The activity kicked off with one-on-one meetings in Morocco and Tunisia, followed by a two-day seminar in Istanbul.
In Morocco, USSEC consultant Dr. Charlie Stallings visited a large dairy farm in the northern part of the country, discussing key indicators of a successful dairy production unit with three of the farm’s main managers. Feeding concepts and feed protocols were also discussed.
In Tunisia, the USSEC team visited two farms that had dual-purpose cattle. One of these farms is building a feedlot for 500 animals. The delegation also visited a feed company that feeds both poultry and ruminants. Soybean meal is used at an inclusion rate of up to 20 percent.
Following the visits, the Dairy Nutrition and Soy Hulls seminar was held in cooperation with AGP and West Central Cooperative. More than 75 people from 10 MENA countries attended the event. The conference started with welcoming remarks from USSEC Regional Director – MENA Brent Babb and American Soybean Association (ASA) director Willard Jack.
The conference featured extensive discussion about soybean products and their characteristics such as bypass protein potential and forage replacement ability. One-on-one discussions allowed each participate to get individual answers to their questions. Mr. Jack met with many of the participants on an individual basis to disseminate the message of the importance of U.S. farmers producing top quality soybeans to meet the needs of global customers.
Timothy Brown, technical support director at West Central Cooperative commented, “Thank you for the opportunity to participate as a speaker in the USSEC seminar on Dairy Nutrition and Soy Hulls in Istanbul. It was a pleasure to be involved with so many professionals who are involved in the dairy industry. The attendees at this seminar, most of whom are involved in dairy production, help the dairy cow to convert fibrous plant material that would otherwise be unsuitable for human food into delicious and nutritious dairy products for a hungry human population. Several of the presentations at this seminar illustrated how various components of and nutrients from soybeans enhance the cow’s ability to produce more milk, and to produce milk more efficiently for the feed inputs available. USSEC and products from U.S. soybeans serve a critical role in assuring a sustainable food supply for a growing population worldwide”.
Dave Gast of AGP remarked, “Great conference, selection of invitees resulted in a diverse group of dairymen and dairy industry staff from numerous Middle Eastern countries. The group was very engaged, asking numerous questions after the presentations, during breaks and throughout the conference. The conference provided an opportunity to meet with current customers and develop new leads that will hopefully develop into new customers for U.S. soybean meal. Thank you for inviting and allowing AGP to participate and we look forward to participating in future USSEC events.”
On October 14, USSEC co-hosted a seminar with the United Kingdom’s (UK) Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) at the National Motorcycle History Museum in Birmingham, England. AIC is the leading trade association of the agro-supply industry in the United Kingdom and more than forty of their members attended the event. The agenda focused on sustainability and efforts on both sides of the Atlantic to address the growing demand for sustainable soy.
Alex Doring, Secretary General of the European Feed Manufacturing Federation (FEFAC), described the recent history and activities of his organization to develop a common Europe-wide approach on sourcing sustainable soy. He informed the group that the International Trade Commission (ITC) in Geneva will benchmark individual soy sustainability programs against the FEFAC guidelines and make a determination on their compatibility.
United Soybean Board (USB) director Belinda Burrier described the conservation and sustainability practices on her 1,400 acre farm in Union Bridge, Maryland, conveying the commitment of U.S. Soy producers to sustainable soy production. Ms. Burrier said that her farm has been practicing no-till cultivation since the 1970s, which has decreased soil erosion and nutrient run-off, a critical issue as her farm is in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, one of the most closely monitor and tested regions in the United States.
USSEC Regional Manager – EU/MENA Brent Babb outlined the U.S. Sustainable Soy Assurance Protocol (SSAP). Mr. Babb informed the group that USSEC had recently submitted the SSAP to the ITC benchmarking against the FEFAC standards. An assessment is expected in the next few weeks.
Finally, Stan Phillips, USDA’s Agricultural Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in London, made a presentation on the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, focusing on why the trade negotiations are important to both the United States and the European Union.
The seminar furthered the goals and objectives of both USSEC and AIC. Sustainability is an increasingly important issue among retailers in Northern Europe and AIC wants to convey that importance to all of its members. In highlighting the SSAP and the long history of conservation in the United States, USSEC generates greater awareness and increases the preference for U.S. Soy on the UK market.
For more information about the U.S. Sustainability Alliance, please visit its blog at
Held over 2 days at the Sheraton Saigon, the event, Agri-Business Vietnam: Managing Risk and Profitability from Field to Food, attracted more than 70 commercial decision makers; animal nutritionists and technical experts from the grain and oilseed trades; livestock production integrators; compound feed producers; farmers associations; and agricultural officials. This inaugural seminar focused on the importance of quality and value management throughout the agricultural product value chain from farm to food.
USSEC Regional Director – SEA Timothy Loh said, “This event is kind of a new concept for us. Usually our programs and activities tend to be either trade or technical themed but in this case, we’re working both elements into one program that will focus on what are the main concerns of importers and end-users when it comes to purchasing or using – price; quality and consistency; crude protein; amino acids profile; supplier relationship – with the ultimate objective of building preference for U.S. Soy.”
Mr. Loh gave an introduction to SEA’s regional agribusiness outlook. Bob Metz, USSEC and United Soybean Board (USB) director and vice chairman of the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, spoke about farmers’ initiatives in the U.S. and emphasized that through the embracing of biotechnology, sustainability is ensured and quality soybeans are delivered. Jay O’Neil, Senior Agricultural Economist of Kansas State University, and principal of O’Neil Commodity Consulting, outlined the global outlook for grain, oilseeds and freight, as well as how trends and developments in port and shipping logistics could impact container and bulk freight. Tanna Tan, principal of Goldstar Consultants, introduced the four pillars of the supply chain and the trends and development observed in Asia’s agriculture business.
USSEC Technical Manager – Animal Nutrition Dr. Basilisa Reas presented two separate technical studies (based on samples received in SEA during the years 2011 to 2013 and Europe from 2013 to 2015) on the quality of soybean meal from different origins and the derived value differences among the origins based on these studies. Dr Chris Cheong, USSEC’s Technical Director for Feed Technology, explained the economic and nutritional benefits of full-fat soybean meal as well as its production and utilization trends observed in Vietnam.
Dao Manh Luong, CEO of Austfeed Vietnam Corporation, began the second day’s program with a corporate video which reflected his enterprising spirit and optimism for the future of Vietnam’s feed milling industry. He also shared insights on how his company had managed to expand by emphasizing quality inputs (high quality breed, medicine, feed formulation and ingredients), technology (automated feeding and management system) and economies of scale.
Dr. Jan van Eys, Principal of Global Animal Nutrition Solutions (GANS) Inc., and Dr. Bob Thaler, Professor/ Extension Specialist Swine of South Dakota State University, spoke about successful animal feeding and management programs for poultry and swine. The need for precise understanding of the nutritional quality of raw materials, animals’ growth stages/phase nutritional requirement, and feeding objectives were the common themes discussed.
USSEC SEA met its objectives to demonstrate the value transformation from high quality raw materials to finished feeds to increased animal production and hence profitability; as well as providing participants a better appreciation of the intrinsic value of U.S. Soy to the participants. Almost all participant feedback indicated that they managed to acquire a better understanding of the value that U.S. soybeans/soybean meal brings to their business and will continue to purchase U.S. Soy or consider purchasing U.S. Soy if they are currently not doing so. About 60 percent of the participants indicated they have imported or used U.S. soybeans and/or soybean meal in 2015, and more than 85 percent indicated that they are looking to buy U.S. soybean and/or meal.
Vietnam ranks 19th in global feed production, fourth in global pork production and number three in global aquaculture production. Total imports for U.S. soybeans into Vietnam in marketing year (MY) 2015 to date are 730 thousand metric tons (TMT) and for soybean meal, 403 TMT, 39 percent and 28 percent increases, respectively, compared to MY 2014.
USSEC vice chairman Jim Miller is featured in an article in the October issue of Midwest Producer magazine.
In the story, Mr. Miller discusses his work with USSEC. He also talks about USSEC’s primary role of building a preference for U.S. Soy and how it works toward this mission.
Midwest Producer is published monthly and has approximately 30,000 subscribers.
Please click here to read the article.
Last week, USSEC Southeast Asia Technical Director – Aquaculture Lukas Manomaitis sat down for an interview with Fish Farming International to highlight USSEC’s newly completed standardized aquaculture feed formulation database.
Fish Farming International positions itself as the leading global publication for fish farming insight, analysis and opinion. A monthly print publication for more than 30 years, Fish Farming International went fully digital in 2015 and provides global coverage of all sectors of the aquaculture industry with an emphasis on research, production, technology, innovation, feed and industry trends and people. Fish Farming International is produced by IntraFish Media, a global leader in seafood news and information.
Please click on the PDF below to read the interview or here to visit the Fish Farming International website.
USSEC participated in a seminar at the world EXPO in Milan, Italy on October 9.
The seminar, “Agricultural Innovation–Planting the Seeds for a Sustainable Future,” was supported by the U.S. Sustainability Alliance (USSA), the USA Pavilion organizers, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy.
USSEC chairman Laura Foell provided attendees with first-hand experience about how she has made use of new tools to avoid serious losses from climate variability and increased her productivity. Ms. Foell spoke about innovation on the farm – past, present and future; big data; precision agriculture; and drones in agriculture.
In his presentation “Innovation as Part of Sustainability,” USSEC consultant David Green pointed out that sustainability is all about process improvements and innovation is at the heart of these changes. Innovation has taken U.S. agriculture from subsistence farming in the 1930s to a global food producer today.
Under Secretary for Farm & Foreign Agricultural Services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Michael T. Scuse, delivered the keynote address.
A panel representing farmers and equipment and technology providers highlighted innovative trends in global inputs, equipment and agricultural practices that will help address the challenge of producing enough food, fiber and fuel to feed more than nine billion people by 2050, while conserving natural resources.
The USA Pavilion showcases the idea “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” and spotlights American leadership on issues such as food security and policy, technology, nutrition and health, and culinary culture. Over 140 countries are participating in Milan EXPO 2015, and more than 20 million people are expected to visit before the World’s Fair concludes in October 2015. The USA Pavilion focuses on the United States as an innovator not only in the food sector, but also in many aspects of culture, science, and business.
According to USSEC Marketing Director Aquaculture – Customer Focus Colby Sutter, the first day will be dedicated to learning about current aquaculture constraints, opportunities and general happenings in key regions and countries around the world, including the U.S. The second day will involve a full-day site visit to Regal Springs’ tilapia hatchery, cages and processing plant. The third and final day will involve learning from researchers about current and potential research studies as they pertain to U.S. Soy in aquaculture.
Ms. Sutter adds, “This will really be a tremendous opportunity for people to learn about aquaculture all around the world, including the U.S., and including the research that is being funded by the U.S. Soy checkoff.”
USSEC recently attended the VI Central American Dairy Congress in Honduras. 450 dairy producers and technicians from Central American countries attended this conference, which was opened by the president of Honduras.
USSEC consultant Carlos Campabadal lectured on the topic of “Feeding the Transition Cow under Tropical Conditions,” where he discussed the most recent information about the feeding systems of transition cows adapted to tropical conditions. He presented the benefits of these feeding systems and their nutrition problems and their effects on future milk production and reproduction. He talked about the importance of a good quality diet consisting of corn and soybean meal, nutrient requirements, the use of anionic salts, feed additives, special trace minerals premix and general management systems. Mr. Campabadal emphasized feeding high protein diets (19 percent) in the post-partum period, recommending the use of soybean meal as a source of protein, presenting the advantages of using U.S. soybean meal.
Mr. Campabadal also attended the other lectures and discussed technical questions related to dairy management and nutrition with participants.
USSEC, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2015, has seen its goals evolve to effectively conduct its role of building an international preference and demand for U.S. Soy by developing and maintaining relationships through trade and technical services and taking steps to ensure market access.
The trade services that USSEC provides to its customers around the world help to facilitate and ease trade along with building strong relationships between buyers and sellers. The annual U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange is a prime example of relationship building. USSEC also provides technical services in each of its six regions to build buyer awareness in the value of U.S. Soy.
Developing and maintaining market access is a critical strategy for USSEC. Sustainability and biotechnology create different issues for the U.S. Soy industry and USSEC worked in FY15 to minimize related potential trade barriers while maximizing the competitive advantage of U.S. Soy. The U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) continued to play a key role in providing a competitive advantage over soy from other origins. The decision earlier this year by the Dutch Feed Association, NEVEDI, to accept the SSAP as a certification process for sustainability was a critical milestone for continued U.S. Soy exports to the EU. USSEC has also applied for Renewable Energy Directive (RED) in Europe, along with developing numerous tactics to help build confidence in the Chinese market over biotech safety. Additionally, USSEC has participated in the International Oilseed Producers Dialogue (IOPD) and the International Soybean Growers Alliance (ISGA).
And in FY15, an independent study on international marketing proved just how important USSEC’s endeavors are to the U.S. Soy industry. According to the study, for every dollar U.S. soybean farmers invest in marketing their soybeans outside the U.S., they significantly boost their profitability.
Exports and building demand continue to be key to the U.S. Soy industry in FY16. USSEC’s mission will continue as the organization works to maximize the use of U.S. Soy internationally by meeting the needs of its stakeholders and global customers.
In order to improve China’s swine producer confidence and sustainable development, USSEC invited retired University of Nebraska professor Mike Brumm to help the country’s swine industry improve production level and better use soy products in pig feeds. A series of seminar activities were conducted in mid-September in collaboration with local swine and feed companies for 350 scaled pig producers from Zhejiang, Shandong, Yunnan and Fujian provinces.
NOVUS collaborated with USSEC and organized 50 key feed producers from throughout China for a two-day intensive training course in the city of Xiamen. Presenters included Dr. Brumm; USSEC Animal Utilization – Technical Directors Dr. Sam Shi and Dr. Y.M. Han; and Dr. Sam Baidoo, associate professor at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Si Guo Wei of NOVUS. Topics included principles and practices for sustained farm management – economic, modeling, and wean-finish; pig diet formulation; and stimulation feed intake for trainees.
USSEC Marketing Director – Animal Nutrition & Meal Pam Helmsing, USSEC and United Soybean Board (USB) director Bob Metz, and USSEC director John Heisdorffer also participated in some of the activities in Xiamen, Fujian.
All series activities were beneficial to Chinese producers and were well-received.
USSEC recently conducted a negotiation workshop with the objective of increasing the sales of U.S. soybean oil and U.S. soybeans. This workshop was held in Mexico City attracting sales forces from Mexico’s soybean oil refineries and soyfoods manufacturers.
The workshop, given by Hector Sevilla, had the main objective of providing participants with knowledge to improve their negotiation skills and strategies. These participants have to make different negotiations with supermarkets, distributors and other stores. The main skills that attendees learned were: the main roles in a negotiation agreement, the position when people negotiate, know that win-to-win position is the best alternative, and steps for a successful negotiation.
USSEC consultants also presented topics related to soybean oil in order to provide the participants with additional sales tools. Pedro Gonzalez spoke about market opportunities for soybean oil in various market segments, and Jorge Martinez spoke about the uses of soybean oil in the food industry.
USSEC has announced that Aimee Jewkes and Carlos Campabadal are the fourth quarter winners of the USSEC Core Values Awards.
Ms. Jewkes, Senior Accountant, won the employee award, while Dr. Campabadal, Animal Nutrition, picked up the consultant award.
Winners are nominated by their peers on the basis of demonstrating one or more of the four USSEC core values, which include delivering world class performance, acting responsibly, fostering diversity and trusting the USSEC team.
At the end of December, one awardee will be selected and honored from each category for the 2015 calendar year.
USSEC chairman Laura Foell and USSEC consultant David Green will participate in Milan EXPO 2015: Agricultural Innovation – Planting the Seeds for a Sustainable Future in Milan, Italy.
On October 9, at the USA Pavilion, Michael Scuse, Under Secretary for Farm & Foreign Agricultural Services, will give the keynote address. Mr. Green will speak on the topic of “Innovation as Part of Sustainability” and Ms. Foell will give an overview of the U.S. farm experience.
The USA Pavilion showcases the idea “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” and spotlights American leadership on issues such as food security and policy, technology, nutrition and health, and culinary culture. Over 140 countries are participating in Milan EXPO 2015, and more than 20 million people are expected to visit before the World’s Fair concludes in October 2015. The USA Pavilion, focuses on the United States as an innovator not only in the food sector, but also in many aspects of culture, science, and business.
USSEC hosted a tour for the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture team on September 22 in the New Orleans area. The delegation consisted of representatives of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, the Consulate General of China in Houston, three Chinese companies, representatives from the U.S. Embassy to China, and the State of Louisiana.
USSEC CEO Jim Sutter, American Soybean Association (ASA) president Wade Cowan, Louisiana Commissioner Mike Strain and Louisiana farmer Greg Gravois hosted the tour, which took the delegation to the Port of New Orleans, Cargill’s Westwego facility, Oak Alley Plantation, and Mr. Gravois’ farm.
USSEC hosted the 8th Southeast Asia (SEA) trade mission to the U.S. in September. Two teams, feed and food, participated in this mission. The teams were comprised of senior executives, owners and directors from trading, crushing, feed milling, livestock raising, and food processing companies and associations. All are existing or potential significant purchasers of U.S. Soy. The timing of the trade mission is strategic because it is organized around the start of the soybean harvest season when U.S. Soy is most competitive. The teams attended the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Minneapolis from September 9 – 11, met with suppliers, and visited farms, seed technology companies, co-ops and soy extrusion technology facilities.
The feed team, consisting of 54 representatives from 45 companies, visited Minnesota and Iowa from September 7 – 16. Attendees hailed from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In addition to attending the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange, the group also met and visited with the Scoular Company, Keith Schrader Farms, FCStone, Farmers Cooperative Company (Perry Co-op), International Feed, Insta Pro International, Dupont Pioneer and Garrett Farms.
The SEA feed team visited Minnesota and Wisconsin between September 7 and 13. The team was made up of 11 representatives from 9 companies, coming from Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. They visited AB Farms, CHS Oil Processing, Grain Millers Specialty Products, Ag Identity Processing and Knewston Soy Products, in addition to attending the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange.
Fitri Nursanti Poernomo, an Indonesian journalist covering the trade mission, stated, “This visit has opened our minds about the superiority of the U.S. in producing soybeans for the world where high technology is used optimally. Environmental sustainability, quality and supply chain guaranteed.”
The teams’ combined estimated annual import volume is 3.5 million metric tons (MMT) in commodity grade soybeans, 15,000 to 20,000 metric tons (MT) in food grade soybeans and 5.0 MMT of soybean meal.
Business discussed and/or concluded includes 80,000 MT of commodity grade soybeans, 5,000 MT of food grade soybeans and 100,000 MT of soybean meal.
Based on participant feedback, this trade mission presented valuable networking opportunities with potential U.S. suppliers and fellow participants. Most attendees commented that they benefitted from the educational materials and knowledge shared on the U.S. agriculture supply chain during the conference, visits and meetings.
USSEC SEA’s Kim Soong said, “As a new member of the USSEC family, it is an eye opener to witness the concerted efforts of all the organizations in the U.S. agricultural supply chain in ensuring that the products received by customers at the destinations are in tip top condition, if not of the best quality. I would also like to thank our hosts for their hospitality extended to the Southeast Asia Trade Team during this visit.”
USSEC India recently conducted a comparative study on soymilk production, using U.S. food speciality beans and Indian soybeans.
Produced on small, medium and large scales, soymilk and tofu are the fastest growing soy food industries in India. Although India is the fifth largest producer of the soybeans in the world, there are no food specialty beans produced in the country.
USSEC recently identified this opportunity for U.S. food speciality soybeans for the production of soymilk and tofu in India. USSEC India Soy Food Director Dr. Ratan Sharma coordinated with U.S. suppliers to secure a supply of sample soybeans from the U.S. and conducted the soymilk trial using those beans in India.
The trials were executed at a soymilk production facility, proffered by the SoyaCow manufacturer, equipped with a few soymilk processing units. One lipoxisinase (lipo) free and two varieties of low lipo soybeans were used for this trial. All together, three U.S. varieties and one reference sample from India were used for this comparative study. The evaluation was done in terms of the total solid, protein, fat, carbohydrates, sugar and energy as well as the organoleptic attributes. The chemical analysis and the organoleptic tests were carried out by SGS, a leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. The organoleptic tests were also done at the soymilk trial facility by experienced volunteers. Soymilk made using U.S. beans was found to be the best in terms of the total solid recovery and the organoleptic attributes in comparison to its Indian counterpart.
One of the largest soymilk and tofu manufacturing companies in India also participated in the trial with a major third party contribution for conducting this trial. They were very encouraged by the results and are now planning to order U.S. beans for the commercial shipment to conduct a large scale trial before placing the order for their regular commercial production requirements. Besides its own uses, this company also plans to sell U.S. beans to the Indian soymilk, tofu manufacturers and other whole bean users for various food applications. To create a large size market for the U.S. food beans, USSEC will work to expedite business opportunities with other traders who are involved in the whole bean supply for food uses in India.
Because soymilk and tofu are becoming popular soy products in India and throughout the entire Asian subcontinent, USSEC sees this as a potential opportunity for U.S. food specialty beans. Dr. Sharma says these beans are extremely good for other whole bean applications as well, including the production of soy nuts, although that needs to be further explored by conducting other product-specific trials.
USSEC foresees this opportunity as a way to get a steady flow of U.S. beans moving into India and then it can expand from there for other purposes. Dr. Sharma is working on the cost benefit analysis and other modalities to popularize U.S. food specialty soybeans in India to facilitating their import to India from the United States.
There are more than 1,000 soymilk and tofu manufacturers in India. USSEC’s efforts to promote the U.S. food specialty soybeans will attract a substantial volume of food beans in this region.
USSEC recently organized a seminar in cooperation with the Hungarian Grain & Feed Association – Gabonaszovetseg in Budapest, Hungary. Almost 80 participants representing the Hungarian grain and oilseed trade, livestock production integrators, compound feed producers, farmers associations and agricultural officials attended the event, which focused on protein-rich feed ingredients.
Laszlo Bustyhazai, president of the feed producers’ section of the association, welcomed the audience. USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe Jerzy Kosieradzki introduced participants to USSEC’s objectives and activities, as well as the seminar’s agenda and speakers.
USSEC consultant Dr. Gerard Santoma spoke about traditional and new protein sources in animal feeding and the role of soybean products in the compound feed industry. USSEC consultant Dr. Jan van Eys followed up with a presentation on global trends in the production and utilization of fishmeal and soybean meal.
INT FCStone’s Jaime Nolan-Miralles introduced the local industry people to the protein market outlook and Hungarian paradigm, also stressing the importance of the utilization of modern risk management tools by the local traders and feed manufacturers and livestock integrators.
A teaching block on quality analyses for soybean products available to the feed industry by Dr. Van Eys and a comprehensive presentation on nutritional and economic advantages of U.S. soybean meal over the meal of other origins helped to equip the feed ingredients purchasers and nutritionists with the necessary tools to optimize their work.
Dr. Ildiko Tikasz, Agricultural Policy Department of the [Hungarian] Research Institute of Agricultural Economics, presented the local researchers’ study on the practical results of livestock production based on non-GM soy in Hungary, as intended by the local government. The study shows a very high cost of honest application of non-GM feed policy in this northeast European country, where many politicians are seen as hostile to green biotechnology.
The Budapest seminar was the largest in USSEC’s northeastern European sub region and the last in a series of U.S. Soy promotional events held in Europe in FY15. Mr. Kosieradzki said, “Undoubtedly, the work of a whole group of U.S. farmers’ representatives will contribute to sustain and possibly expand our exports to the various European countries.
USSEC and United Soybean Board (USB) director Bob Metz participated in a biotechnology seed outreach activity funded by the U.S. State Department from September 20-26.
The activity targeted the Heilongjiang State Farms (HSF), which is a state-owned enterprise (SOE) that farms over seven million acres of corn, soybeans, rice, pasture lands, and specialty crops. HSF’s current soybean plantings are just over 1 million acres and corn is at 2.2 million acres, none of which is planted with seeds offering the production advantages of biotechnology.
The purpose of the outreach activity was to convey the positive economic and environmental experiences of U.S. soybean and corn producers that have adopted biotechnology to HSF senior management. The expected outcome of the activity is that agriculture officials in the largest, most important SOE crop production company in China will become more comfortable with the prospects of planting biotechnology in China and convey their interests to utilize biotechnology to the Chinese government. This in turn will create an environment where new biotechnology events will be approved more quickly.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Shenyang Agriculture Trade Office, the Science and Technology office of the U.S. consulate in Shenyang, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and Syngenta also participated in this event.
The 2015 U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange offered general and breakout sessions fitted to the interests of all participants. Over the course of two days, trade teams, exhibitors, grower leaders and other guests heard from experts in the areas of economics, leadership, sustainability, food, feed and transportation. The presentations are available for viewing at: https://grainconference.org/Presentations.php.
Chip Flory, editorial director of Pro Farmer and host of Market Rally Radio, provided a U.S. crop report and global soy and grain demand outlook.
A panel of international food and feed buyers followed, with the theme of “Why I Buy, What I Buy, Where I Buy—To Meet Our Customers’ Needs.” Toshihiro Shinohara, director of the soybean department at Sanko Food in Japan; Dr. Soon-Bin Neoh, managing director of Soon Soon Group in Malaysia; and Djamal Djouhri, CEO of Al Ghurair Resources LLC in the UAE each gave a presentation discussing his buying experience.
Mr. Shinohara pegged Japan’s soybean consumption at 3 million metric tons (MMT). He described Japan’s conditions of processing as non-GMO, thorough identity preserved (IP) handling, positive list history, timely delivery and price. “Freshness and quality need to be consistent,” he stated. Japan expects a stable supply of non-GMO IP food beans, new seed development to meet specific needs of the market such as white hilum for miso and permanent support via USSEC, he said. “One of the summary points is it takes a real team,” he concluded.
Dr. Neoh said that Asia imported 87 MT of soybeans in 2014/15. Because there is no crush industry in Malaysia, beans are imported for food use. Value is based on moisture, protein, oil content and protein dispersion index (PDI).
“The higher the PDI,” stated Dr. Neoh, “the higher the value. The U.S. has a very high PDI.”
Mr. Djourhi reminded the audience that there would be an additional two billion people in the world by the year 2050, underscoring the need for quality protein sources. He gave the reasons of uninterrupted availability of crops, reliability in the logistics, frame contract, solving problems in quality, and the right price for the right quality as factors of where he chooses to source his soy.
Conference goers were next able to choose between sessions on transportation, global trends or co-ops. “Transportation—West Coast Shipping Recovery & Future Outlook” featured Peter Friedmann, executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition in Washington, D.C.; Gregg Hoffman, senior merchant, United Grain Corporation in Vancouver, WA; and Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.
Another group of breakout sessions provided a choice between transportation, U.S. food grade soybean supply outlook and international protein demand. Ken Eriksen, senior vice president of transportation, industrial and energy services of Informa in Memphis, presented “Opening of the Panama Canal in 2016 and its Anticipated Impact on Global Soy & Grain Transportation.” The U.S. Food Grade Soybean Supply Outlook Panel was presented by speakers from four production regions: David Martin, president of Bluegrass Farms of Ohio in Jeffersonville, OH; Rob Prather, Huron Commodities, Monticello, IL; Chris Arnold, Scoular Company, Omaha, NE; and Rick Brandenburger, president of Richland IFC in Breckenridge, MN. Informa senior vice president Rob D. Murphy spoke about international protein demand.
Mr. Eriksen detailed key Panama Canal expansion efforts, mentioning that a third set of locks would be added, in addition to a Pacific access channel, additional dredging, and improvements to the water supply, adding that “25-27 million gallons of fresh water are needed to flush each large ship through.”
Currently, 3 out of 10 bushels of U.S. grains and soybeans pass through the Panama Canal.
He described the expansion as a “monumental undertaking” and pondered what the bigger ships (currently the largest size is referred to as ‘Panamax’) would be called. “Post-Panamax vessels? Neo-Panamax vessels?” he asked. “Doggone it, they’re just bigger ships.”
The expansion of the Panama Canal will offer competition for many nations, he added, and will not be obsolete for a long time to come.
Mr. Eriksen concluded, “When we build infrastructure, we build not just for tomorrow, but for tomorrow’s tomorrows.”
The last group of breakout sessions offered options varying from transportation, labeling, and risk management. “Transportation—Agricultural Shippers’ Perspectives—Navigating Transportation Options to Best Serve our Customers” was anchored by Mike Henderson, merchandiser, International Feed, Long Lake, MN and Ron Marshall, general manager, Toyota Tsusho America, Inc., Elk Grove Village, IL. “U.S. Third Party Verification & Auditing Programs for Voluntary Food Labeling for non-GMO, Food Safety, Halal, Kosher & Other Product Traits” featured Steve Ross, manager of field operations, “USDA Process Verification Program,” USDA Agricultural Marketing Services; Edwin Pearce Smith, lab manager, Erofins GeneScan USA; and Nova Sayers, senior business development manager, NSF Consumer Values Verified. “Tools for Risk Management” was presented by Steven Stasys, director of agricultural options at the CME Group in Chicago, IL.
On Friday, September 11, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota spoke to conference participants.
Dr. Jay H. Bryson, managing director and global economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, NC, gave the keynote address. Dr. Bryson spoke about the outlook for the world economy and international trade.
Breakout sessions followed, offering participants a choice between hearing about sustainability, emerging growth markets or soybean meal’s feed nutritional value. Henk Flipsen, director, NEVEDI Dutch Feed Industry Association in Rotterdam, Netherlands; Eric Rosenburg, vice president at Bryant Christie Inc. in Seattle, WA; and Brent Babb, USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA presented “Sustainability—How the Global Marketplace Benefits from the Sustainability of U.S. Soy.” “Emerging Growth Markets for Specialty Grains & Soybeans” featured Beth Robertson-Martin, sourcing lead for organic, natural and non-GMO ingredients from General Mills and Becky Starr, western regional manager for Harvest Innovations in Indianola, IA. “Feed Nutritional Value of Soybean Meal—Amino Acids: Does Origin Really Matter?” was presented by Dr. Hans Stein of the National Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois in Champagne, IL.
British author, journalist and environmental activist Mark Lynas was the final speaker, presenting “Get to Know your GMOs.” Mr. Lynas was a well-known anti-GMO activist from 1995-2001, but changed his viewpoint after realizing that his views were not based on science.
As he was researching the books he was writing about climate change, he recognized that his stance on that subject was scientific, but his view on GMOs was not. The bottom line, Mr. Lynas, stated, is research.
“I was really proud that I was starting to think more like a scientist than an activist.”
He added that believing in science says that you must sometimes change your mind.
“You can’t just listen to the scientists on climate change and ignore them on the GMO issue.”
Mr. Lynas said that fear and emotion are an effective combination because “science speaks to the head, while emotion speaks to the heart.”
He closed by saying that he feels the tide may be turning as more mainstream media and well-known scientists are backing the science behind GMOs. Developing countries such as Tanzania and Bangladesh may lead the way, he stated.