The USSEC Americas team recently took part in the 2017 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, as part of their animal utilization mission to the U.S. Over 31,000 poultry, meat, and feed industry leaders from all over the world visited IPPE. The 2017 IPPE featured 1,273 exhibitors and just over 8000 international visitors from 129 countries, with Canada having the largest representation with almost 1,400 attendees. The largest regional representation, however, came from the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America, adding up to 3,226 visitors, showing the strength and interest of the related industries in the Americas Region.
USSEC participated by having multiple regions represented and through various activities. The presence at the booth of U.S. Soy grower leaders, staff, and consultants from diverse regions allowed for animated discussions and interactions with visitors and industry representatives from multiple countries as well as exposing them to the U.S. Soy advantage and communicating the U.S. Soy sustainability message. This all translated to a prime opportunity for USSEC to continue building a strong preference for U.S. Soy.
The USSEC Americas team was represented by Gerardo Luna, Pedro Lora, and Belinda Pignotti, who, prior to the event, worked closely with the local Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) and U.S. Department of Trade Representations Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) representatives in the Americas to promote the registration of more than 750 contacts, all of whom were told about USSEC’s booth and encouraged to participate in USSEC activities during the event.
While attending IPPE, USSEC Americas consultants participated in the animal utilization (AU) contractor meeting held on February 1. Led by USSEC CEO Jim Sutter and Pam Helmsing, USSEC Marketing Director, Animal Utilization & Meal and Acting Asia Sub-Continent Lead, the meeting proved an interesting and useful experience allowing for interaction with contractors from different regions around the globe. Mr. Lora, Ms. Pignotti, and Mr. Luna shared relevant markets’ current conditions, successful experiences throughout the most recent fiscal years, and potential activities to best service stakeholders with U.S. grower leaders and staff.
At IPPE, USSEC hosted a luncheon where USSEC consultant Dr. Gonzalo Mateos presented a technical lecture, “Have You Checked Your Soybean’s Pedigree Lately? – Evaluating the Nutritive Value of Soybean Meal in Poultry Diets.” More than 120 people, including direct customers and lead industry association representatives, as well as FAS, FCS officials, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cooperators from more than 20 countries, attended this event. USSEC staff and contractors all collaborated in hosting such a distinguished group of guests.
Although the Americas region did not sponsor a group of industry representatives, prior to the event, consultants worked very closely with the local FAS and FCS representatives in the Americas, who did co-sponsor relevant attendees. Efforts by the regional team included promoting the registration of more than 750 contacts, namely from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. These contacts were all previously informed of USSEC’s booth and its location, and were specifically invited to USSEC’s luncheon. The Americas regional consultants arranged for two major specialized media to cover and report on the event and to have Dr. Mateos interviewed, thus resulting in a strong support of the distribution of information on USSEC and the technical content of conference.
“IPPE was a great experience that involved team work and crossing the efforts amongst consultants from different regions,” said Mr. Luna. “We all enjoyed interacting with visitors from all over the world and introducing our regional customers to the grower leaders. Our customers enjoyed talking with them and our ‘neighbors’ from SoyMeal InfoCenter, which provided ideas for potential activities.”
He continued, “Our team really enjoyed the opportunity to service our membership, both exporters and allied classes, and to provide them with specific information, contact leads, and market references and updates. Our conversations with them on their specific interests and capacities allowed us to better suggest contacts and better target their efforts.”
Leading up to and during the Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Colombia, USSEC – Americas has worked on a number of projects promoting the usage of U.S. soybean oil to importers, refiners, end users and consumers.
With the new long-range strategic plan (LRSP), the direction has changed to build more demand and value in the marketplace. Buyers at oil refineries have shown increased interest in USSEC’s new projects, and 100 percent of all soybean oil refining companies have committed to the 1st U.S. Soybean Oil Risk Management conference.
In this fiscal year, U.S. soybean oil exports to Colombia have grown from 25,400 metric tons (MT) to 54,600 MT, or approximately 115 percent above last year at this time. Colombia is now the third highest importer of U.S. soybean oil in the world and U.S. imports are expected to increase.
Executive presidents from the Venezuelan Feed Association (AFACA); Poultry Federation (FENAVI); and Swine Federation (FEPORCINA); in addition to institutional representation from Grupo La Caridad, the country’s largest animal integrator; Protinal/Proagro, the second largest animal integrator; Mayupan, the largest turkey producer in Venezuela; and Alconca/Ovomar, and Venezuela’s largest egg cooperative); and FAS Caracas officials attended a trade luncheon hosted by USSEC Americas.
One of the meeting’s main topics was the serious supply problem the industry is facing with the lack of foreign currency flow and availability. From June through September 2016, the industry contributed with a temporary “relief” by importing raw materials at a free dollar exchange rate, but this is no longer sustainable. From now on, all imports of raw materials will be made by the government’s purchasing agency only. According to this group, there is some local corn to last until February 2017, but the government will have to resolve the supply of soybean meal. The group stated that they foresee the sector shrinking by 20 percent of what used to be a regular production of 6 million metric tons (MMT) of feed up until 2015.
As part of USSEC’s goals for regulators to understand the need to innovate trade barriers and allow a better flow of U.S. Soy imports into the Americas regio, USSEC, and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) – Lima, and FAS – Quito, were involved in the process of gathering the recommendations necessary for an extension of a zero percent customs duty deferral for soybean meal imports to Ecuador. Parties involved worked very closely with the Trade Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture and Fishery (MAGAP).
On December 21, 2016, MAGAP presented a technical report with the recommendations to grant an extension of the customs tariff deferral of zero percent ad-valorem, and the temporary suspension of the Andean Price Band System for imports of soybean meal from any origin.
On December 23, 2016, during a general session of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Ecuador (COMEX), a three-year extension was approved, expiring on December 31, 2019.
According to the official document of this resolution, “The custom tariff in Ecuador is a tool of economic policy that must promote the development of local production, in accordance with government policies, to increase competition in the productive sectors in Ecuador.
Through Resolution No. 59 of May 17, 2012, published in the Official Registry No. 859, dated December 28, 2012, the custom tariff in Ecuador was approved.
With Resolution No. 040-2014, adopted on November 26, 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador (COMEX ) resolved to defer to 0% ad valorem and suspend the application of the Andean System Price Band until December 2016 for the importation of soybean meal, classified under customs tariff code 2304.00.00.00, referred to meals and other solid residues obtained from the extraction of soybean oil, including grinded or in pellets.”
USSEC discussed the health benefits of soybean oil, as proven in a clinical study, with an important oil refinery in Mexico. The refinery is looking to review their marketing strategy as a result of this study.
In September 2016, USSEC completed a clinical research study in the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition “Salvador Zubirán,” a highly recognized institution in Mexico. A group of PhD scholars with experience in nutrition conducted the study. The objective of the study was to analyze the effects of soybean oil versus other oils on levels of LDL cholesterol, lipoprotein profile, and other health parameters, in patients with hypercholesterolemia. The study was carried out following the scientific protocol recommended for this kind of research. It confirmed the health properties of U.S. soybean oil due to its unique composition of Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9 fatty acids and its high content of Vitamin E. The results of the study are being communicated to oil refineries so that they can use this information in their marketing materials for the Americas and other regions.
Main result of the clinical study: Soybean oil consumption decreased the total cholesterol in men by 11.5 percent and by 27.3 percent in women. The consumption of soybean oil also significantly decreased serum glucose by 18.5 percent in women.
The consumption of olive oil decreased LDL cholesterol levels by 13.9 percent in women. The consumption of canola significantly decreased serum triglycerides by 28.9 percent.
USSEC was invited, through Pork Colombia (Colombian Swine Association), to participate in an event developed by Colanta, the largest dairy processing cooperative in Colombia. The event took place in San Pedro, Medellin on November 26, 2016.
Colanta owns three state of the art harvest plants where they process veal, dairy cows, and pork, each one in its own line in one big complex.
As a dairy cooperative, Colanta also encourages its associates to raise pigs and therefore warranties their pig input for the swine harvest plant. The weight of a market pig has increased over the years from 100 kilograms (kg) up to 150 kg. The workshop, aimed at swine producers associated to Colanta, was set to demonstrate that a good heavy pig puts out more meat when fed properly, than a lighter pig. This is of interest to pork producers since Colanta pays by the percentage of lean meat on pigs.
To prove the importance of proper nutrition in pigs, two pigs, weighing approximately the same amount, from different farms, and with different back fat, were picked to debone and measure the amount of lean meat. The animal with the least amount of back fat rendered more meat than the one with high levels of back fat. This simple but effective demonstration showed participants how proper nutrition and farm management can lead to a higher percentage of lean meat, and therefore a higher monetary compensation.
Staff from Colanta and their associates spoke very highly of the workshop and of USSEC consultant Julio Chaves, to the point that they want to repeat this event at least twice a year with more and different Colanta associates. USSEC will help Colanta demonstrate that a heavier pig does not necessarily mean more fat when proper nutrition is taken into account and that U.S. soybeans play an important role in this equation.
As a direct outcome of the information and knowledge provided by USSEC’s biotechnology and sustainability team in September 2016, the Colombian Association of Endocrinology (ACE) is now officially supporting the poultry sector in Colombia in demystifying the supposed use of hormones in broilers, which had thought to be linked to early puberty in teenagers. This stance also comes from a thorough and comprehensive understanding of GMO products and U.S. production.
The president of ACE and a director of FENAVI, the Colombian Poultry Federation, participated in this program, led by USSEC. The Americas team was made up of more than 40 representatives from Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica and included representatives from the government, industry, and media sectors. Throughout the event, the group was exposed to U.S. regulatory authorities, academic /scientific representatives and grower leaders, all of whom provided valuable information and demystified beliefs around the topics at hand. The group had access to an array of information on agricultural production of GMOs in the U.S.
USSEC hosted a team of 12 animal utilization (AU) industry representatives from core customer companies from 5 Latin American countries to the New Orleans area in October 2016.
Through a series of visits and meetings over the course of three days, the customers gained first-hand exposure to some of the advantages of U.S. Soy, in relation to logistics, finance, and quality. Participants had the opportunity to interact with two USSEC member firms, a shipping agent, and USSEC consultant experts, and discuss purchasing and maritime freights.
The visit to Thionville Laboratories catered to specific interests expressed by customers from the Dominican Republic, English-speaking Caribbean, and Mexico. The CEO of Thionville Laboratories extended a warm welcome to the team and shared information relating to the technical aspects of surveying, its conditions, requirements, and advantages. The staff in charge of the laboratory and analysis discussed technical topics ranging from sampling procedures, to input analysis methods, to the equipment and resources available, and the most current techniques. The team had the unique opportunity to see the laboratory conduct a series of tests on soybean meal samples that had been submitted in advance by one of the firms in attendance, giving way to in-depth discussions.
CHS Inc. hosted the team at their Myrtle Grove facilities. It was the first time most of the members of the group had ever visited a port and export facilities, where they could tour and interact with trading representatives and local staff in charge. This opportunity led to discussions focused on current market perspectives, loading and exporting processes, execution of contracts, and competitive logistics in the U.S.
The third visit took place at Bluewater Shipping, Inc. After a presentation about their company and the services they offer, the discussion turned to the information and resources available to keep track and evaluate logistics and shipping, and follow-up vessels en route.
During the site visits, USSEC consultants Mark Kuehl (expert on freights), Ronald Perez and Francisco Cabrera (experts on purchasing and contracting), discussed the following topics with the group: pricing of products, domestic river and barge logistics, elevation facilities, and related costs. Mr. Kuehl conducted a presentation on maritime freights, freight market structure, and perspectives. Based on the most up to date information and figures, he led participants through comprehensive examples of freight estimations and transit times, which highlighted the logistical advantages of U.S. Soy and grains.
The AU team was escorted by USSEC consultants Pedro Lora, Fradbelin Escarraman, and Gerardo Luna, whose varied knowledge and expertise provided participants with a tailor-made experience, which allowed them to participate in discussions around key aspects of soybean meal, products, exports, technical, trade and marketing related issues.
The trip was a great success, and the team expressed their appreciation to USSEC and all the companies and firms visited.
USSEC consultant Pablo Adreani, founder of AgriPAC Consultants in Argentina, will present the outlook for South American agriculture at the AgServe Agriculture Outlook Summit in St. Louis on March 9.
Mr. Adreani, also a consultant to the United Soybean Board (USB), understands the dynamics of South American agriculture on U.S. producers and agribusinesses.