USSEC – Middle East/North Africa (MENA) organized the 3rd Regional Dairy Nutrition Conference, held at the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar in Dead Sea, Jordan from April 8 – 11.
United Soybean Board (USB) director Jacob Parker of North Carolina and American Soybean Board (ASA) director Dave Poppens of South Dakota traveled to Jordan for this event and spoke to attendees about their experiences as U.S. farmers and about the benefits of U.S. Soy. Orestes Vasquez, Senior Agricultural Attaché, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), U.S. Embassy – Cairo, gave the opening welcome and Brent Babb, USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA also welcomed participants to the conference.
The program included: Export Logistics from USA to the Middle East Region; Cow Environment and Comfort Management (mitigation of heat stress with limited resources); Evaluation and Application of Bypass Protein in Dairy Rations; Feeding the Heat Stressed Dairy Cow – Managing the Total Mix Ration (TMR); TMR Formulation for Dairy Cows – The Cost Effect of Bypass Soy to Dairy Diets; Calf Nutrition and its Impact on Later Performance; and A Partnership – The U.S. Soy Total Quality Experience.
65 participants from the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey participated in the conference. Participants included major dairy producers and feed millers in the region.
The activity ended with a field visit led by Frank Delfino of Delfino Nutrition and Management, Inc. to one of the most advanced dairy farms in the region.
Feedback from conference speakers was very positive.
“The 3rd Regional Dairy Nutrition Conference, put together by USSEC – MENA, was a well-organized educational event with a good range of presentation topics and key individuals associated with the dairy industry from the Middle East and North Africa among the attendees,” said Dave Gast, Head Nutritionist, AGP. “The conference provided an excellent opportunity to meet with current customers as well develop new business relationships with prospects for U.S. soybean products. The large attendance at this conference speaks well for the quality of the conference and the value of the social and educational opportunities provided to those in attendance. Looking forward to more great conferences.”
Mr. Delfino stated, “The first day of the conference had very engaged MENA participants with excellent questions and discussion both during and after presentations. The ‘one on one’ meetings lasted well after presentations and into the evening. Could not have been a better venue.”
“Everything ran very smoothly and the attendees chosen, a total of 65 people from 11 countries, was a great mix of cultures and buyers,” said Kevin Sinnott, president of Fornazor International. “We have met many buyers we did not know before the seminar and look forward to following up with all of them on potential business. All of the presenters were very informative.”
USSEC China co-sponsored the 2017 Hebei Feed Industry Development Summit held on March 18 and 19. Approximately one thousand representatives from China’s feed mills, integrators and animal production farms participated in the event.
During the summit, Paul Burke, USSEC Regional Director -North Asia, delivered a presentation on soybean supply and demand, and the advantages and sustainability of U.S. Soy. Soybean customers expressed much interest and asked questions on the global soybean price trends, and the safety of GMO products, among other topics.
Dr. Richard Han, USSEC Technical Director – Animal Utilization (AU), China; Yantian Zeng, USSEC Marketing Program Manager; and Sunny Zhang, USSEC AU Program Manager, also attended this summit, helping promote U.S. Soy and communicating with customers at the USSEC booth.
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.
A USSEC delegation composed of American Soybean Association (ASA) director Kevin Scott and United Soybean Board (USB) directors Jim Carroll and John Harrell participated in the 4th Poultry Roundtable for Maghreb’s feed industry recently held at Skhirat, Morocco, accompanied by Brent Babb, USSEC Regional Director – EU / Middle East North Africa (MENA). The USSEC event provided an excellent platform to discuss current issues in poultry feeding in Maghreb.
The grower leaders’ team and experts visited leading poultry and feed customers in Morocco to further increase awareness of U.S. Soy quality, reliability, and sustainability among feed and poultry producers. They highlighted their commitment in building strong trade relationships with their professional partners in the Moroccan feed industry and animal producers, especially poultry.
On April 3, the presidents of Moroccan Federation of Poultry Associations (FISA) and the Feed Manufacturers Association (AFAC) signed a certificate of recognition of U.S. Soy’s sustainability following the production protocol outlined in the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP). FISA and USSEC will partner to provide quality, sustainable, and reliable feed to the local industry.
In his speech, Mr. Babb briefly summarized years of partnership and explained U.S. soybeans’ sustainability and current interests.
USSEC continues to develop targeted promotional efforts to accompany the growth of the sector and to help differentiate U.S. soybean meal from others in the Moroccan market. Morocco‘s livestock sector and feed industries continue to grow and become professionally oriented, setting a good example for other North Africa markets. Over 500,000 tons of poultry feed and another half million tons were produced yearly over the last eight years.
The signature of the certificate was well received by the federation, which is very aware of the value and strength of the U.S. supply chain and the high value and quality of U.S. soybean meal.
Over 80 percent of the feed produced in Morocco is by mills that are members of AFAC.
A team of eight key customers from the Tunisian poultry and feed industry attended the 4th USSEC Maghreb Poultry Nutrition Roundtable, held in Skhirat in the Rabat area, Morocco on April 4 and 5.
United Soybean Board (USB) director Jim Carroll III, USB director John Harrell, and American Soybean Association (ASA) director Kevin Scott traveled to Morocco to participate in this event. USSEC consultant Dr. Riadh Karma escorted the Tunisian team.
The Tunisian team members viewed the event as a great success and said it provided an excellent opportunity for them to learn more about advanced poultry nutrition and flock nutrition management.
The participants from Tunisia appreciated being present among a large audience of people from neighboring countries to exchange experiences and do business. After the conference, all of them had, in addition to updated nutrition knowledge, a better idea about the sustainability of the soy production in the U.S.
Dr. Nabil Darwish, chairman of Egyptian Poultry Producers, spoke at the U.S. – Middle East/North African (MENA) Agribusiness Trade Mission in Cairo, Egypt on April 2. Below is the text of the speech that Dr. Darwish delivered to USSEC chairman Jim Miller, USSEC CEO Jim Sutter, and representatives of the Egyptian soy industry.
“On behalf of the Egyptian Poultry Association, welcome again to Egypt and thanks to the great events and programs that have been organized by the USSEC team over the past few years.
We have found the events and programs very useful because of the following points:
- Gathered decision makers from around the world in the same field under one roof and gave us a chance to talk about the opportunities and challenges of our industries and listen to each other’s perspective and viewpoints
- Opportunity to meet potential customers and suppliers in the events and broaden our network which created many opportunities
- Opportunity to meet with the industry’s specialists and broaden our technical network, which helps in the improvement and advancement of our industry
- Tackle some of the important topics facing our industry like disease prevention, biosecurity, cost-efficient feed formulation, nutrition, and production efficiency
- Emphasize the importance of the quality of commodities in feed production; U.S.-origin soybeans improving diet quality and performance
- Discuss purchasing of raw material and the different purchasing approaches that can be done to decrease the feed cost
- Logistics handling and its importance in trade sustainability
- What to look at and what to look for to facilitate and influence purchasing decisions
- Appreciate technical services program to extruders & presses to make expelled soybean meal for poultry
- We found the events very well organized and the team was always helpful; we thank you very much for the great efforts that have been done and we look forward to attend future events.”
USSEC participated in the U.S. – Middle East/North Africa (MENA) Agribusiness Trade Mission that took place in Cairo, Egypt from April 2 – 6. Over 40 U.S. business representatives met with senior Egyptian government and private sector officials to discuss ways to expand agricultural trade between the United States and Egypt.
USSEC chairman and American Soybean Association (ASA) Jim Miller, USSEC CEO Jim Sutter, USSEC Acting Asia Subcontinent (ASC) Regional Lead Pam Helmsing, and USSEC Regional Consultant – MENA Mousa Wakileh traveled to Cairo and Alexandria to meet with soy industry leaders from Egyptian animal, aquaculture, feed and soy processing industries.
After the opening session on the first day, USSEC’s team participated in a soy industry roundtable meeting with 12 attendees, including the largest soybean crushing industry, feed millers, poultry producers, and aquaculture representatives in Cairo to review recent joint programs and to discuss opportunities for future collaboration. Along with feed formulation and the proper valuation of U.S. Soy amino acids’ profile, the group discussed ongoing poultry disease issues limiting profitability in the local industry. USSEC is sponsoring poultry disease training in Egypt and at the University of Florida with one of world’s leading experts and plans to continue the training in the coming years.
Alexandria is home to major soy industry activity in Egypt and meetings were held at two expanding facilities on day two. Alex Seeds showed its new crushing and soy oil bottling facility, which expands their crush facility to 5,000 tons per day, and Cargill displayed its crushing plant that is expanding to 6,000 tons per day.
A soy industry lunch to discuss the Egyptian market concluded the visit to the soy crushing plants. Lunch attendees included Mark Slupek, Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) Deputy Administrator; Darrell Upshaw, Program Manager; Ron Verdonk, Regional Agricultural Minister Counselor; J. Bret Tate, Agricultural Attaché; and Ahmed Wally, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – FAS Agricultural Specialist; and two of the largest local traders and crushers.
A visit to the new office building of the Wadi Group was conducted to talk to CEO and president of Wadi Holdings Tony Freiji and his team about their business and their views on issues facing the industry in Egypt.
The visit to Egypt concluded with a soy industry dinner with 25 attendees, including Mr. Verdonk and the largest soybean crushers, feed millers, and poultry producers.
It is clear after speaking with mission participants and Egyptian industry representatives that there is optimism in the air and an expectation of even better days ahead. USSEC looks forward to a continued relationship and working together with the Egyptian animal, aquaculture, feed, and soy processing industries on various marketing initiatives and programs. Egypt has long been the largest market for U.S. Soy in the MENA region, and USSEC programs have supported strong growth in the Egyptian crushing, extrusion, poultry nutrition and diseases, dairy, and aquaculture industries.
USSEC conducted its 4th Poultry Roundtable for Maghreb’s Feed Industry on April 4 and 5 in Skhirat (Rabat area), Morocco. The conference, part of USSEC’s FY17 promotional program in the Middle East / North Africa (MENA) region, provided an excellent platform to discuss current issues in poultry feeding in Maghreb. Over 45 key customers from the feed and poultry industry attended the conference: 9 from Tunisia, 13 from Algeria and 24 from Morocco.
The program aimed to update feed mill owners and managers, nutritionists, integrators, traders, and others recent advances in nutrition and feeding of poultry, showing the advantages of U.S. soybean meal.
USSEC Regional Director – MENA Brent Babb highlighted the importance of Maghreb markets within MENA and globally. Morocco and Tunisia are the largest buyers of U.S. Soy products, which are the main U.S. agricultural value products in Maghreb, a leading export destination for U.S. Soy products.
USSEC and American Soybean (ASA) director Kevin Scott and United Soybean Board (USB) directors Jim Carroll and John Harrell visited leading poultry customers’ facilities in Morocco. Mr. Carroll and Mr. Scott presented their respective farming operations, U.S. Soy production, and showed the sustainability of their practices. They presented U.S. soybean farmer sustainability goals by 2025.
Dr. Rory Deverel, vice president of INTL FC Stone Ltd, covered global supply and demand of different feed commodities, market trends, and variation factors.
A presenter from each of the three markets updated attendees on poultry and feed industries in their respective markets and discussed various aspects of the soy business in the Maghreb region during the panel organized at the end of the roundtable conference. “B” to “B” sessions were then held with USSEC consultant experts.
The conference was followed by field visits to key customers’ facilities in feed and poultry industry. All customers visited were satisfied with the consistent quality of U.S. soybean meal and the reliability of the U.S. soybean value chain. These two main recognized advantages of U.S. Soy products are not found when soybean meal is sourced from other origins.
Team discussions at one-on-one meeting with Alf Al Mabrouk covered quality issues of U.S. soybean meal. At Alf Sahel, the largest mill in Morocco, a visit was organized to the new extrusion facility that was recently installed. Purchasing and logistics of soy products from the U.S. were discussed at Sofalim feed mill where the team highlighted the need for high quality feed and ingredients such as U.S. hipro meal to obtain top performance for the company turkey and broiler productions.
Although Morocco’s compound feed production declined to 3.75 million metric tons (MMT) in 2016 due to the avian influenza (AI) outbreak with 73 percent going to the poultry industry, poultry remains by far the main the largest user of soybean meal.
USSEC China led a delegation of twenty to participate in the 2017 Poultry Production Training Session in Raleigh, North Carolina from March 4 – 12. The delegation was comprised of representatives from China’s poultry integrators, feed mills, and poultry farms.
During the training session organized by USSEC, the delegation visited Cargill Grain Crushing Plant, Strickland Farm, and a Perdue chicken farm. They also trained at North Carolina State University on poultry management, housing and equipment, intestinal health, and quality assurance programs.
USSEC China Animal Utilization (AU) Director Dr. Richard Han and AU Program Manager Sunny Zhang escorted the delegation. Dr. Han delivered a briefing on the sustainability of U.S. Soy and USSEC activities.
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.
USSEC recently launched a post-harvest and fish hygiene study in Egypt. The study, which is being carried out by Megapesce, aims to improve the market opportunities for Egyptian aquaculture products. Currently, Egypt ranks eighth globally in terms of aquaculture production. However, the post-harvest, cold chain, and processing infrastructure are minimal to non-existent, putting downward price pressure on Egyptian aquaculture products that have to sold in the spot market that operates entirely as fresh produce with no opportunities for freezing and processing, which typically allows the excess product to maintain value. Consequently, Egypt suffers from seasonality of supply.
This study will identify opportunities to increase the value for Egyptian aquaculture products by creating the means for extending the shelf life of fish and a sustainable price.
A fruitful meeting between USSEC and the U. S. Grains Council (USGC) was held in March 2017 at USGC’s regional office in Tunis, on invitation of Ramy Haj Taieb. Mr. Taieb was appointed as USGC’s new regional director for Africa and the Middle East in January 2017.
Mr. Taieb served as the trade manager of Poulina Group Holding, the largest ingredient and feed company in Tunisia, for about twenty years. In addition to being an important USSEC customer, he participated with USSEC, the American Soybean Association (ASA), and American Soybean Association – International Marketing (ASA-IM) in many events and trips to the United States. USSEC Consultant – Tunisia Dr. Riadh Karma, represented USSEC at this meeting. Mohamed Ali Hsayri, an experienced USGC consultant and assistant of the regional director, also attended the meeting.
The meeting provided an opportunity to share information on the Tunisian ingredient feed and animal production market, as well as current and future approaches for USGC and USSEC activities in Tunisia and in Maghreb. There was a detailed exchange on future events and activities in order to coordinate and improve the respective calendars for both cooperators’ activities, as well as customer choices for each event.
USSEC, together with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), organized the 2017 Asia Grain Transportation Conference (GTC) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Mary Tarnowka, U.S. Consul General, U.S. Embassy, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, officially opened this year’s GTC at the Sheraton Saigon. The event received its highest turnout to date: over 230 participants from across the region and beyond, with 12 nationalities representing around 100 companies. A large delegation of U.S. Soy family members and stakeholders attended, comprised of soy grower leaders, U.S. exporters, speakers, and guests.
The North and South Dakota Qualified State Soybean Boards (QSSB) were the main sponsors of this year’s conference, represented by Mike Appert, vice chairman of the North Dakota Soybean Council, and Joshua Kayser, South Dakota Soybean Association director.
Mr. Kayser gave a presentation on “U.S. Growers Perspectives: U.S. Soybean Crop Production Outlook,” while Mr. Appert assisted in co-chairing the “U.S. Soy Supply – Ensuring Quality & Sustainability through the Value Chain” session during the Southeast Asia Soy Symposium, another USSEC major regional event that is strategically held back to back with the GTC (see following story).
A reception was held for sixteen U.S. grower leaders from eight states and other U.S. Soy Family representatives, which provided a positive message to the participants and also helped to draw the connection between U.S. growers with their destination markets even closer.
As a result of the collective efforts of the organizers, sponsors, supporters, U.S. Soy Industry representatives, and presenters that provided their expertise and insights, 92 percent of 132 respondents polled indicated that this year’s conference experience was between “high value” and “very high value.” The majority of participants rated the speakers highly with over 93 percent indicating their experience from “good” to “very good.” The presentations were broad ranging, yet in-depth with relevant discussions about key Asian markets, the global outlook for grain and soy, trends in ocean freight, and supply chains for food and agri-products. This year, the organizers introduced two special forum sessions, the “U.S. Ag Producers Forum” and “U.S. Ag Exporters Forum,” which were also very well received and attracted strong participation and responses from the participants. Since introducing the e-platform, Pigeonhole, five years ago to manage the questions and answer sessions for these events, the quality of participation and interaction has been outstanding.
Finally, as with every Grain Transportation Conference, the organizers put together a major success criterion, which is marked by the amount of U.S. agricultural products that this important U.S. ag marketing platform has been able to generate for U.S. Soy stakeholders. Based on written evaluations submitted, over 1.1 million metric tons (MMT) of U.S. agricultural products were traded or negotiated at this year’s event. About 600,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. soybeans and soybean meal were reportedly transacted or equivalent to about 25 million bushels of soybeans. In addition, over half a million metric ton (MMT) of U.S. corn, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), and wheat were also transacted at the conference.
Vietnam is one of the world’s fastest growing markets for soy because of rapid economic growth and rising population. I gave a presentation this morning on the global soy supply and demand situation. This afternoon I moderated a panel discussion of U.S. farmers attending the meeting. I am very impressed with those attending and with the positives happening in this country. Vietnam ostensibly remains a communist country, but you would not realize it because of all of the capitalism happening here. Great, growing market for U.S. Soy.
-USSEC consultant John Baize
The organizers sincerely thank the North Dakota Soybean Council, South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Kentucky Soybean Association, corporate sponsors, and industry supporters for making the Asia Grain Tranportation Conference a resounding success.
The 12th Southeast Asia Soy Sympoisum (SFS), organized by USSEC Southeast Asia (SEA), was held on March 23 and 24 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The 12th Symposium was attended by 115 participants from SEA, the U.S., and Japan, comprising key soy food and beverage industry personnel, soybean traders, and related stakeholders. The one-day symposium was preceded by a half-day invitation-only workshop on Enhancing Soy Products Innovations to Meet Health and Market Trends, for a select group of soy food and beverage producers from the region.
As with previous series of this annual 1.5 day regional soy food event, the back-to-back strategic arrangement with the SEA Grains Transportation Conference (GTC), enabled the cross participation of attendees, and the benefits of the high level presence of U.S. Soy grower leaders as well as the support of several qualified state soybean boards (QSSBs) and food grade soybean suppliers, who took the opportunity to meet and network with regional customers and producers, and to establish trade deals as well as gain updates on the markets development in the region.
Collectively accounting for 25 percent of the world’s total soyfood consumption, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the group of 10 SEA countries) is also one of the largest importer of U.S. soybeans for food uses, with an estimated 2.5 million metric tons (MMT) out of the 3.6 MMT per year imported into the region designated for soy food and beverage utilization. Of this amount, Indonesia alone accounted for close to 2 MMT of the regional import, almost all targeted for the domestic production and consumption of tempe and tofu.
Additionally, SEA is a developing market for U.S. food grade identity preserved (IP) soybeans, with about 40,000 – 50,000 MT being imported annually in recent years, to meet the growing demand of quality soyfood for the modern trade food and beverage industry. The joint GTC and SFS events were important platform for U.S. suppliers to build business networks and negotiate trade deals, as gleaned from the pooled survey on transaction negotiated reported in the GTC story.
Gerald Smith, Senior Agriculture Attache at the U.S. Consulate General, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, delivered the opening speech and welcomed the delegates to the 2017 Soy Symposium with the theme of “Soy Insight – Sustainability, Nutrition and Innovation.” The symposium aimed to provide the status and latest updates on U.S. food use and specialty soybeans suppliers, sustainable farm practices and technological solutions, in addition to information on soy health benefits, products trends and innovations that spur soybean consumption and market growth in this important regional market for U.S. Soy.
The first session on “U.S. Soy Supply – Ensuring Quality and Sustainability Through the Value Chain” was co-chaired by Mike Appert, vice chairman of the North Dakota Soybean Council and Timothy Loh, USSEC Regional Director – SEA. The three speakers from the U.S. included Will McNair, USSEC Stakeholder Relations Manager, who presented on the outlook of U.S. food soybean supplies and shared how through the dependable production of U.S. food soybean and the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP), importers of U.S. soybeans and foods are able to create more value for themselves by continuing to differentiate from their competitors. USSEC director Aaron Skyberg of SK Food International and member of the Northern Food Grade Soybean Association (NFGSA), shared the quality traits and Identify Preserved (IP) soybean supply system that catered to the needs and target soybean characteristics sought by soy food and beverage producers through a stringent on farm practices, supply and transportation through the container trade that ensure the identity and quality preservation in delivery to the customers through the containers trade, as reinforced in the presentation by Lucas Blaustein of Consolidated Grains and Barge.
Dr. Anne Bridges of the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC) International and Professor Paul Teng of the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, during their presentations at the second session of the symposium, emphasized that a sustainable food supply is critical to feed the growing global population and at the same time respond to demands for healthy and nutritious food. Plant breeders work with multiple technologies to provide new advanced crop options for increased yields, excellent environmental management, adaptations to climate change, as well as improved use of insecticides and herbicides and attention to quality attributes. Knowledge and adoption of these technologies, once approved, would help ensure a sufficient, safe, and sustainable agricultural global supply chain.
The session ended with an update on the status of food use soybean markets in SEA, presented by USSEC Human Utilization Manager, Dr. Dady Maskar from Indonesia, on behalf of Boon Yee Yeong, Senior Technical Consultant, Human Utilization, USSEC SEA. The presentation shared data from the region, which points to continuing growth in demand for soy for food uses. U.S. Soy has been recognized to play an important role and contribution to the nutritional well being of large population sectors who consume soyfood and beverage on daily basis. With soybean production of less than a million metric tons in key SEA countries, sustainable food security in the near future in ASEAN will continue to depend on managing the balance in food supply between self-production and imports from outside the region.
The third and fourth sessions of the symposium comprised the remaining 8 of the total 14 papers in this symposium. The sessions’ topics ranged from current soyfood trends, scientific updates and consumer perceptions on soy, and how these factors confluence to influence purchase. Presenters shared experience on how the soy industry responds to their specific market requirements through innovative approaches and product innovation. Examples from two successful market leaders in Singapore and Vietnam, as well as a sharing of market status and development in two countries outside of SEA, Japan and India namely, were among the very interesting and valuable stories of experience sharing.
The focus program with the diverse topics that covered the pertinent interests of the target audience earned a high appreciation and positive evaluation from the survey conducted among the attendees. Of the 71 returned survey questionnairs, more than 90 percent rated the program to be of high value and relevant to their work, and 85 percent were in positive agreement to the overall statements on both the instrinsic characteristics and extrinsic characteristics of U.S. Soy and soy protein. For those producers or traders not currently purchasing U.S. Soy, the knowledge gap on the U.S. Soy Advantage was shown to be narrowed after the participants attended the Symposium. 24 of the regional respondents in the trade indicated they are currently buyers or users of U.S. Soy with another 10 indicating that they plan to purchase U.S. Soy within the next 6 months.
Besides the full day symposium held on March 24, several of the U.S. Soy grower leaders and food soybean suppliers were invited to visit the newly opened state-of-the art soymilk plant of Vinasoy near Ho Chi Minh City. Vinasoy is the largest soymilk producer in Vietnam. While local soybeans have been their main source of supply, they have started exploring importing food soybeans from the U.S. and Canada.
The half day workshop, “Enhancing Soy Products Innovation to Meet Current Nutrition and Market Trends,” was held on the afternoon of March 23 for a select group of soy food and beverage producers, facilitated by experts in the field of nutrition, product development, and marketing. At the end of the workshop, three innovative product concepts were developed and proposed by the participants which showcased the versatility of soy in meeting target health requirements and consumer interest in innovative soy products.
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 participated in the 2017 Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America in Boston, Massachusetts from March 17 -21.
On March 17, USSEC held its Aquaculture Advisory Council Meeting. Attendees heard a summary of USSEC’s aquaculture program, key issues, and council strategy recommendations. The first council meeting was reviewed, along with USSEC’s implementation of recommended strategies, followed by a discussion of strategy implementation.
Sector updates were provided for many topics, including: shrimp; marine fish; freshwater fish; aquafeed; sustainability certification; basic research; and applied research. A discussion about industry challenges and opportunities, “What Can the Soy Industry Do to Best Move the Needle Forward?” followed.
American Soybean Association (ASA) director Jeff Sollars and United Soybean Board (USB) director Robert White traveled to Boston to participate in the Seafood Expo North America from March 19-21.
According to its website, Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America is North America’s largest seafood exposition. Thousands of buyers and suppliers from around the world attend the annual, three-day exposition to meet, network and do business. Attending buyers represent importers, exporters, wholesalers, restaurants, supermarkets, hotels, and other retail and foodservice companies. Exhibiting suppliers offer the newest seafood products, processing and packaging equipment, and services available in the seafood market.
The USSEC booth promoted the inclusion of U.S. Soy products in aquafeed.
USSEC held the Japan Swine Nutrition Course at the IGP Institute at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas from March 6-9. Japan is one of the top pork importers in the world, and participants attended specialized training in swine nutrition and feed manufacturing programs.
During the course, participants learned about numerous nutrition components and requirements, as well as feed manufacturing through workshops, lectures, and field trips. Participants were invited and sponsored by USSEC to gain their knowledge of both subjects of feed manufacturing and swine nutrition.
“This course has been organized by USSEC, but was funded by the Kansas Soybean Commission, where this year they have helped us bring in eight Japanese participants,” explained Carlos Campabadal, course coordinator and IGP’s feed manufacturing and grain management curriculum manager.
“I really enjoyed learning about new areas in swine nutrition in this course, and I can take back to my job all of the concepts of nutrition, which is a new idea I can share with my company,” said course participant, Mayumi Fukushima, farm manager at Japan Farm in Japan. Ms. Fukushima explains that she is also very satisfied with the course material that she learned and then traveling to the commercial swine farm and applying the information to a visual perspective of learning.
“It is a very good course for participants to learn about feed manufacturing techniques for swine one day, basic swine nutrition another day, and then taking a trip to visit commercial feed mills and a grain and soybean export facility, seeing how soybeans are exported in truck containers,” stated Mr. Campabadal.
By Jim Sutter, USSEC CEO
At USSEC, one of our key functions is to differentiate and build preference for U.S. Soy with buyers around the world. U.S. Soy enjoys several intrinsic and extrinsic advantages, but there is always a need for continuous improvement. That is where the High Yield PLUS Quality (HY+Q) program comes in. HY+Q gets both growers and seed companies to think more about selecting and producing varieties of soybeans that will deliver high yields and high quality together, keeping U.S. Soy moving along the path of continuous improvement.
What exactly is meant by “high quality?” At a high level, soybeans are generally grown to supply meal and oil, so we are talking about high quality meal and oil attributes.
Soybean meal buyers have historically looked at protein content as an overall view of the nutritional value of the product and look for as high a protein content as possible. As nutritionists do their formulations, they look deeper into the content of the various amino acids in the meal, so eventually these characteristics are a key consideration to livestock producers. Meal also contains constituents such as sucrose that supply energy to the animal – this also has value. As HY+Q does their analysis to determine “high quality” beans, all of these factors will need to be considered as various varieties are evaluated.
The United Soybean Board (USB) has started using the term “nutritional bundle,” which encompasses all the things that soybean meal users actually value: protein, amino acids, and energy content. USSEC’s goal is to have U.S. Soy known to contain the highest quality meal, as this helps us to differentiate and build preference.
Soybean oil buyers generally look for a product that will allow them to refine it with minimal losses and costs. Factors such as free fatty acid value, peroxide value, and color are key considerations. Another key consideration with regard to oil is the actual oil content in the bean; oil is almost always valued higher than meal, making crushers interested in a bean with a high oil content. As in the case of meal, USSEC’s goal is to have U.S. soybeans known as containing the optimal quantity and quality oil.
Determining “high quality” isn’t necessarily a simple process, but the HY+Q team is putting good parameters together and raising awareness of the need to produce a soybean that has not only a high quantity yield, but also a high quality yield. Additionally, there are differences due to regional and climatic variation – this adds to the complexity, but also provides a reason to keep it simple.
Getting everyone in the U.S. Soy industry to work together with a goal of growing the best quality beans possible is the purpose of HY+Q. Those beans will be different in different locales, but the goal is to have everyone working to hit the highest quality possible for his or her farm. Doing this should ensure that buyers from around the world seek out U.S. Soy as their preferred option when it comes to soybean supply – this will add value to the overall crop and to each grower’s bottom line.
Did you know that U.S. Soy has a dedicated You Tube channel?
USSOY.org’s You Tube channel features videos dedicated to building a preference for U.S. Soy. Playlist topics include Sustainability; U.S. Soy Farming; Sustainable U.S. Soy; From the Field: Exploring the World of U.S. Soy; U.S. Soy Customers; Subject Matter Experts; USSEC Market Perspectives; and Aquaculture. These topics are presented by a variety of experts from grower leaders to U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange speakers.
To visit, click here.