The Greater Europe region is a key market for the U.S. Soy industry in both whole soybeans and soymeal exports.
With a population of 850 million people, the region represents 27 percent of the world’s GDP (for comparison purposes, the GDP of the U.S. is 23 percent of the global GDP), although its GDP growth is essentially flat.
Europe represents 11 percent of U.S. soybean and soymeal exports at 6,500,00 MT (238 million bushels). The 10 countries of Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Italy, United Kingdom, Denmark, Portugal, Turkey and Russia import over 150,000 MT of U.S. Soy. U.S. East Coast exports to Europe are strong.
This growing market share for U.S. soybean meal demonstrates an increasing preference for U.S. meal, and the reliability of U.S. Soy export shipments has helped increase U.S. soybean exports to European markets. An increasing awareness of quality differences by soy production origin is occurring in Europe and is supportive of U.S. Soy’s advantages.
The U.S. Soy industry holds a competitive advantage in the Greater Europe region because of its work in the area of sustainability, which is of increasing importance to the European food and feed industry. As mentioned previously, NEVEDI approved the SSAP as a sustainable program in early 2015, and USSEC has worked closely with the European feed association, FEFAC, as it develops its sustainable scheme for the feed industry throughout Europe. USSEC also submitted the SSAP to the European Commission for use under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) in April 2015 and continues discussion and review for its approval.
Europe is the world’s second largest GMO soy importer behind China. Approximately 90 percent of commercial feed produced in Europe is GMO. The European food industry, however, continues to greatly limit the use of GMO products due to labelling restrictions and a strong NGO presence. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and the EU is being negotiated and could potentially create a quicker import approval process for Ag biotech events.
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USSEC, in collaboration with Assalzoo (Italian Feed Association) and FCStone, recently held a risk management course in Verona, Italy.
25 people representing the Italian feed industry and soy crushers and importers attended the course, representing more than 70 percent of the industry. Participants from the main feed and meat production industry included the Veronesi Group and the Amadori and Martini Group. Italy’s feed industry produces nearly 13 millions tons annually, plus feed on farm, importing 2.2 million tons of soybean meal; the crush industry represents 2 million tons.
The objective of the course was to improve knowledge of risk management in the feed industry related to raw material used. Jaime Nolan Miralles and Rory Deverell, from FCStone Ireland, gave several presentations and provided tools for participants to apply in their businesses to better control their risk.
For these types of events, USSEC stresses the quality and sustainability of U.S. Soy. Brent Babb, USSEC Regional Director – European Union (EU) / Middle East – North Africa (MENA) discussed “The Sustainability of U.S. Soy” and Lola Herrera, USSEC South Europe consultant, presented “USSEC’s Compromise with the Italian Market” that explained USSEC’s projects in Italy and “Soybean Meal Replacement from Different Origins, Taking Quality into Account,” to highlight the added value of U.S. Soy.
USSEC hosted the Advanced Poultry Nutrition & Feed Manufacturing Seminar in Warsaw, Poland on March 20 and 21 for top Polish professionals involved in commercial poultry feed manufacturing. The majority of the audience represented major feed compounders operating in Poland, including Cargill, DeHeus, Wipasz, Golpasz, Piast, Ekoplon, and Tasomix, along with some smaller, but quality-oriented companies such as Neorol, Nutripol, Lira, ETOS, and Pasze BIOS.
Because the event was jointly organized by USSEC with the Polish Grain & Feed Chamber, Jerzy W. Kosieradzki, USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe, and Anna Zymerman, the Chamber’s Secretary General, welcomed the audience. Mr. Kosieradzki also introduced the participants to USSEC, its goals, and its activities.
A trio of renowned scientists and commercial specialists from Spain and Norway shared their knowledge: Dr. Gonzalo Mateos, professor of animal science at the University of Madrid; Dr. Birger Svihus, University of Life Sciences in Oslo, Norway; and Mr. Juan Acedo-Rico, Acedo & Associates, Spain.
Dr. Mateos spoke about the relationship between soybean meal’s physical properties, anti-nutritional factors, and their effects on birds’ performance. He later explained the factors affecting egg production in layers and how to influence broiler production with nutritional changes.
Dr. Svihus presented ways to optimize crop and gizzard functions through structural components and feeding management, later moving to influencing feed efficiency, litter quality, and gut health to eventually focus on how to adjust feed processing for maximum pellet durability.
Mr. Acedo-Rico added the engineering side of the picture by explaining efficient poultry feed manufacturing and the importance of diet meal conditioning for hygienic feed production, as well as grinding strategies at the feed mill for achieving adequate particle size.
After two days of lectures and discussions, the Polish audience was highly appreciative of the professional merit of the event and cutting edge know-how support provided to them by U.S. Soy.
USSEC attended the National Conference of the Romanian Feed Manufacturers Association, hosted by Smithfield, on March 16 and 17 in Timisoara City, Romania. Over 80 industry delegates and 10 foreign speakers from European and U.S. organizations participated in this event.
The USSEC delegation included American Soybean Association (ASA) vice president Bret Davis and United Soybean Board (USB) director David Iverson, and USSEC Regional Director – European Union (EU) / Middle East – North Africa (MENA) Brent Babb who traveled to Romania with the goal to increase awareness of U.S. Soy and promote sustainable U.S. Soy among members of the Romanian Feed Manufacturer Association.
After a brief introduction of USSEC provided by Mr. Babb, Mr. Davis spoke on “U.S. Soybeans’ Sustainability and Biotechnology” and Mr. Iverson discussed “U.S. Soy Outlook for 2017.” Both presentations were well-received by the audience and fit the conference agenda entitled “Security, Safety, and Sustainability for Increasing Competitiveness of the Feed Industry.”
In addition to the sustainability presentations made by the keynote speakers from USSEC, DSM, and Smithfield Romania, the audience was exposed to presentations approaching new sustainable feed products including extruded linseed or feed additives such as soy chelates. The event also provided the delegates with insight on the latest trends in raw materials, feed additives, and feed manufacturing, besides creating ample opportunities for feed companies and suppliers to interact and network.
USSEC Animal Utilization Consultant – Romania Dr. Iani Chihaia, acting as a facilitator for this event stated, “The solid presence and support of USSEC confirms our belief that the local feed and livestock industries will expand in the near future. We hope that the Feed Association will continue to serve as a platform for the industry players that allows our members to grow and implement the latest standards in safe and sustainable production.”
During the second day of the event, participants were invited to tour Smithfield’s Ferme Feed Mill, located in Vinga, Arad County. Over 60 people had the chance to take a tour to the largest and uniquely American-designed and -engineered feed mill in the country. The plant is an example of a feed manufacturer being able to produce different feeds under the latest safe and sustainable feed industry standards.
According to an ANFNC press release about the event, the conference in Timisoara was by far the best meeting of the feed association since its inception. Romanian representatives who attended and listened to the presentations were truly impressed with Smithfield’s overall organization, the quality of speakers and presentations, and the networking opportunities.
As for the foreign speakers and sponsors of the conference, the event allowed them to get a better understanding of the Romanian feed and livestock actual reality and potential for progress and expansion. It clearly showed the opportunities and potential that exists in this particular market for growth in livestock production and, consequently, the use of sustainable feed additives and manufacturing technologies, with U.S. Soy being one of the key products in this regard. Even though Romania is not one of the largest soy markets in Europe, its livestock and feed industries are growing and set a good example for other Eastern European countries to develop their industries.
Having USSEC delegates participating and giving speeches at the conference and offering support over the past several years for the development of ANFNC, as a strong professional organization and professional forum, is probably one of the most important success stories on how U.S. Soy farmers are committed to building relationships with European industry professionals and end users. USSEC will continue its promotional efforts to accompany the growth of this market and to position U.S. products in this market.
American Soybean Association (ASA) vice president Bret Davis and United Soybean Board (USB) director David Iverson traveled to Romania during the third week of March to visit with key soy importers and end users, including Bunge Romania, Banvit Romania, Combial – Bona Avis, Fatrom Swine Integration, and Smithfield Ferme. The delegation also visited the Animal Nutrition Research Institute (IBNA) to meet with shareholders, executives, and technical staff from customer companies. USSEC Regional Director European Union (EU) / Middle East-North Africa (MENA) Brent Babb joined the delegation and USSEC Animal Utilization Consultant – Romania Dr. Iani Chihaia escorted the group for the field visits.
The main goal of the grower leaders’ mission was to convey a strong message on the U.S. Soy Advantage and demonstrate the commitment of U.S. Soy farmers to the growing feed and livestock industries in Romania.
The week began with an informative meeting with Monica Dobrescu, Ag Specialist at Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) – Bucharest. Currently, Romania is the second largest EU 27 producer of maize and the top producers of sunflower seeds. With fertile soils and access to technologies, the country is producing annually over 20,000 metric tons (MT) of these products, but still exporting over 60 percent of the cereals and importing about half of the pork meat. The pork meat deficit and growing demand for animal products from the domestic and export markets has attracted several local and foreign investments (U.S., China, Denmark Holland, Turkey, Greece, and Switzerland) in the swine, poultry, and beef industries.
The delegation of U.S. Soy farmers had a tight and intensive program of visits, which gave them the chance to discover and understand Romania, one of the most important agriculture producing countries in Europe. Field visits were informative and allowed them to get a better understanding of the local farming sector, the reality of the feed and livestock industries, and the potential for progress and expansion. This helped the grower leaders to understand the opportunities and potential that exists in the Romanian market for growth in animal production and consequently, in the use of U.S. Soy products.
Continuing to support U.S. Soy customers will assist the development of this market and better position U.S. Soy products, especially because the companies and people visited during the week were very positive toward USSEC and U.S. Soy, standing to reason that the extra effort in supporting the current developments will deliver major returns in the near future.
USSEC hosted a one-day seminar in Bucharest during the first week of March for Romanian and Bulgarian nutritionists and feed mill managers with the goal to emphasize the efficient use and processing of U.S. Soy quality.
Through the papers presented at the seminar, consultants delivered a strong and clear take-home message: U.S. soybean amino acids’ digestibility and energy higher values advantages can better solve challenges of balancing feeds, high animal performances, and profitability. In addition, U.S. Soy farmers, as trusted suppliers, are able to supply the needs of today’s European feed industry for sustainably sourced ingredients.
“The audience enjoyed the information about relationship between soybean meal physical properties, anti-nutritional factors, and effects on animal performances,” stated USSEC consultant Dr. Gonzalo Mateos, professor of animal science at the University of Madrid, Spain. “There were very good interactions with participants regarding soybean meal attributes: particle size and particle size distribution, bulk density, color, trypsin inhibitors, urease and solubility indexes and how these properties impacts poultry and pigs performances. Several studies have been demonstrated that U.S. soybean meal is by far a superior ingredient compared to other origins soybean meals.”
Prior to and after the event, USSEC consultants Dr. Mateos, Dr. Birger Svihus, and Dr. Juan Acedo were escorted by USSEC Animal Utilization Consultant – Romania Dr. Iani Chihaia on field visits, with the goal of meeting soy end users and looking at the challenges that they are facing and how USSEC can provide solutions and maximize demand for U.S. Soy.
By the end of the activity, technical people from companies visited and seminar participants gained more knowledge about U.S. Soy’s positive attributes and, in this way, preference for U.S. Soy continues to be built.