Americas Customers Come Together at Buyers Conference in Colombia

By - Monday, September 24, 2018

Regional feed industry thought leaders, executives, and government officials recently met in Cartagena, Colombia for the year’s penultimate buyers’ conference in the Americas.

The event, sponsored and coordinated by USSEC, with special support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), featured market analysis from Darin Newsom, formerly of DTN; weather outlook from Iowa State’s Dr. Elwynn Taylor; and a China perspective from RJ O’Brien’s Bell Chen. FAS Administrator Ken Isley gave the keynote address. It also featured the presence of the entire USSEC board of executives, a symbolic and passionate gesture of the U.S. Soy industry’s dedication and commitment to the region.

The event, which brought together roughly 150 of the region’s most distinguished industry titans, provided a forum for buyers and sellers to engage in commerce. It was capped off by a “round-robin” style of speed meetings where importer and suppliers are provided with a translator to network and build relationships. Participants were eager to learn more about the trade disruptions in wake of the Section 301 and Section 232 tariff retaliations and how to plan and execute their decisions going forward.

“The event is designed to provide executives with the relevant knowledge for decision making, provided from the industry’s foremost subject matter experts. But that’s not good enough.  We also want to ensure importers have ample opportunity to buy any and all U.S. Soy products at any given moment. So USSEC provides several opportunities for networking and contact development,” remarked Kevin Roepke, USSEC Regional Director – Americas. “Above all, we wanted to convey the message that not only do you receive the most value with U.S. Soy; right now, you’re also getting a tremendous bargain.”

Results have proved to be phenomenal, as Mexico purchased almost 400,000 metric tons (MT) of soybean meal and over 500,000 MT of soybeans in the weeks following, as confirmed by USDA reports.

“Moreover, ‘battleground countries’ (so named for their competitiveness, due to proximity and freight spreads) realized the value and seized the opportunity of having suppliers in front of them and snatched up other U.S. Soy products as a result of the conference—namely Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and even Venezuela.  The farther South the U.S. can supply into the Americas, the better, as competition gets fierce in a hurry, ” said Roepke.  “I can’t think of a better time or a better forum to reinforce the message that the U.S. Soy industry is committed to the success of these buyers than right here.”

The event is biennial, with the Americas Agricultural Cooperator’s Conference—held in conjunction with the U.S. Grains Council—happening in the off years.  Follow USSEC events to be sure you’re aware of these two signature events within the Americas region.