.
USSEC is working in a partnership with private and government entities in the Americas region on a series of soy social programs to improve child nutrition.
This year, USSEC extended the coverage and scope of its social programs project to Colombia to implement an interactive way to teach nutrition to vulnerable populations.
On June 9, USSEC consultant – South America Belinda Pignotti, together with Gabriela Santos, director of the Foundation Las Golondrinas, and Maria Lia Neira, MNR Comunicaciones y Ediciones director, presented the public – private alliance between the Medellin, Colombia government (Alcaldia de Medellin) and its food security ministry, Las Golondrinas Foundation, with the support of the Colombian Welfare Institute (ICBF) and USSEC to the media in Medellin. 26 journalists attended the media event where a Medellin government representative spoke about the importance of developing interactive programs to promote nutrition, including soy in daily diets as well as supporting the local industry.
On June 26, the Circus of Soy was held in Medellin. The event was designed to be an interactive performance conceptualized to engage children while teaching them the basic concepts of nutrition and healthy food, including soy, as part of a daily diet. The program aimed to educate future consumers about soyfoods.
500 kids were provided with the opportunity to participate in a whole learning experience about soy, nutrition, and healthy food in a didactic and interactive way with dance and magic tricks in which soy was the main character and protagonist.
One of the main topics was to differentiate the origins of soy and explain its good quality and nutritional value as a complete protein with healthy fats. The children were also taught that soy is an excellent animal feed and is a sustainable, environmentally friendly crop that helps the planet.
The children prepared easy recipes with soy and enjoyed a lunch prepared with soy including a soy hamburger, red berry soymilk shake, and soy chocolate cookies.
To complement the program, the MNR team composed a soy song, which explain the traceability of this seed to show the kids the versatility and huge potential of soybeans.
At the end of the performance and the lunch, the kids reviewed the learned concepts making puzzles and drawing things related to soy and nutrition. Children also received a bag filled with soy products and a didactic booklet to use at home.
The Circus Of Soy was complemented with a soy cooking class for 300 community mothers.
During this workshop, the moms learned new soy recipes and talked with USSEC nutritionist Guadalupe Esquivel about soy’s nutritional and health benefits.
At a farm, the kids learned about the soy crop, how to take care the environment the way U.S. Soy producers do, and how soy provides good nutrition for animals. They planted their own soybean seeds to bring it home so they could watch for germination. The children also had the opportunity to feed animals and learned the difference between animal and vegetable proteins.
With the program, USSEC accomplished the goal of teaching vulnerable populations to include soy in their diets and nutrition basics.
To listen to the soy song, just click on the arrow.
USSEC participated in the United Soybean Board’s (USB) See for Yourself mission to Panama and Costa Rica August 4 – 12.
The See for Yourself program is aimed at U.S. soybean farmers who want to learn more about their customers beyond the grain elevator and the U.S. Soy industry’s role in marketing U.S. Soy to these customers. Participants hear firsthand about the qualities customers desire in their soybeans and see how the U.S. soybean industry is a multi-faceted, global business.
Ten soybean farmers were selected to travel with grower leaders including USB chair Jared Hagert and USB directors Keith Tapp, Gregg Fujan, and Nancy Kavazanjian. USSEC staff included Regional Representative – Americas Francisco de la Torre, Marketing Director Aquaculture/ Customer Focus Colby Sutter, USSEC Regional Deputy Director Nayeli Vilanova, and USSEC consultant Belinda Pignotti. USSEC CEO Jim Sutter gave a presentation to the group in Panama City.
Infrastructure discussions that began in St. Louis continued as the participants went through the newly expanded Panama Canal. The canal’s recent expansion doubled the waterway’s capacity, helping to ship U.S. Soy to foreign markets faster. International soy buyers often pay as much attention to the timeliness of deliveries as they do the price, and so the canal’s expansion increased U.S. Soy’s competitiveness on the global scale. About 44 percent of exported soybeans from the U.S. pass through the Panama Canal.
The program concluded in Costa Rica, a country that imported 100 percent of its soy from the U.S. in the 2014/2015 marketing year. Participants heard from INOLASA, the sole soybean-crushing plant in Central America. USSEC, together with the soy checkoff, partnered with INOLASA to increase U.S. soybean consumption in Costa Rica, taking it from 33 percent of its imports in 2014 to 100 percent in 2015.
While in Costa Rica, participants also learned about the soy-fed fish industry from Martec Industries, a company dedicated to the production, processing and marketing of seafood, especially red snapper. The soy checkoff invests in the marketing and promotion of soy in fish feed and helped Martec incorporate soybean meal into its rations. The fish are raised in cages in the Pacific Ocean and their feed includes roughly 18 percent soy, all of which comes from the U.S.