News: Greater Europe
Discussions focused on the quality, consistency and sustainability of U.S. Soy during the 5th U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange for Europe – Middle East/North Africa (EU/MENA) during the recent conference in Lisbon, Portugal. More than 180 customers and 15 USSEC members from 32 countries gathered to discuss the global soy market situation and expectations for the feed and food industry for Europe and the Middle East. USSEC’s two-day conference is one of the few events combining the soy industry throughout those regions and leading soy crushers, feed companies, and poultry and livestock producers were in attendance.
Conference presenters highlighted the importance of the Europe and Middle East market with data showing that EU-28 and Russia represented the top three countries in poultry and pork production growth since 2010, behind only the U.S. Additionally, 13 of the top 30 global feed-producing countries are in Europe and MENA and were represented at the USSEC conference. With one-third of the global gross domestic product (GDP), this region continues to increase its soy consumption and remains highly competitive in poultry and pork production.
USSEC and United Soybean Board (USB) director Todd Gibson, American Soybean Association (ASA) director Bill Wykes, and USB director Andy Fabin highlighted the sustainability of U.S. Soy in their presentations. Each emphasized the sustainability practices of his farm and his production expectations for the upcoming growing season.
Regional customers noted their appreciation in hearing about soy production straight from the producers. USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA Brent Babb stressed the importance of the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) and the positive environmental indicators of U.S. Soy production. Nick Major, representing FEFAC, the European Feed Association, discussed the importance of sustainability to consumers and retailers in the Europe market. The SSAP meets the benchmark of FEFAC’s soy sourcing guidelines and is a welcome source of sustainable soy supply for the European market. The EU is one of the major users of the SSAP certification system, which now totals over 6.7 million tons in export shipments this marketing year, over 10 percent of U.S. Soy exports.
The second SFERA conference “Fish 2017” (Fish processing and aquaculture technologies) took place during the first week of February, in Moscow, Russian Federation. The publishing house SFERA from St. Petersburg and the All-Russian Atlantic Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography were co-organizers of the event. Approximately 200 registered, national, and international scientists, nutritionists, and representatives of the feed industry attended the two-day conference. Speakers came from Russia and from several other European countries.
Besides the exchange of research, results, and scientific data, the conference aimed at exchanging and reviewing successful experiences of national and foreign companies in their establishment and further development in Russia. Representatives from the executive and legislative branches of the federal and regional governments were also present. Consequently, regulatory aspects of the aquaculture sector were discussed along with the various development programs for Russian regions. The aquaculture industry is clearly a priority for the Russian federal government and its regional governments. This is hardly surprising given the tremendous capacity and potential of aquaculture in Russia.
The papers presented at the conference addressed the characteristic issues associated with the rapid growth of a new industry from technical, marketing, and legal points of view. Animated discussions followed the presentations.
USSEC was a major sponsor of the conference and two USSEC consultants, Dr. Iani Chihaia and Dr. Jan van Eys, spoke at the event. Dr. van Eys presented a paper, “Innovations in the Area of Technologies and Feeding of Industrial Fish Production,” emphasizing the potential of soy products to replace fishmeal in aqua formulations. Dr. Chihaia presented a paper entitled “Optimization of the Use of Ingredients in Aquaculture Feeds; Nutritional, Biological, and Technological Properties for Proper Application, Balancing, and Manufacturing.” The main issues of the USSEC presentations were published in Russian language in corresponding articles in SFERA FISH magazine distributed during the conference and released on the SFERA website.
The issue of the use of soy products to replace fishmeal is of major concern and interest for Russian fish producers and since much of their current and future production concentrates on fresh water species, the potential for the use of soy products in fish feed is important. The superior quality of soy relative to other plant protein – even locally produced – is well recognized and appreciated.
A delegation from the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) visited the United Kingdom for four days at the end of January. Included in the group were ISA chair Daryl Cates, vice chair Lynn Rohrscheib, treasurer Stan Born, and USSEC director Sharon Covert, along with six other ISA board members and four ISA staff, including CEO Craig Ratajczyk. The objective of the visit was to gather insights into the current dynamics of the soybean market in the UK and engage with industry contacts on issues such as Brexit, sustainability, and future U.S.-UK bilateral trade. Eugene Philhower, USSEC Representative – Northern Europe, developed the schedule and program in cooperation with USSEC consultant David Green of Greenhouse Communications.
The formal visit began with a dinner with Mike Hambly, chairman of the National Farmers Union (NFU) Combinable Crops Board, who farms in Cornwall, who provided useful and interesting insights. While agricultural producers in the UK and the U.S. face many of the same challenges, the political and social environments in the UK and European Union are very different, with more powerful environmental NGOs and retailers influencing both policies and the market.
The group visited Tithe Farm, a 450 ha. arable crop operation run by Jim Meadows and his son Mark. They saw firsthand winter rapeseed and learned about weed resistance, increasing limitations on pesticides use, and general uncertainties in the market. The group also visited with Camgrain, a storage and logistic farmer cooperative. On the same compound, a rapeseed processing plant to be powered by a woodchip biomass generator was under construction.
The group visited the headquarters of the UK National Farmers Union in Stoneleigh and received briefings from the NFU staff on the rapeseed market, innovation, Brexit and sustainability. There is a high degree of uncertainty of what Brexit will mean to producers, with the added complication that agricultural policy has been devolved to the four parts of the UK (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England). Also, the diversity of the British agricultural sector, with some producers very dependent upon exports to the continent and others less so, complicates the approach to be taken in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.
The following day at the hallowed Farmers Club in London, the group received a number of briefings: Mr. Green provided a briefing on the institutions of the European Union and provided status reports on biotech approvals and pesticide re-registration; Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) – London provided an overview of bilateral trade between the U.S. and the UK and the uncertainties with Brexit and the new administration in the United States; Richard Whitlock, a British agricultural consultant, provided his views on the challenges ahead; and Keith Millar of the UK Food Standards Agency briefed the group on developments within the EU and the UK on animal feed.
This was a very educational trip for all of us. We learned of the similarities between U.K. and Illinois farmers, such as government regulations and challenges such as resistant weeds to control. However, one thing that all of us are in agreement on is how important trade is for everyone, now and in the future.
-ISA chair Daryl Cates
A delegation from the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) visited the Netherlands on January 23 and 24. The purpose of the visit was to get a better understanding of the dynamics influencing the Dutch market for Illinois soybeans and to engage the Dutch industry on issues of importance to the U.S. Soy industry. The group was joined by Eugene Philhower, USSEC Regional Representative – Northern Europe, who organized the two-day visit.
The group included ISA vice chair Lynn Rohrscheib and ISA directors Gary Berg, Jered Hooker, Paul Rasmussen, and Roberta Simpson-Dolbeare, as well as Craig Ratajczyk, ISA CEO and Jayma Appleby, director of industry relations.
The program was designed to gain insights into the Dutch market by briefings along the soy value chain. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) office from the U.S Embassy in The Hague provided an overview of the Dutch market, highlighting the importance of the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam as the entry point for U.S. commodities coming into Europe. The Dutch Farmers Organization (LTO) provided a briefing on agricultural policy and the challenges being faced by Dutch producers. Their representative pointed out that the Netherlands is the second largest exporter of agricultural and food products in the world. Nevedi, the Dutch feed industry association, described their work supporting the development of sustainable soy sourcing guidelines for the Dutch and European feed industries.
The group visited the headquarters of Ahold Delhaize, a global retailer (comparable to Food Lion or Stop and Shop in the U.S) and the largest retailer in the Netherlands and Belgium. After visiting a local store (Albert Heijn), they provided a briefing on the organization and their sustainability initiatives. Dutch retailers have committed to 100 percent sustainable soy for feed, mostly relying on Roundtable on Responsible Soy Standard (RTRS) credits to achieve that goal. They were interested in learning more about the U.S. Sustainable Soy Assurance Protocol (SSAP).
On the second morning, the delegation visited an agricultural research farm operated by Wageningen University where they are conducting varietal tests for soybeans, mostly varieties developed in Canada. The researcher admitted that growing soybeans in the Netherlands has its challenges in terms of protein content, length the growing season and overall yield per hectare. In three to five years, they project 10,000-20,000 hectares producing soybeans for human consumption. That afternoon, the group visited a feed mill operated by AgruniekRijnvallei, a Dutch cooperative specializing in custom feed preparation for the Dutch livestock industry.
At the end of the visit, Ms. Rohrscheib said, “The trade mission to the Netherlands was a great opportunity for Illinois soybean producers to be able to engage in fruitful discussions with the buyers, constituents, and governmental organizations who play a major role in the soybean story in the Netherlands and the European Union.” She added that the group learned how Dutch and European farmers are being regulated and how those rules not only affect the farmers and consumers in the European Union but how those regulations affect soybean producers in Illinois. “As producers, we look forward to continuing the discussion with the key players in the European market so we can work together, market our soybeans and continue to provide the highest quality soy. Without these key conversations, we will not be able to understand the foreign markets and effectively sell our soybeans.”
USSEC attended one of Russia’s largest industrial exhibitions, the XXIInd International Industrial Trade Fair, “MVC: Cereals – Mixed Feeds – Veterinary – 2017” on January 30 and 31 in the All-Russia Exhibition Center of Peoples’ Achievements in Moscow. Since 1996, this particular trade fair has become an undisputed authority and one of the largest professional forums in the world where experts gather to share and exchange new ideas and knowledge, build long-term relationships, and sign contracts. More than 400 exhibitors represented 26 countries and 40 regions of Russia at the event.
The exhibition was accompanied by a diversified business program including international conferences, seminars, and workshops devoted to different aspects of feed supplies and production, nutritional parameters of different feed additives and modern feeding programs, livestock production, feed market status and development, oilseed and meal supplies, and veterinary issues, among others.
The USSEC consultants participated at two key events of the program, giving presentations featuring the usage of soy for different feeding applications and demonstrating the nutritional benefits of U.S. Soy.
More than 120 people attended the USSEC presentation and follow-up discussions. Dr. Jan van Eys answered a number of questions proving the availability of soy proteins for aquaculture diets. Despite the modest level of current aquaculture and fish farming in Russia, this area has a very high potential for development in the next few years. Domestic production of Hi-Pro soybean meal and soy protein concentrate (SPC), which was started by the Sodrugestvo group in Kaliningrad, coupled with a shortage and a rise in fish meal prices has increased the interest of local feed producers to alternative protein sources derived from soybeans.
Russia already ranks fifth in the world in pork production and is expected to grow further over the next several years.
One day of the Moscow visit was devoted to meeting and consulting with local customers at the booth of Sodrugestvo group, which offered the opportunity to further explain the advantages of U.S. Soy and soy in general in poultry, aqua, and swine rations.
Sodrugestvo is the largest soybean crushing company in Russia and the former Soviet Union region. The company is the largest buyer of U.S. soybeans in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In MY16, it imported half a million metric tons (MT) of U.S. soybeans. T he company was very disappointed with a temporary suspension for the import of U.S. soybeans imposed by Russia in February 2016 and looks forward to its cancellation.
Brazilian meat company BRF has signed an agreement to acquire USSEC customer and Turkish poultry producer Banvit to expand its international presence. Turkey is a bridge between Europe and Middle Eastern countries and BRF plans to use this advantage to produce poultry in Turkey and export to these countries due to the price advantage and Halal certification of Turkish companies.
The enterprise value of Banvit is estimated at $470 million. The transaction will be carried out through a joint venture between BRF and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign fund of Qatar. While BRF will hold a 60 percent stake in the joint venture, QIA will own 40 percent. Banvit, a fully integrated producer, has facilities ranging from feed control to final food processing. It has five feed plants, four hatcheries, and five production plants.
The first phase of the transaction involves the purchase of a 79.5 percent stake in Banvit, followed later by a tender offer for the remaining minority interest of 20.5 percent.
Banvit is a loyal USSEC customer, consuming around 150,000 tons of soybean meal and full fat soy for its poultry production. Banvit representatives have been regular participants in USSEC’s activities in the poultry nutrition, risk management, dairy nutrition, and feed formulation fields since USSEC began its activities in Turkey. This acquisition will drive the growth of Banvit as well as the poultry industry in the next couple of years in Turkey, as well as helping the Turkish poultry industry to export its production to other countries.
USSEC recently organized a technical seminar in Bucharest, Romania to support the development of the consolidation of Romania’s swine industry.
USSEC consultants Dr. Hans Stein and Dr. Jan van Eys visited with key Romanian integrated companies on behalf of USSEC prior to the event. The consultants were invited for field visits that focused on the industrial Romanian swine sector, including integrated feed manufacturers and large size swine farms, owned by local and foreign investors from various countries. The objective of these field visits was to audit the industrial facilities and see where technical advice could be provided in order to improve operations, increase efficiency, and emphasize the advantages of working with U.S. Soy products.
Meeting with feed mill, quality control, and farm managers was instructive and appreciated by the representatives visited. Regular contact between USSEC and its customers enhances the message that needs to be communicated and reminds customers of the importance of quality differences among soy products in addition to what USSEC can mean for these customers – both from a commercial as well as a technical point of view.
The week concluded with the seminar in Bucharest, where more than 25 attendees valued the information conveyed by speakers in regards to soy quality, novel soy ingredients, and swine nutrition.
Currently, the pig production in Romania is in the process of consolidation and pig farmers have understood the need for having sustainable production based on investments in technology, genetics, nutrition, and integration. At this stage, the top swine integrations are controlled by U.S., Chinese, and Danish investors who understood the opportunities coming from the demand and supply ratio: Romania produces 55 percent of the pork meat it consumes.
Given the interest in the various topics discussed during USSEC’s visit to Romania and the need as well as potential for improvements in pig feed manufacturing and farm management, a regular follow-up activity is suggested. This is especially true when considering the opportunity this market offers for growth in livestock production in Romania and the use of value-added U.S. Soy products.
Sutas, a USSEC customer and Turkey’s largest dairy producer, opened its third integrated dairy facility in Izmir, Turkey on December 23 with an investment of $80 million.
Sutas processes 2,200 tons of milk daily and produces 360,000 tons of dairy feed yearly. The company enjoys a 15 percent market share for milk in Turkey with gross sales in 2015 of 2.3 billion Turkish lira (TL) and 2.6 billion TL in 2016.
The investment in Sutas’ new facilities is about $80 million U.S. dollars (USD) and they will process 1000 tons of milk and produce 600 tons per day of feed, along with 6.4 megawatts of electricity and 100 tons of organic fertilizer. Sutas is already collecting 2,200 tons of milk with 8 percent of this amount is coming from their owned dairy farms and the rest collected from 28,000 farmers in different parts of Turkey.
The president, prime minister, minister of agriculture and many other government ministers attended the opening of the new facilities. Sutas executives present included Mr. Yilmaz, president; Mr. Tezel, vice president; and Mrs. Serpil Veral, CEO.
One of Sutas’ main goals in this investment is to export its products to Russia. Russia was importing €5 billion worth of dairy products before the embargo from EU countries, but is now importing these products from Argentina and Brazil. Turkey is producing a large amount of dairy products that they currently export to Russia and Japan, but they will now be producing different types of dairy products giving them a greater opportunity in these markets.
Sutas also acquired dairy companies in Romania and Macedonia and invested $20 million USD in those companies to supply dairy products to the EU. Turkey is currently not allowed to export dairy products to the EU.
Sutas has been in the dairy business for three generations and celebrates its 41st year in the business this year. Their integrated business model is “from the grass to the table” and they opened their first facility in Karacabey /Bursa in 2004 using this model. Since that time, they have invested $620 million USD in this business with 3 facilities. With the new facility, they are estimated to grow 50 percent in 2016.
Sutas is a very good partner to USSEC who regularly participates in USSEC’s events in Turkey and events in other countries, such as the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in the U.S. While many companies are holding their investments in Turkey at this time, Sutas’ investment in Izmir is noteworthy. USSEC congratulates SUTAS for its new investment and trust in the dairy business and the consumption of dairy products.
Ozpekler Trout Company, a customer and supporter of USSEC, will build a fish feed plant in Denizli, Turkey with the first double screw extruder in the country.
Ozpekler Company produces trout, exporting all its production to Europe. The company partners with a Dutch firm for its marketing in the EU. They produce around 5000 tons of trout each year in 5 facilities in the western part of Turkey. The company already has a hatchery, grow-out farms in lakes and concrete pools, and a processing plant, but was missing a feed plant to complete its integration. With this investment, they will become an integrated company.
Ozpekler, the third largest trout producer in Turkey, attends USSEC’s many aqua events in Turkey and in the U.S., including the Kansas State aquafeed manufacturing course, Idaho farm visits, and USSEC’s regional aqua investment conference in Dubai.
As a result of USSEC’s efforts, Ozpekler decided to build its own feed factory, which will have a double screw extruder, the first in Turkey, allowing them to use less starch in their feed and achieving a higher protein content, consuming more U.S. Soy. The company will also have a pulverizer, which will allow them to produce larval feed for baby fish. The location of the feed mill will be in Denizli where Ozpekler has its head office and all other facilities. The capacity of the feed mill will be five tons per hour of extruded feed.
USSEC conducted a technical seminar for the staff of key Russian customer Sodrugestvo on December 5 and 6 in an effort to strengthen relationships and demonstrate its commitment. The Sodrugestvo group, based in the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation, is one of the largest European soy crushing facilities.
USSEC Animal Utilization consultant Dr. Gonzalo Mateos and local consultant Dr. Maria Domoroshchenkova provided two days of technical training for specialists and sales managers from Sodrugestvo’s soybean crushing plants, soy protein concentrate plant, and trade department. About 75 people attended the seminar.
Topics covered these areas of interest: an overview of global and Russian soy markets; modern technologies of soybean processing; antinutritional factors; Russian and international standards for soybean meal; soybean meal versus other protein sources; evaluation of energy and protein quality of soybean meal; soybean origin and soybean meal quality; soy products in animal feeding; energy and amino acid content of soybean meal according to different sources and tables; and an update on the GMO situation.
Soybean consumption in Russia could be increased through an increase of inclusion rates of soy proteins in local feed formulations. The education of local customers on the nutritional benefits of soybean meal and soy protein concentrate (SPC) versus other protein sources and on feasibility of usage of soybean meal and other soy additives in poultry, animal, and aqua diets is vitally important for development of the soy market in Russia.
Sodrugestvo has the largest soybean crushing facilities in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The company started its first crushing plant in 2007 and followed up with facility expansion. Today, Sodrugestvo could crush up to 7,000 metric tons (MT) of soybeans and 1,100 MT of rapeseed per day at the Kaliningrad site. The company manufactures a wide range of soy products including soybean meal, soybean oil, white flakes, SPC, soy lecithin, pelletized soy hulls. The deep-water terminal enables vessel acceptance on pier with capacity up to 30,000 to 50,000 MT.
In FY16, Russia has purchased around 486 thousand metric tons (TMT) of U.S. soybeans. Perdue Inc. is one of the leading suppliers of soybeans to Sodrugestvo. Chicago & Illinois River Marketing and LD Commodities were among other U.S. sellers to Russia this year.
Although short-term soybean market dynamics are disturbed by a temporary U.S. soybean import suspension and trading down impact, middle term and long-term fundamentals remain positive for Russia. This is expected to potentially increase the current usage of soy by the local poultry and swine production industries, development of aquaculture production, and by a growth of soybean crushing capacities of local oil mills.
At the invitation of the Russian Poultry Research Institute (VNITIP), USSEC participated in a poultry technical seminar on December 8.
USSEC consultant Dr. Gonzalo Mateos, accompanied by local USSEC consultant Dr. Maria Domoroshchenkova, attended the seminar, which was themed, “Modern Approaches to Feeding of High Productive Poultry Crosses, Control of Safety of Compound Feeds and Biologically Active Additives, New Technologies in Feed Production” in Sergiev Posad, the ancient Russian town which originated in the 15th century around one of the greatest Russian monasteries, the Trinity Lavra, located 70 kilometers from Moscow.
Over the last three years, USSEC consultants have become regular and respected visitors at such seminars, sharing with Russian customers the modern global and European trends in poultry production and feeding programs, new developments in soy feed additives production and control, the nutritional value and benefits of U.S. Soy versus other protein sources, and other issues.
A total of about 80 people attended the seminar. Attendees were predominantly representatives of feed mills, poultry farms, and feed additives and vet preparations companies from different regions of Russia.
Dr. Mateos gave a presentation, “Broiler Production in the Absence of ‘In Feed Antibiotics’: Diet Modification and Use of Functional Additives.” Dr. Mateos in his presentation, alongside with other poultry feeding questions/issues, compared the nutritive value of different protein sources widely used by the EU and Russian poultry industries and emphasized the importance of the uniformity of protein ingredients in modern poultry diets. He demonstrated the benefits of soy products in poultry feeding versus other protein sources and provided data for understanding quality differences in soybean meal (including differences in origin) and the impact on broiler production. The quality benefits of U.S. Soy products was clearly appreciated and recognized. The presentation was well received as evidenced by the number of questions and reactions. Although the organizers of the seminar allocated an hour and half in the program for Dr. Mateos’s presentation, it was still not quite enough time, and discussions continued after the end of the session. Obviously, the topics presented were of high interest to the Russian customers.
Local poultry farms are the principle users of soybean meal in Russia, compared to other animal producers. Russia’s poultry production has been rising significantly in the past few years. Russia is the world’s fourth largest producer of poultry meat and the sixth largest producer of eggs. The poultry meat production growth rate in Russia is six times higher than the world average. Poultry meat occupies a 48 percent share in the structure of meat production in Russia in 2016, according to the estimates of the Russian Poultry Union.
There is a serious potential for the growth of demand of soybean meal via an increase of ratio of soy proteins in local feed formulations. USSEC’s marketing efforts are beneficial for the promotion of soy additives in poultry feeding programs at the nutritionally recommended dosage and will contribute to the growth of demand in U.S. Soy.
USSEC participated in EuroTier 2016 from November 15-18 in Hannover, Germany.
Brent Babb, USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA and five of USSEC’s European contractors traveled to Germany for this event.
EuroTier is the world’s leading trade show for animal husbandry, including livestock feed production, which attracts exhibitors from all over the world to present their innovations for dairy and beef cattle and pig and poultry farming, as well as participants from the fields of aquaculture, sheep and goat growing, and buildings and equipment. In addition to the latest innovations, visitors also find a wide range of special side events, including technical presentations, press conferences, and panel discussions that provide plenty of opportunities to learn and share information with other industry members.
As the leading trade fair in its sector, EuroTier provides a comprehensive overview of innovative technology, services, and genetics for modern livestock production. It focuses on farm inputs especially for livestock farmers, such as feeds and ingredients, as well as relevant equipment and technology, including grain and oilseed processing, livestock feed mixing equipment, quality control systems, and many tools used in modern animal agriculture.
Attracting more than 2500 exhibitors and approximately 150,00 – 160,000 visitors from Germany and over 100 other countries, the EuroTier 2016 show was the place to be for USSEC’s European team.
“EuroTier provides a great place for USSEC team members to meet with key customers and also to discuss future programs with industry experts,” explained Mr. Babb. The team planned several events for 2017 with industry contacts including a feed technology meeting in Romania, two sustainability meetings in Germany, and a tentative sustainability media tour in Fall 2017.
Eugene Philhower, USSEC commercial contractor-North Europe; Jan van Eys, USSEC regional EU contractor based in France; Iani Chihaia, USSEC contractor – Southeast Europe; Jerzy Kosieradzki, USSEC contractor – Northeast Europe; and Sirri Kayhan, USSEC contractor – Turkey, spent two days at EuroTier updating their knowledge of technological innovations, studying competitors’ products and offers, and renewing contacts with soy buyers and users from many European countries.
An added bonus was an opportunity for USSEC’s European team to meet and discuss various current programs, administrative procedures, and plans for the coming year 2017.
Nearly ten years ago, the Polish government introduced a legal ban on GM animal feeds, although the ban has never been implemented due to the high dependency of Polish livestock production upon soybean meal imports (two million metric tons [MMT] imported annually). The present moratorium on putting the ban into operation ends on December 31 of this year. The Polish feed and livestock and food industries undertook a number of initiatives to ensure the ban will be abolished or at least suspended for a few more years. One of the projects in their pro-biotech campaign was the publication of a special biotech insert in Gazeta Wyborcza, a top Polish daily newspaper. USSEC joined its Polish industry customers as a provider of professional information and a co-funder of the publication.
The insert was devoted to the theme “Agriculture: Safe, Efficient & Responsible” and consisted of several articles and interviews with governmental officials, scientists, industry organizations executives, and independent experts. “Animal Feeds with GM Soy” was the special feature of the insert’s edition.
The article titled “Green Biotechnology” was written by Jerzy Kosieradzki, USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe, and Iwona Kosieradzka, professor of animal nutrition at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, and explained how ideology and multi-billion dollar interests of organic food corporations purposefully confuse consumers about biotech products. It highlighted the many benefits biotech crops offer to farmers, processors, and consumers around the world. The authors also reported on countless research institutions and scientific experts that had proven the safety of GM foods and feeds.
The message concluded that biotech soybeans continue to strongly contribute to the sustainability of the Polish and European food chains.
In a long interview, Professor Józef Brzóska, animal nutritionist at the Animal Production Institute in Krakow, Poland, referred to the results of a complex Polish research program funded by the Polish government that tested major corn and soybean GM varieties marketed around the world in fields and livestock production. The team of Polish scientists came to a clear conclusion that these GM crops were as safe for the environment and livestock and humans as conventional crops.
In another interview, Ewa Lech, Deputy Farm Minister spoke on the motives that caused the Polish agricultural authorities to propose to the government and parliament to extend the use of GM soy in livestock feeds for another four years.
USSEC recently participated in the European Bourse trade show in Turin, Italy, meeting with the largest soy importers in the European market.
Belinda Burrier, United Soybean Board (USB) director from Maryland, and Kevin Hoyer, American Soybean Association (ASA) director from Wisconsin, along with USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA Brent Babb and USSEC consultant Lola Herrera, attended the Bourse and also visited soy industry facilities of Italy’s two largest feed mills and its largest crusher. Additionally, the group meet with livestock industry and value-added food industry contacts in the prosciutto ham and Parmigiano cheese industry.
The European Bourse is the most important annual meeting for the grains and oilseeds agricultural and trading industry in Europe with about 3,000 attendees.
During the Bourse, the U.S. Soy delegation talked with European soy importers from ADM, Cargill, Bunge, and Louis Dreyfus. The feed industry was represented by some of Europe’s largest companies: Sanders from France, Veronesi and Amadori from Italy, and DUKA from Germany among others.
Prior to the Bourse, the group travelled to northern Italy, visiting the main soy industry companies. In Milan, they visited Cereal Docks, meeting with Giorgio della Bona. Cereal Docks is the main crusher in Italy, crushing 2,000 tons per day of non-GMO beans, from local production and 3,000 tons per day from the U.S. and other origins. Near Milan, the team also met with Veronesi, the largest feed producer in Italy, producing more than three million tons of feed annually for their own use to produce meat, poultry, and pork. Next, the group travelled to the port of Ravenna on the Adriatic Sea to visit the feed and soy full fat plant belonging to Amadori, the second largest company in feed and meat production in Italy. The purchasing and production team provided a tour of the plant, producing 50,000 metric tons (MT) of feed and 10,000 MT of full fat soy monthly. All feed production is used for their own consumption in poultry and livestock as the company is fully integrated.
USSEC attended a series of events and meetings in Europe from October 16-20.
USSEC consultant David Green of the U.S. Sustainability Alliance and USSEC Project Manager – Market Access/FTO Katie Williams attended SIAL Paris (a major international food exhibition) and the U.N’s Committee on World Food Security event in Rome, in addition to conducting one-on-one meetings in Brussels, Belgium and Dordrecht, Netherlands.
“During SIAL Paris and our meetings in Brussels and Rome, David and I were able to have face to face meetings with contacts from various Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) offices, retailers, food processors, and others,” stated Ms. Williams. “During these conversations, we were able to discern that European retailers are extremely interested in sustainability and recognize the potential for collaboration.”
Changing mindsets takes time. The successes of the Global Broad-based Initiative (GBI) program over the past two years are steps in the right direction, says Ms. Williams. Ongoing dialogue and communication with contacts made to date and with new stakeholders was appreciated by EU stakeholders. This base of contacts will be leveraged and built on to further improve the understanding and appreciation of the reality of sustainability and conservation in the U.S. The sustainability and conservation production processes used in U.S. agriculture, forestry, and fishery products are viewed positively by European audiences following outreach, education and information exchange on missions such as the above.
USSEC’s participation helps communicate to European audiences that U.S. agriculture and industry is sustainable and that many cooperators participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation schemes. Also, the fact that some 95 percent of farms in the U.S. are family farms and that the U.S. has been enacting conservation laws and policies for more than 100 years were two points which were both new and enlightening to the European audience.
At the recent Consumer Goods Forum’s Sustainable Retail Summit in Paris, USSEC sponsored a special breakout session focused on sustainable U.S. Soy.
Brent Babb, USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA opened the session by providing an overview of USSEC and the history and range of conservation efforts undertaken by U.S. producers. Mr. Babb described the four pillars of the U.S. Sustainable Soy Assurance Protocol (SSAP) – biodiversity and high carbon stock, production practices, health and welfare, and continuous improvement – while noting that to date, certificates have been issued for almost six million tons of U.S. Soy exports.
United Soybean Board (USB) director Nancy Kavazanjian spoke about the conservation efforts on her fourth generation family farm in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Ms. Kavazanjian noted that conservation measures, such as no-till and cover crops, reduce soil erosion and improve soil quality, demonstrating her family’s commitment to continuous improvement, a key aspect of sustainable production.
Dr. Marty Matlock of the University of Arkansas spoke about the metrics and indicators collected and used to measure advancements toward the agreed upon sustainability goals for U.S. soybean producers. Dr. Matlock elaborated on the continuous improvement efforts and noted the commitment by U.S. Soy producers to continue their sustainability drive as measured by the five key indicators of land use, water and energy use, soil erosion, and greenhouse gas emissions.
The conference brought together a wide range of businesses along the food value chain, including CEOs from major European retailers. The USSEC delegation engaged with the conference participants and explained how the SSAP relates to the Consumer Goods Forum’s sustainable soy sourcing guidelines and USSEC’s efforts to promote and inform key European contacts on the SSAP.
USSEC recently provided a dairy program to key Polish dairy farmers, managers and nutrition advisors. The first phase of the two-phase activity, featured in the U.S. Soy News on October 18, was a dairy nutrition and management seminar for industry members from all over Poland. Phase two was an on-farm dairy training, organized jointly with the Polish importer and distributor of AminoPlus® bypass soybean meal.
Two experts were invited to Poland to work with the local dairy industry: Dr. Lynn Davis, Nutrition Professionals Inc., of Neenah, Wisconsin, and Dr. Jan van Eys, GANS and USSEC consultant, of Paris, France. Drs. Davis and van Eys were supported by USSEC Northeast Europe Technical Director Jerzy Kosieradzki and Piotr Chełminiak, Dairy Feed Department Manager at the ETOS feed company. The team spent a week visiting farms in the western part of Poland to provide their ideas for improvements of the local dairy feeding programs and managerial practices. Their opinions and ideas for adjustments were given to the local farmers and staff responsible for nutrition, health, breeding and management of the dairy herds. Whenever needed, feedstuffs samples were taken and sent to ETOS feed company’s laboratory to be thoroughly analyzed and a follow-up visit to the farms will be made later by the Polish company’s dairy nutrition advisors.
Concerning AminoPlus® usage, the team encountered situations where the U.S. bypass soybean meal was successfully used, such as at a dairy farm at Godziątków, owned by the Jaworowicz family. The imported meal contributed to their high milk production, which was close to 12,000 liters per cow annually, in this large operation. There were also farms where the managers forced too many ingredients into the diet optimization software or introduced too many restrictions, causing elimination of AminoPlus® from the actual feeding. Each time the explanation was same: the bypass meal is just too expensive! In these cases, either Dr. Davis or Dr. van Eys had to remove the unjustified restrictions and let the computer choose optimal ingredients at optimal levels and, believe or not, AminoPlus® always found a place in the diet.
At each location, locally available protein-rich ingredients and additives were discussed and tips for their utilization were shared with the farmers. Nutritional values of soybean meal as compared to the other protein sources were also checked and often-helpful adjustments were proposed.
While most of the work done by the USSEC consultants concentrated on high yielding dairy cows, they also paid attention to how calves and replacement heifers are fed and managed. As the future of the dairy operations, the young-stock required better housing and feeding, which was not always easy to follow in a long period of very low profitability in the Polish dairy sector. Only the smartest farmers were making such an investment in the next generation of their milking cows.
While USSEC ‘s marketing program in Poland focuses mainly on working with poultry and swine feed manufacturing industries, the dairy sector has not been overlooked as offering considerable potential to use U.S. soybean Hi-Pro meal and bypass meal as well.
In FY16, USSEC combined financial and human resources with a Polish feed compounder and feedstuff distributor, ETOS, to organize a dairy nutrition and management seminar, which was attended by almost 70 dairy growers and managers from many provinces.
The main speakers at the seminar were Dr. Jan van Eys, USSEC contractor based in France, and Dr. Lynn Davis, Nutrition Professionals Inc. of Neenah, Wisconsin.
Dr. van Eys explained the feeding of dairy cows during the so-called transition period (four weeks before calving and for another few weeks after calving) that plays a critical role in the cows’ milk production, health, reproduction and length of their productive life. Dr. Davis, who has worked for 30 years as a nutritional advisor to commercial dairies in Wisconsin and Colorado and co-owns three dairy farms in Wisconsin, discussed the management of dairy farms. Dr. Davis’s second presentation focused on staying ahead of the curve by adapting to evolving farm environment.
Other presentations were offered by local experts, including Marcin Winkowski of DSM-Poland and Piotr Chełminiak of ETOS, who highlighted nutritional products and services that contribute to the improved feeding efficiency of various components and overall success in a dairy operation. Quality control and assurance system was another important topic covered at the seminar, partially in the conference room and partially at ETOS’s feedstuff quality control laboratory, where Małgorzata Jędrzejczak, head of the lab, explained what the company does for their clients. The principles and benefits of GMP+ quality assurance system that is in place at ETOS were also presented to the visitors.
After the seminar, USSEC followed up with participants about their impressions and evaluation of the completed seminar and received positive opinions from the vast majority of attendees. Małgorzata Lisiecka, co-owner and manager of a 1200 head dairy complex at Czechnów in the western part of Poland said, “It was a very useful event and learning from the two experienced foreign experts allowed us to pick up some smart ideas we can implement in our operation. Like the software Dr. Davis recommended to us to use to monitor the time cows spend on various things during the day – this simple tool and approach has potential to save money.”
USSEC recently held practical training for eastern European customers, on the heels of its three-day in-class swine nutrition and management course held in Spain (see U.S. Soy News, October 11, 2016, for more information on that portion of the seminar). The two to three days of practical training was held at farms, feed mills, research facilities, providers of commercial services to farmers and manufacturers, suppliers of ingredients and additives, and quality control laboratories.
Having completed their intensive theoretical training in Madrid, customers from Poland, Belarus, Romania, Czech Republic and Russia toured the many swine producing and feed manufacturing sites scattered in various places in Spain. While accompanied by two key trainers, USSEC consultants Dr. Gonzalo G. Mateos and Dr. Juan Acedo-Rico, the trainees had the opportunity to speak with the many commercial specialists at the operations visited and check with them on how various procedures and technological solutions work in a day-to-day reality.
At COBADU cooperative, Dr. Eduardo Bueno, Chief of Nutrition, led the group around the coop’s feedstuffs drying and initial processing facilities, feed mill making feeds for monogastric animals, ruminant feed mill, feedstuff warehouses and quality control lab and answered a multitude of the participants’ questions. Dr. Rafael Sanchez, General Manger, explained to them the economic and productive system the cooperative uses in its business.
Visiting CEP experimental swine farm, a 500-sow unit, the eastern European customers were hosted by Joaquin Morales, Veterinarian in Charge, who explained the farm’s technological set-up and some studies run by the institution as a service to the industry. 3F company (Feeds & Foods Factory), was another case, where the group was hosted by Dr. Mario Garcia, one of the lecturers at the seminar completed earlier in the week, who showed them around the plant that makes livestock nutritional products out of organic acid, enzymes and other liquid additives and explained the practical aspects of such products utilization in swine diets.
At every stage of the practical training part of the course, the trainers pointed out the nutritional and economic aspects of optimal utilization of soybean products in livestock production with a special focus on swine production in which Spain holds the number one position in Europe. At COBADU, the students could see soybean extrusion operation and learn about the benefits gained by the local farmers, who feed it to their livestock.
In early September, USSEC held a one-day seminar, “Near Infrared Spectroscopy and Feed Microscopy,” in Bucharest, Romania, with the aim to support the Romanian feed industry to adopt Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) and microscopy technologies as tools for quality control and to detect potential adulteration of raw materials and feeds.
Quality control representatives, feed mill managers, and nutritionists from Romania attended the event and showed great interest in learning more about how to properly interpret the statistic results from NIRS analysis and how to implement qualitative analysis of soybean meals of different origins.
“Great care should be taken in developing NIRS calibrations as problems can arise when the primary methods do not define well the chemical constituent, and sample preparation is not as consistent as required,” Dr. Paloma Rebollar, professor at the University Politecnica in Madrid, Spain, emphasized at the seminar. “Besides proximal composition analysis, NIRS can be used for determining metabolizable energy, protein and phosphorous digestibility, and for the analysis of starch and non-starch polysaccharides, etc. It can be used to identify origin of soybean meals and to perform authenticity checks. In addition, heat damaged protein, fungal contamination and adulteration can be detected with modern pattern recognition software,” she added.
Dr. Roser Sala Paralles of Univeristy Autonoma in Barcelona, Spain recommended that participants adopt the feed microscopy as a fast and inexpensive quality control tool in their routine laboratory analysis, taking into account compliance with the specific raw materials used in a particular production process and available on the particular market and geographic location, specifically the geographic origin of available soybean meals in the Romanian market.
Prior to the seminar, USSEC organized visits to relevant feed mills and quality control, providing participants with the opportunity of knowing available analytical techniques and current practices used by the Romanian feed quality control labs, and the opportunity to discuss with quality control managers and nutritionists their main concerns on quality, variability and adulteration of soybean meal.
The individual meetings with laboratories at the feed mills and with nutritionists and researchers were informative and allowed participants to gain a better understanding of the Romanian feed and livestock’s actual reality and the potential for progress and expansion.
The Romanian feed and livestock industries clearly show the opportunities and potential that exists in this particular market for growth in livestock production and, consequently, the use of U.S. Soy products. Continuous promotional efforts to accompany the growth of this market and positioning of U.S. Soy in this market will be continued.