News: Event followup
USSEC attended the 2016 Commodity Classic from March 3-5 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Commodity Classic, which is which widely viewed as the largest farmer-led and farmer-focused convention and trade show in the U.S., provides opportunities for growers, member associations, agribusinesses and media to check out new products and connect with each other. USSEC exhibited a booth at this year’s show and hosted a reception for about 60 people.
USSEC hosted a team of delegates from Morocco’s feed, egg and poultry industries at the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia from January 26-28.
The show, ranked in the top 50 of all trade shows in the U.S., is a global meeting forum for suppliers, producers and processors displaying the latest equipment and services representing the entire chain of protein production and processing, and creating a platform for international soy buyers and US suppliers to meet.
It attracted key decision makers from poultry operations, integrated companies, feed mills, associations and allied industries professionals to share ideas, network and conduct business.
At USSEC’s luncheon meeting, the Moroccan delegates greatly benefited from the information presented by Dr. Armando Mirande on “True Costs of Avian Influenza,” the current market threat.
USSEC consultant Khalid Benabdeljelil accompanied the delegation and guided them through various activities conducted by USSEC and IPPE. They were invited to the USSEC booth where they learned more about USSEC and met soybean meal suppliers from the U.S.
Current issues were discussed with United Soybean Director (USB) director Robert White; American Soybean Association (ASA) directors Brooks Hurst and Steve Yoder; Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR & PC) director Jim Call; and Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) director Mike O’Leary.
USSEC’s St. Louis-based staff, along with several consultants from other markets including Europe, Asia and South America, discussed issues related to soybean use with the Moroccan customers at the USSEC booth.
The discussions and one-on-one interactions during the three-day event improved confidence and trust levels between the Moroccan delegation and the U.S Soy industry and USSEC’s worldwide operations.
USSEC continues to mark successes related to its third Moms to China mission, which took place in early December as part of the International Soy Growers Alliance (ISGA). The goal of the mission was to engage with Chinese key opinion leaders (KOLs) to help build confidence in the safety and importance of biotechnology while highlighting how this technology can enhance sustainable food security.
The KOL engagement achieved about 600,000 impressions and an event held at the Guokr Food Lab achieved about 100,000 impressions, which does not account for the impressions generated by non-KOLs who attended the events and shared it among their WeChat friends’ circles.
The Chinese language website, www.soyfarms.com, developed by USSEC, has posted a video of the Guokr event. Although the website is in Chinese, the video is in English with Chinese subtitles. To watch the video, please click here.
Twenty-nine participants from the Asian Subcontinent (ASC) visited the 2016 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta from January 26-28. They participated in all USSEC-coordinated events, expressing enthusiasm along with a desire to elevate their business and technical abilities. USSEC Animal Utilization consultants – ASC Pawan Kumar and Yadu Nandan coordinated the team and facilitated interactions with U.S. Soy grower leaders, USSEC global consultants, and USSEC staff, along with attending various soy discussions organized by USSEC. The trade team was comprised of feed millers, soy importers, feed formulation consultants, poultry media, representatives of the Poultry Federation of India and commercial officers from the U.S Embassy, Pakistan.
Participants took turns visiting the USSEC booth and interacting with the USSEC team to learn about sustainability, differentiation, supply and logistics of U.S. soybean meal and obtained knowledge on advancements in the global poultry sector and tackling avian influenza. The Nimbus Group from Nepal, which is a client of DeLong, utilized the IPPE venue for discussions and moved forward its agenda of branding and launching U.S. Identity Preserved Soy Oil in the Nepal market; it will soon acquire SSAP certification to further strengthen branding. Some decisive meetings were organized by Dr. Kumar and Dr. Nandan to help connect Pakistani entrepreneurs to establish their full fat soybean meal plant, possibly the first of its kind for the country.
Drs. Kumar and Nandan also used the event to quantify industry size (in terms of volume) through participation. The feed mill participants accounted for an annual production of 864,000 metric tons (MT), which depends on 172,000 MT of soy meal. The ASC feed formulation consultants from the poultry industry are directly connected to an annual feed milling capacity of 3.15 million tons, which utilizes 630,000 MT of soy meal. USSEC – ASC feels this is a sizeable group that derived multiple benefits that will eventually translate into value and business for the U.S. Soy industry.
USSEC, together with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), China Animal Agriculture Association (CAAA), China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce (CFNA), and China Meat Association (CMA) organized and conducted the 2015 U.S. – China Swine Industry Development Symposium on September 16.
This is the symposium’s fourth year and this year’s topic was “Is Bigger, Better?” There were about 200 attendees, roughly 60 percent swine producers and the rest a mix of industry, government and association representatives.
Two grower leaders, John Heisdorffer, USSEC director and American Soybean Association (ASA) vice president, and Bob Metz, USSEC and United Soybean Board (USB) director, traveled to China to participate in this event. Mr. Heisdorffer provided opening remarks, talking about U.S. soybeans and his farm. Mr. Metz made a toast on behalf of USSEC at the gala dinner following the symposium.
USSEC Marketing Director – Animal Nutrition & Meal Pam Helmsing, USSEC Regional Director – North Asia Paul Burke, USSEC Country Director – China Xiaoping Zhang, and USSEC Animal Utilization (AU) Technical Director Dr. Richard Han also attended this symposium. Mr. Zhang chaired the session in the afternoon and Dr. Han provided comments on the China swine farm models.
Participants learned about models, management and challenges to both the U.S. and China swine industry during the symposium, which provided a good bridge to understand and communicate between the agriculture industries in the U.S. and China.
The group also participated in customer meetings on this trade mission.
On September 17, the delegation attended the Novus/USSEC Swine Master Academy in Xiamen. Mr. Heisdorffer and Mr. Metz both talked to the attendees about swine and soybean farming in the U.S. and the quality and safety of U.S. Soy. Dr. Han discussed the nutritional advantages of U.S. Soy and sustainability.
The following day, the group visited Hua Mei Swine farm outside of Xiamen, which has about 1,500 sows and finishes 20,000 head per year. The owner had attended the Swine Master Academy and USSEC consultant Dr. Mike Brumm provided suggestions to improve profitability, including reducing feed and water waste and optimal particle size for feed, noting that there is no need to further process U.S. Soy.
On September 19, the group was joined in Shanghai by ASA director Monte Peterson and Rob Westmoreland of Informa to visit an Intensive Pond Aquaculture (IPA) fish farm in the Songjiang District southwest of Shanghai. IPA technology can increase fish production in a pond threefold. The farm is experimenting with upping it to five times the fish that can be producing using conventional aquaculture technology.
At Shanghai Xinnong Feed Company, the delegation met with the purchasing manager. This company purchases three to four million metric tons (MMT) of soy per year for hog feed. They purchase U.S. Soy from November through June and prefer it because of its golden yellow color and the stable protein and oil levels. The company can and does specify country of origin and prefers U.S. soybean meal to Argentine even if the Argentine meal is cheaper.
On September 21, the group participated in the USSEC industry roundtable. Mr. Heisdorffer and Mr. Peterson talked about their farms, the markets and risk management. They fielded questions about weed management; GMOs; whether they will plant more corn or soybeans next year; freight rates; supply and capacity, particularly in the Pacific Northwest; crop insurance; credit and government subsidies; and why U.S. Soy has a better amino acid profile. At the break immediately following the grower leaders’ presentations, some of the participants remarked that this conference had been the most informative one they had ever attended.
USSEC led a soybean oil marketing mission from August 16-21 to Costa Rica and Mexico. The Americas region is U.S. soy oil’s largest exporting destination and these two countries are U.S. Soy’s biggest oil customers.
United Soybean Board (USB) directors Jim Domagalski of Michigan, Dallas Wright of Delaware, Jay Myers of North Dakota, and Belinda Burrier of Maryland, along with American Soybean Association (ASA) director Ron Moore of Illinois joined USSEC Marketing Director – Human Nutrition/Oil Marypat Corbett, Marketing Assistant – Human Nutrition/Oil Jelena Smojver, Regional Commercial, Technical & Marketing Director – MENA Mousa Wakileh, USSEC Regional Director – Americas Francisco de la Torre, USSEC Regional Marketing Director – Americas Nayeli Villanova, and USSEC consultants Pedro Gonzalez, and Mark Anderson on this trip.
The purpose of the mission was to examine future export opportunities and competitive global market factors impacting U.S. soybean oil that can help define and develop effective defensive/counter-offensive actions and market development activities to increase the value and volume of U.S. soy oil exports.
The trip included an orientation on the vegetable oil retail sector in both Costa Rica and in Mexico, which involved visits to several different types of grocery stores. The shops included all types from large warehouse-style stores to small, mom-and-pop corner stores known as “chicos.”
The grocery store visits provided the U.S. farmers with an opportunity to observe and investigate how oils are marketed and sold in this region. At each store, the grower leaders looked at the types of oil, the length of the vegetable oil aisle and the shape, size and labeling of the container.
The U.S. farmers marveled at the vastness of consumers’ oil choices. Mr. Domagalski said, “The aisles that contained soy oils and other frying oils were from one end to the other.”
Ms. Corbett explained, “The competition [between oils] is unbelievably huge in both countries. Some vegetable oil aisles were over 50 feet long and had shelves that were 6 feet high – full of vegetable oils. They contained soy and soy blends, solid palm oil and liquid blends, canola and blends, sunflower and blends, and olive oil. The containers ranged in size from 2 pints to 4 gallons.”
In the Americas region, the per capita purchase and consumption of vegetable oils is 4.5 gallons (17 liters) a year, because people often fry foods for all three daily meals.
Mr. Domagalski continued, “Here in the U.S., I took notice when I returned. The frying oils areas are much smaller. Even with the fact that here, there are also several oils to choose from, the volume didn’t compare to Costa Rica stores.”
Consumption of vegetable oil is even higher in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region – closer to 9 – 12 gallons per year. Oil is used for every meal and to preserve pickles, which are extremely popular and served at least twice per day. Mr. Wakileh pointed out that, many years ago, the crushing and refining industry throughout the MENA region established regulations that made it illegal to blend oils.
Labeling of soybean oil in the Americas region is very different from the United States with helpful health benefit label claims on the soy oil bottles such as “Omega 3 and 6” and “No Trans Fats.” Some products had healthy additives such as Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and flavors such as garlic. The companies capitalize on soy’s differences from the competing oils and use a “Soy is Healthy” platform. In addition, there are cardiac health and diabetes association labels endorsing the use of certain oils.
The next phase of the mission included interactions with the largest U.S. soy oil customers in the two countries. Both are crushing/refining companies and are interested in the promise of the U.S Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol.
According to Mr. Moore, “These companies are some of U.S. soybean farmers’ best customers.”
With help from USSEC, both companies were responsible for introducing soybean oil into their markets over 10 years ago and making it the premium priced oil. Both have established their soy oil market and increased sales using a health platform, with one company relying upon Facebook as its most important form of communication. The other company has seen its marketing programs significantly increase its sales.
Both crusher/refiner companies gave several examples where they had recently been recently challenged to migrate away from soybean oil by very large customers. The solution for the refiner could be to add a small percentage of another oil to its current 100 percent soybean oil product to meet the demands of this large customer.
The two companies stressed how they value U.S. soybean growers and their long-term relationship with USSEC, mentioning specifically that no other commodity or company offers partnering knowledge of the market place like U.S. Soy growers. Both crusher/refiners mentioned that they see U.S. soybean farmers as a true industry partner. They said it would be extremely beneficial to them if the U.S. would start labeling the soybean oil sold in U.S. grocery stores as soybean oil and not vegetable oil.
These businesses import whole U.S. soybeans and are very much interested in soybeans that have a composition which would give them higher oil yields and make a soybean meal that is higher in protein – they want more than 37 percent protein. These companies are interested in high oleic soybean oil as they see it as a way to effectively compete against South American soybean oil, canola and sunflower high oleic oil.
Mr. Moore said, “They indicated that they preferred U.S. soybeans because of their higher quality. They also were excited about the new high oleic soybeans and wanted to purchase them as soon as they became available.”
The purpose of the roundtable meetings was for grower leaders to leave with an impression of what’s going on in the market and with a better understanding of what U.S. oil’s future so that USSEC can better strategize its projects in the coming years. Two important outcomes of the meeting were that USSEC confirmed and quantified competitors’ bench strength over the next one to three years and helped confirm regional priorities and prospective positioning focus for future U.S. soy oil program development.
Ms. Burrier said, “The roundtable discussions were very productive for all involved. The key piece I took away was the magnitude Facebook played in the popularity of soy oil and the promotion of soy oil as a heart healthy product with added Omega 3.”
USSEC’s next steps include working to get U.S. companies to relabel their vegetable oil as soybean oil; encouraging India to consume more palm oil, which threatens the consumption of U.S. soybean oil; concentrating on defending its U.S. export markets in the Americas and MENA; and expanding partnering efforts with customers because they positively impact exports of U.S. soybean oil.
USSEC hosted the U.S. Soy Buyers Conference and reception in Seoul, South Korea on September 18. The event commemorated USSEC’s 35-year presence in Korea and bid farewell to Say Young Jo, USSEC Country Director – Korea, who will retire on September 30 after 35 years of service to the U.S. Soy industry. 26 CEOs from the Korean crushing, feed and soy food industries attended the conference.
Belinda Burrier, United Soybean Board (USB) director, and Ray Gaesser, American Soybean Association (ASA) chairman, traveled to Korea for the events. Ms. Burrier presented the “2015-2016 U.S. Soybean Crop Forecast” and Mr. Gaesser spoke about “Biotechnology to Global Food Demand & Soybean/Corn to Export Pipeline” at the conference.
After the seminar, USSEC hosted a reception and dinner with more than 190 Koran customers attending. USSEC CEO Jim Sutter delivered his welcome remarks to the customers via video.
Leaders of Korea’s soy-using industries expressed their appreciation to USSEC and to Mr. Jo for their contributions to their industries by presenting plaques of appreciation and gifts.
USSEC Regional Director – North Asia Paul Burke, introduced Dr. Hyung-Suk Lee as the new country director and emphasized the continuous partnership between the U.S. Soy industry and Korea’s soy-using industries.
Five commodity/feedstuffs traders and manufacturers from Poland and Czech Republic were among the hundreds of customers from around the world who came to the U.S. in early September for the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Minneapolis.
USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe Jerzy Kosieradzki accompanied this team, which was excited by its visit to the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). For Michal Hadasik, Pawel Dulacz, Krzysztof Ulas and Jakub Jan Agas, who purchase grains and soybean meal on a daily basis, their time spent at the capital of global commodity trade and the opportunity to meet with the brokers in person was of great importance.. It was equally significant for Marek Kumprecht, a livestock nutrition and compound feed production specialist at DeHeus in the Czech Republic, but for other reasons: it was his introduction to the price discovery mechanism and risk management, which would help him in his new top managerial job at his company.
All of them, like many other international visitors, enjoyed visiting Minnesota soybean farms, where they not only appreciated the farm families’ hospitality, but they also enjoyed having the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of how U.S. Soy sustainability works at the farm level. Combining the theory on sustainability presented on and discussed at the Global Trade Exchange’s breakout sessions and at the trade show with the practical daily reality for an average U.S. corn and soybean grower was of special importance to the visitors and resulted in more trust in the U.S. products.
This year’s U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange was exceptionally well received by USSEC’s Northeast European customers. All of them agreed that the event offered a wide variety of subjects and every participant could find plenty of solid information for himself/herself.
Mr. Kosieradzki shared, “It was obvious for me that my customers would appreciate the keynote on the outlook for global economy and international trade, but I was truly surprised when my whole group decided to attend the session on soymeal quality by origin by Dr. H. Stein, University of Illinois, and they truly valued this newly acquired knowledge very highly. It is great for the commodity traders to listen information on this important topic!”
“The Northeast European customers also established or renewed a multitude of contacts during their very busy week in the U.S., which was an important added bonus for them,” concluded Mr. Kosieradzki.
USSEC recently conducted a baking workshop at the University Vasco de Quiroga in Morelia, Mexico, to promote the use and performance of U.S. soybean oil margarines, shortenings and soy flour in baking applications.
This workshop, led by USSEC consultants Jorge Martínez and Oliverio Cruz, consisted of one theoretical session and one practical session. About 30 people from the baking industry in Morelia attended.
Mr. Martinez gave two presentations, the first titled “The Health Benefits of Soybean Oil.” The second covered the baking process, where he discussed the basic and optional ingredients for bread making and their functions, classifications of flours and their functions, dough formation and the relation with the gluten formation, baking dynamics, and the functions of shortenings and margarines. To illustrate these concepts, he discussed the preparation of recipes of baked goods and cookies.
Mr. Cruz conducted the practical session, where four kinds of common breads were prepared using U.S. soybean flour and soybean oil shortenings and margarines. Experienced bakers and participants tasted the prepared breads and all concluded that the use of soybean products does not affect the flavor and functionality of the breads, but enhances them. Participants also decided that the addition of soy flour to bread enhances the profitability due to a greater dough yield, lower dough cost and increased shelf life.
USSEC – Middle East North Africa (MENA) organized its first round table meeting for Egyptian soybean oil processors in Cairo, Egypt on September 10. Approximately 25 local key soybean oil refiners and crushers participated.
USSEC regional technical and commercial consultant Najeh Asad moderated the event and two Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) staff members from the Cairo office attended the roundtable. Orestes Vasquez, Agricultural Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, provided opening remarks on behalf of Ronald Verdonk, the Regional Agricultural Minister Counselor.
Mr. Asad highlighted USSEC’s mission and potential projects to be carried out in Egypt promoting the use of U.S. Soy in the Egyptian market. He also spoke on the trends and growth of Egypt’s soybean oil sector.
Addressing customer issues, the consultant discussed the related refining difficulties due to the associated high green color and the high free fatty acid content, in addition to the possible causes of the color reversion occurrence in freshly refined soybean oil produced recently by a large number of the local refineries using crude soybean oil produced by local crushers from soybeans of non – U.S. origin.
The roundtable meetings were followed by site visits to key leading customers, during which the consultant discussed and presented the importance and advantages of U.S. soy oil attributes either obtained by direct import from the U.S. or by local crush of U.S. soybeans, in addition to the high value of related logistics issues.
Currently, Egypt uses over 600 thousand metric tons (TMT) of soybean oil with a total vegetable oil consumption of about 2.4 million metric tons (MMT). Additionally, Egypt consumes over 2 MMT of whole soybeans, which are mostly used by crushers to produce oil and meal. The local crush industry supplies about 50 percent of the country’s requirement, while the rest is covered through imports.
USSEC participated in the Abastur Trade Show in Mexico City from August 31 – September 3, to promote soybean oils and soyfoods. This trade show is one of the largest for the retail and food service segments in Mexico and Latin America. About 1,300 exhibitor companies from 12 countries participated in the 2015 show.
In the USSEC booth, more than 20 soybean products were exhibited and promoted, including soybean oils, soymilks and texturized soybean protein (TSP) foods manufactured by eight companies that consume U.S. soybeans and U.S. crude soybean oil in the Americas Region.
USSEC consultants Jorge Martinez, Pedro Gonzalez and Adela Perez worked at the booth and helped managers and representatives of the participating companies to exhibit and promote their U.S. soybean products, making more than 70 new commercial contacts.
Chef Giuseppe de Pascuale prepared different recipes using soybean oil, TSP, and soybean beverages for participants to taste.
The Abastur Trade Show promises to increase the sales of the soybean products of the participant companies and the consumption of U.S. soybeans and soybean oil.