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.
Greater Europe Directory
Greater Europe News
For more than two decades, the Polish Grain & Feed Chamber has been one of the most influential industry associations in Poland. The organization is also very active in Europe through its membership in the European Feed Industry Federation (FEFAC), the European grain industry lobby group (COCERAL), and, most recently, the European Commodities Exchange. The U.S. Soy industry has long worked with the Chamber on many issues, including channeling professional know-how to the Polish grain, feed, livestock and food industries.
On April 21, when the Chamber held its general assembly of members in Warsaw, USSEC brought Beat Spaeth, EuropaBio, director of Green Biotechnology, to speak to this audience on “The Present and Future of Biotechnology in Global & European Agriculture and Food Chain.” Mr. Spaeth explained the massive adoption of biotech crops in the world: in 2015, 18 million farmers in 28 countries planted biotech crops on 179.7 million hectares (approximately 444 million acres), which is just a marginal decline since 2014, despite furious attacks from opponents. “Could 18 million farmers be wrong about this new technology?” the speaker asked the Polish audience.
Speaking about the benefits that biotech crops and their derivatives offer to farmers and consumers, Mr. Spaeth highlighted the sustainability aspect of green biotechnology: production of more food on less land, reduced inputs use, reduced soil erosion, and lower CO2 emissions. The events that are in the public research institutions’ and the biotech industry’s pipeline will bring more benefits, such as resistance to new diseases, better insect and weed control, tolerance of drought and salty conditions, higher nitrogen use efficiency, better livestock feed efficiency and improved biofuel traits. The speaker stressed the consumer benefits, especially more healthy edible oils and enhanced nutritional value.
Commenting on the attitude to green biotechnology and regulatory practices in the EU, Mr. Spaeth pointed to the common hypocrisy at both Brussels’ and member states’ levels, namely stated support to innovation in agriculture and practiced expelling innovation by delaying authorization for imports, blocking applications for cultivation, and the sharp reduction of field trials. These actions cause the commercial biotech pipelines to focus not on Europe, but on other continents.
USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe Jerzy W. Kosieradzki thanked the Polish professional audience and the leaders of the Polish Grain & Feed Chamber for taking the lead in the local battle for extension of the moratorium on implementation of the Polish legal ban on GM feeds that was partially successful. The date of the ban’s implementation was set for January 1, 2019, not 2021, as the industry originally proposed.
In an effort to assist continuous knowledge and skills improvement for U.S. Soy customers from the European countries of Russia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey, USSEC organized an on-site training at two relevant integrated companies, Copiso Coop and DAGU Feed Mill, located near Madrid, Spain.
USSEC consultant Dr. Mateos Gonzalo coordinated the event, which offered participants a broader view of the manufacturing, quality standards, and good practices in Spain during the last week of March. Spain is the second largest feed compound producer in the EU 27, with an annual production of 31 million tons of compound feed and is also one of the top U.S. Soy customers in the region.
The on-site feed mill training has important merits, including unique learning opportunities for both participants and hosts. All participants had the chance to interact at a higher level and bring theoretical discussions and topics to commercial production situations, making topics of interest more tangible and easier to understand.
The first company visited by the team of USSEC trainees was Copiso Feed Mill in Valcobra, part of a fast-growing cooperative from the Soria area in Spain. Copiso offers fertilizers, grains drying, veterinary and transportation services, compound feed and other products to its members, as well as warehousing, swine insemination centers, and related services. The cooperative was founded 50 years ago and its organizational structure is an excellent model for the growing Eastern European agriculture.
DAGU Feed Mill was the second integrator to open its gates for the USSEC training. DAGU is a leader in the egg sector and one of the first operators in the egg export trade from Spain. The company has acquired experience over the last 50 years working in the poultry-farming sector, always maintaining a leadership position. The company has modern equipment and technologies in all production process points: raw materials reception, feed manufacturing, egg production, grading, packing, and processing. All the processes at DAGU, for both the production and marketing of the eggs and egg products are strictly controlled by their own laboratory, which has state of the art technology and complies with the strictest standards of control, thus offering our customers a top quality product.
The field visits at the Copiso Cooperative and Dagu Feed Mills were perfect opportunities for the participants to visit companies to exchange information about the current practices in raw materials quality control systems and feed additives usage in different European countries. Besides learning about the latest advances in raw materials quality, students had the opportunity to understand the Spanish experience in feed quality control under EU laws and regulations and near future challenges in feed additives use.
Learning from the experience of integrated companies from the Soria and Guadalajara areas was highly interesting. Spain is perhaps one of the most noteworthy markets from the point of view of industry organization. The business model of cooperatives and integrated companies has some particularities in Spain: poultry and pork meat producers are acting more like partners with feed manufacturers, meat processing, marketing, and distributors. Animal farmers receive all the feed, drugs, and vet services from the integrator, based on prices agreed between the two parties. This gives the freedom to feed manufacturers to adapt the feed formulation based on the raw materials availability and price in the market.
With eight ports across the Iberian Peninsula, Spain has significant advantages in importing feed ingredients and exporting meat. The country’s strategic location gives the feed and livestock industries the ability to reach any market from Europe and Asia.
During the last week of March, USSEC held a feed additives training course in Madrid, Spain for Central and Eastern European, Russian, and Turkish customers. The classes were designed to develop skills and upgrade knowledge of young industry professionals from six different countries, all growing in the feed and livestock sectors and in the consumption of soybean meal.
The three-day program, coordinated by USSEC consultant Dr. Gonzalo Mateos of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, focused on feed additives as related to the efficient production of improved animal products, animal health, and a better environment. Participants learned the latest in research findings for energy and protein ingredients, the proper use of feed additives, and how to stay at the forefront of new nutritional developments for the feed and livestock industries.
The evaluation of crystalline amino acids in animal feeding was another important topic for the participants, learning about their nutritive value, quality control methods, and future perspectives regarding commercial availability of amino acids for the feed industry. Dr. Mateos discussed the advantages of feeding animals with vegetable protein sources, which are cheaper and safer than animal protein diets and how to use feed additives to get better animal performances.
Besides learning about the latest advances in feed additives, participants had the opportunity to understand the Spanish experience in the field of feed safety under EU laws and regulations.
The training classes continued with a one-day visit to the largest animal trade show, which takes place every two years in the Aragon province. On March 30, the entire USSEC training delegation visited the 13th FIGAN 2017 animal production tradeshow in Zaragoza, Spain. The fair has more than 70,000 visitors, an increase of 10 percent compared to 2015 with 40 nationalities present at the event.
Dr. Mateos and Dr. Juan Acedo escorted the USSEC delegation, which had the chance to learn the latest about various feed manufacturing, additives, and animal farming technologies. The course director and USSEC consultants escorting the group facilitated individual contacts and discussions between members of the USSEC delegation and feed additives and feed manufacturing technology suppliers.
The training achieved its goals to educate customers in recent advances in feed additives. All the participants had a clear understanding about how more can be squeezed out from soybean meal and grains by the proper use of feed additives for improving the nutritive utilization by non-ruminant animals.
Last week, USSEC organized an innovative protein purchasing seminar in Madrid, Spain. Major southern European soy importers, traders, and end users met with the objective of talking about issues related to the soy market and other protein markets. Seminar subjects included: production, logistics, markets, trade, industry, flows, price building, sustainability, GMOs, customer preferences, quality differentiation in relation with production origins, and risk management, among others.
This meeting was organized for the Spanish and Portuguese industry. USSEC will hold similar seminars in other parts of Europe, building on the success in the Southern Europe market.
The session took place over a day and a half. Course attendees included feed industry representatives, soy crushers, and importers. In total, 80 people representing nearly 100 percent of the industry participated, including representatives from the main feed and meat industry such as Vall Company, Nutreco, Coren, Coorporación Agropecuaria, the Guissona, and many more. Soy crushers such as Bunge and Cargill, Sovena and all importers, Cofco, Gavilon, Nidera, Dreyfus also attended. The Spanish soy crush industry is one of the three biggest in the European Union.
USSEC consultants Dr. Gonzalo G. Mateos, Dr. Jan Van Eys, and Lola Herrera spoke about the quality and sustainability of U.S. Soy, U.S. Soy farming, and soy value by production origin. Rory Deverell and Thomas Deevy from FCStone talked about the markets and risk management, while Bunge’s Javier Masso spoke about the import and soy crush industry in Europe, including Spain and Portugal. Vasco Tamagnini from Sovena gave a presentation about the crush of other proteins, and Pedro Ruiz from Altura discussed the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the euro.
Rounding out the discussion on proteins, several EU soy end users of soybean meal including the purchasing manager of Vall Companys, the main pork producer in Europe, Sebastia Arnau and a representative of French soy buyers Antoine Rebouding from Feed Alliance participated. Also staff form Bunge and Cargill in Geneva presented their Risk Management tools.
During this course, USSEC demonstrated the importance of quality, quality by origin, and the U.S. Soy Advantage to the Spanish and Portuguese industry. Attendees were also introduced to the sustainability of U.S. Soy, which is critical as the importance of sustainability in Southern Europe continues to grow.
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.