News: Greater Europe
During the second week of April, USSEC met with integrated companies and feed mills from Romania to listen to and understand their challenges and offer technical assistance to customers of U.S. Soy. USSEC consultants Dr. Craig Coon, professor of poultry nutrition at the University of Arkansas, and Dr. Jan van Eys, animal utilization consultant from France, traveled to Romania to visit with large and rapidly expanding companies; all were top companies in their respective fields in southern Romania. Meeting with managers, quality control managers, nutritionists, and veterinarians was instructive and enhanced the access of U.S. Soy to these customers.
Together with the specialists at the companies visited, the USSEC experts reviewed the businesses’ quality control programs and laboratory methods. At this stage, the feed mill laboratories are pre-formatted and are under excellent management, thanks to the investments and high level of investment in the education of young professionals.
High levels of certain mycotoxins have been detected over the past year in the imported South American soybean meal in Romania and continue to be a problem for feed and livestock producers. Dr. Coon emphasized seasonal advantage (September to March), good infrastructure, and logistics as key advantages of U.S. Soy during discussions with the technical personnel of the companies visited.
Dr. van Eys, the author of the USSEC Soy Quality Manual, pointed out that careful attention should be paid to KOH protein solubility index since feed manufacturers around the world often found this quality parameter below the recommended levels and needing to be constantly investigated. Similarly, soybean meal carbohydrate levels are highly variable and have to be constantly analyzed compared with reference values.
The meetings with feed mill managers, quality control managers, nutritionists, and veterinarians were informative and allowed USSEC to gain a better understanding of the reality of the Romanian poultry and feed industries and its potential for progress and expansion. It clearly showed the opportunities and potential that exist in the Romanian market for growth in poultry production, and, consequently for the use of U.S. Soy products.
Specifically, USSEC should assist or continue provide local feed producers and integrations with information and support to enhance the understanding and importance of quality measures and formulation advantages/techniques to increase the performance of feeds and animals and, through this, show the potential of U.S. Soy.
On May 11, USSEC sponsored the annual networking event for the Dutch feed industry. Co-organized by the Royal Dutch Grain and Feed Trade Association (Het Comite) and the Dutch Feed Industry Association (NEVEDI), the event took place in a former feed mill complex, innovatively renovated as an event space, on the outskirts of Utrecht, Netherlands. As in the past, the organizers chose a broad theme for presentations and discussion. USSEC has participated in prior year’s sessions on sustainability and protein sources of the future. This year’s theme was Consumer Demand.
The first speaker of the morning session set the tone and provided an outline of how “incidences” lead to trends, which lead to patterns. A Dutch psychologist provided an analysis on consumer behavior in the supermarket, dispelling the five myths of consumer behavior, noting that while price is important, sustainability is of increasing importance to at least two of the market segments. She noted the importance of the social environment and that providing more information and facts alone will not change consumer preferences. A motivating story is better than facts.
The afternoon session began with a presentation by a representative of the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals who described a new market initiative to label meat on the retail level with “stars” based on their animal welfare standards. Science-based with input from all stakeholders, from producers to retailers, the program appears to be successful and is expanding with one of the major bulk/discount retailers in the Netherlands.
Brent Babb, USSEC Regional Director – Europe (EU) / Middle East –North Africa (MENA) provided a presentation on sustainable soybean production in the United States and the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP). He noted that NEVEDI was the first European organization to recognize the scheme and their critical assistance in having the scheme later recognized by FEFAC, the European-wide feed industry association. Mr. Babb also highlighted USSEC engagement with the Field to Market program and how this project engages a broad representation of interests, focused on continuous improvement and output metrics.
The final speaker of the day was an academic researcher who summarized her work on the lifecycle analysis of meat consumption, including “consequential analysis” of secondary impact. Among her conclusions is that switching from imported soybean meal to domestically produced rapeseed meal in animal feed would have a significant environmental impact, particularly in terms of greenhouse gases and energy use. She also defended a limited role for animal protein in meeting the global nutritional needs of the future.
At the end, all the speakers joined the directors of NEVEDI and Het Comite on the stage and participated in a discussion on various statements, with active voting and participation of the audience.
USSEC’s support for this event is critical and appreciated by the organizers. It provides a speaking platform for USSEC, enables networking and building contacts and critical insights into the current conditions and dynamics of the Dutch feed and livestock production industries. All involved look forward to next year’s event.
For the past year, promoting sustainable agricultural supply chains has been an important subject, both in EU countries and globally. Recently, sustainably produced feed, poultry, and livestock products have been a hot topic for Romanian and Polish poultry companies as well.
The poultry meat products in southeastern and central European countries are high quality due to excellent growing and modern slaughtering conditions but are sometimes unable to reach western markets because of export requirements often based on different certifications systems in different countries or increasing supermarket pressure and less because of consumer demand.
The sustainability of the poultry meat production system can be influenced by several factors, including the origination of ingredients, chemical composition, and nutrient digestibility of a diet, among others. Because the poultry industry is largely dependent on soy as its main protein source, this ingredient is tightly interlinked with sustainability today.
In an effort to show commitment to the Romanian and Polish poultry industries and build a preference for U.S. Soy, USSEC held a one day seminar on “Sustainable Soy, Poultry Production, and Marketing” in Bucharest, Romania with the goal to educate poultry nutritionists, veterinarians, management and marketing experts on U.S Sustainable Soy and poultry production.
In his speech, Dr. Jan van Eys introduced the current market situation for feed and soy, followed by USSEC’s sustainability program and a discussion on quality differences among origins in anti-nutritional factors. These aspects were a good introduction for the other speakers.
The key messages delivered by Mack Graves, management and marketing consultant stressed how modern consumers today prefer meat products produced with sustainable ingredients. Sustainability is a new marketing tool for the meat industries, which can be good for business as well as the environment. Companies must become transparent in all they do to and establish consumer trust and enhance meat consumption. More than 90 percent of the soybean meal consumed in Romania and Poland is imported, either directly as meal or as soybeans that are locally processed into soybean meal. Soybean meal and beans are some of the ingredients for which the Romanian Feed Manufactures Association specifically supports industry initiatives in order to make the supply chain more sustainable.
As the local market and export demand for poultry meat grows, so too does demand for poultry feed. In recent years, the demand for vegetable protein meals for use in poultry feed has increased in Romania, and this trend is likely to continue over the coming decade. The increasing consumption of vegetal protein in feed, combined with increasing meat consumption and sophistication of the customer should raise important questions about how the supply of soybean meal can keep pace with rising demand for poultry feed. Collaboration between U.S. farmers, suppliers, and integrated poultry meat producers is a crucial part for sustainable animal production. Romanian poultry meat producers recognize U.S. farmers and suppliers for their continuous improvement and their effort to address the big issues associated with soy production such as environment protection, soil preservation and water quality.
Dr. Craig Coon presented the latest findings in the field of broiler and broiler breeders’ nutritional research. Genetic progress of broilers’ growth performance traits has been exponential in the past decades. Selection for increased growth rate (feed intake) has led to their improved efficiency through their capacity to process increasing amounts of nutrients on a daily basis. Feed intake is regulated not only by dietary energy level but also by the concentration of amino acids in the diet (balanced protein).
Rene Schepens from Fermentation Experts Denmark emphasized that fermented plant protein can replace fishmeal while fermentation of vegetal protein increases the efficiency of use of phosphorous (100 percent) and nitrogen (15 percent), avoids environmental pollution and increases profits. Indigestible and anti-nutritional components in the raw materials are converted into health promoters during fermentation, if it is done in the correct manner.
There is an enormous worldwide additional need for protein (meat/eggs) in the future, and meanwhile, there is a limited availability and acceptance of animal protein in feed. Current animal farming practices emphasize on more natural rearing, fewer medicines/antibiotics and a continuing pressure to be efficient with inputs and output (N, P) are other two main trends in the Western feed and livestock business.
With the dependence of the Romanian and Polish poultry and feed industries on imported high quality protein ingredients such as fishmeal of soy protein concentrate (SPC) and/or soy protein isolate (SPI) for their specialty diets in broiler pre-starters and young animals, the development of substitutes such as fermented soybean meal is of major interest, both practical as well as economical.
By the end of the seminar, poultry professionals understood how to address the industry and marketing challenges and how the sustainability of meat production can be influenced through certification, manufacturing processes and policy change. A coordinated effort across the industry that includes ingredient purchasers, nutritionists and veterinarians and marketing managers may result in a more sustainable poultry industry in Romania.
After several years of sustained growth, the Romanian poultry industry has reached a stage where the management and marketing needs to be fine-tuned. USSEC has understood and answered the need of the poultry customers, organizing an exploratory visit from April 8-11 to understand the achievements and challenges of the poultry meat producers in Romania.
Mack Graves, a consultant specializing in corporate strategy, management focus, and marketing effectiveness in companies and organizations across the protein chain from beef to poultry, was invited together with USSEC animal consultant Dr. Jan van Eys, to visit with leading integrators in broiler and turkey meat production located in southern and central Romania. Bona Avis and Penes Curcanul are both important players and trendsetters within the Romanian market and commodity usage, and are consequently potential to increased soy usage.
Several years ago, Mr. Graves consulted with poultry integrated companies in Romania on behalf of U.S. Soy farmers.
“I was pleasantly surprised to see during my visit to Romania the evolution of the consumer towards quality and convenience poultry meat products,” said Mr. Graves. “The poultry meat products today are high quality thanks to the investments in high quality farming technologies and modern poultry processing plants. From what we understood, the Romanian poultry meat is not always reaching the export markets because of different quality certifications systems from different markets. Entering new markets and reaching the increasing demand for quality of the consumer are part of the sustainable marketing strategy.”
Today’s modern consumers prefer meat products produced with sustainable ingredients. Sustainability is a new marketing tool for the meat industries, which is good for business as well as the environment.
“Companies must become transparent in all they do to establish consumer trust and enhance meat consumption,” Mr. Graves concluded.
After his visit to Romania, Dr. van Eys reported, “Continuous promotional efforts to accompany the growth of this market and positioning of U.S. products in this market are recommended. Clearly, great progress has been made in the feed industry but some key opportunities for improvements remain. Those opportunities can be addressed by USSEC and, in the process, U.S. Soy will be promoted and profiled for its quality characteristics. The Romanian industry and market stands to grow significantly over the next several years, so an enhanced position of USSEC and U.S. Soy should translate in increased sales and opportunities.”
During the third week of April, the Bulgarian Feed Manufacturers Association (BFMA) held their annual conference in Velingrad City. This was the 27th year of the industry’s annual meetings, with a record participation of over 120 guests from Bulgaria and neighboring countries: Turkey, Romania and Hungary.
They were part of an excellent conference program, with high level technical presentations of speakers of international companies from Germany, Hungary, Czech, Denmark, Turkey and the U.S.
USSEC’s team of consultants, Dr. Jan Van Eys and Dr. Iani Chihaia, attended BFMA’s event on behalf of USSEC, with the goal to increase awareness of U.S. Soy’s sustainability and followed up with the recent Bunge import of U.S. soybean meal to Constantza Port. Alex Doring, the general secretary of FEFAC, was invited to join the USSEC team.
Following the opening of the event, Mr. Doring presented “FEFAC Vision 2030 on Sustainable Feed and Livestock Production –Working Priorities for 2017,” followed by Dr. Jan van Eys, who gave the paper “Sustainability Of U.S. Soy Production and Nutritional Considerations of Second Generation Soy Products.” The topics presented by the USSEC team triggered a lively question and answer session focused on the sustainability of soy and soy products versus other vegetal protein sources.
By the end of the conference, the main ag TV channel in Bulgaria, Agro TV interviewed the USSEC delegation.
BFMA’s conference provided plenty of opportunities this year to meet with the Bulgarian feed representative as well as with representatives of the feed industry of surrounding countries. The attendees of this annual meeting represented all aspects of livestock (feed) production. This allowed for a broad but thorough and lasting representation of USSEC and its objectives.
Near future development of the industrial animal production in Bulgaria will enhance demand for imported ingredients of superior quality and quality feed. As such, USSEC’s continued involvement and support will likely pay off in greater export potential mid-term.
In an effort to increase awareness of U.S. Soy and pave the way for future U.S. Soy imports and the sustainable feed industry, a USSEC delegation visiting Bulgaria during the month of April benefited from the unparalleled support of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Sofia and organized a meeting with the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BFSA), an integrated government body that combines feed and food regulations and animal health under the Ministry of Agriculture.
Established in early 2011, BFSA follows the best European practices for the implementation of highest standards of controls in the areas of safety and quality of food, food and feed additives, veterinary medicine and animal welfare, and feed safety.
The USSEC – FAS – European Feed Industry Federation (FEFAC) delegation was received at BFSA by Dr. Petya Petkova Ivanova, deputy executive director; Dr. Penka Maneva Kaneva, head of the feed control department; and Dr. Georgi Chobanov, director of the animal health division. The delegation had the opportunity to discuss and learn the latest details of EU regulations and discussed how these affect Bulgaria. Major progress has been made towards application and the contribution of the relatively young Bulgarian agency was discussed.
The presence of FEFAC’s Alexander Döring during the visit to BFSA opened additional, significant opportunities in terms of future meetings with government and feed industry representatives, as well as synergistic action in the Bulgarian and larger EU region. Closer cooperation between FEFAC and BFSA’s involvement in future general meetings was also discussed.
Feedback from BFSA representatives was extremely positive, laying the basis for future contacts and collaboration. The interest and potential of U.S. Soy was clearly put forward and was well accepted. Due to the established relationships, USSEC should be able to benefit from this cooperation and position itself for enhanced, positive enforcement of its message and ultimate goal: increasing demand for U.S. Soy.
USSEC sponsored a three-day dairy nutrition and dairy farm management seminar for Turkish dairy farmers and dairy feed producers April 11-13 at the Schothorst Feed Research Center (SFR) in Lelystad and Bergharen, Netherlands, with the goal to emphasize U.S. soybean meal quality in relation to its impact on dairy nutrition. 17 key dairy Turkish farmers and feed millers who are USSEC customers participated in this event.
The Netherlands is a leading country in dairy farming, and SFR is a leading research centers and is well accepted by the dairy industry. Dr. Rolf Speelman – BDM, Ivonne Kok -MSC and Ant Koopmans – DVM from SFR gave a presentation during the training about the latest developments in dairy feed evaluation systems; forage quality; nutritional strategies to improve health, fertility, milk composition, and quality; calf feeding; and the importance of soybean meal and soy products in dairy feeding. On the last day of the short course, the group visited the VetVice & Cow Signals Company for training by Dr. Joep Driessen – DVM of VetVice about cow signals and how to manage these signals for sustainable and profitable dairy farming.
The first short dairy course at Schothorst was very successful. Dr. Speelman focused on the importance of soybean meal and soy products in dairy farming and U.S. soybean meal quality and its effect on dairy nutrition and sustainable and profitable dairy farming.
All of the participants agreed that the event provided an excellent opportunity to update and gain new knowledge about dairy nutrition. Attendees also expressed their preference for U.S. soybean meal versus meals of other origins.
During the month of April, 30,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. soybean meal arrived in Constantza Port (Romania) for Romanian and Bulgarian customers. The imports, made by Bunge Romania, are worth over $14 million. Due to geographic proximity, 70,000 MT of U.S. soybean meal was loaded at the Port of New Orleans and delivered first to Istanbul, Turkey, where more than half of the load was left, before reaching the final destination, Constantza Port, the largest port on the Black Sea.
Because soybean meal is the main source of protein for the poultry and livestock feeds, the shipment was quickly unloaded and will be distributed within the next few weeks to key end users from Romania and Bulgaria.
USSEC worked closely with exporters and end users, and at the time of delivery, samples of soybean meal were collected at the port for chemical composition and amino acids profile analysis in order to establish as accurate a nutritional profile as possible of the ingredient to be used in commercial feeds. The updated ingredient matrix helped nutritionists to more easily formulate feeds, and capture the advantages of U.S. soybean meal, turning it into savings and better animal performances.
The current shipment is considered to be a success by all parties involved, including the exporter and end users. Coordination, follow up, and technical support are key factors in building a preference for U.S. Soy among Romanian and Bulgarian poultry and livestock integrated companies.
Even though they are not the largest in the European markets, the Romanian and Bulgarian feed and livestock industries have increased their production volume for three times since the 1996 year and local agricultural and animal farming sectors are on the way to be developed with EU funds. These are premises for mid and long term development of the South East European sectors and indeed, may potentially increase the demand for U.S. Soy.
USSEC sponsored the annual meeting and dinner of BEMEFA/APFACA, the national association of the Belgian animal feed industry, on April 27. Reflecting the bilingual mandate of public life in Belgium, BEMEFA stands for Beroepsvereniging van de mengvoederfabrikanten in Dutch and APFACA stands for Association professionelle des fabricants d’aliments composes pour animaux in French. The meeting took place at the historical Rodenbach Brewery in Roeselare, Belgium. Part of Belgium’s historic patrimony, the brewery was founded in 1836 and continues to produce one of Belgium’s most popular beers.
BEMEFA/APFACA Board Chairman Frank Decadt opened the meeting by thanking USSEC for its continued support of this event. He also took the opportunity to announce a “Save the Date” for the USSEC Belgium Country Meeting to be held in Ghent on November 21. Bob Delbecque, a well-known Belgian celebrity and facilitator, engaged the audience in an entertaining way, soliciting statements from people that covered the current hot topics in the Belgian and European feed industry, including GM, antibiotics in animal feed, changing consumer preferences, and the costs of the ever-increasing regulatory requirements. Participants asked how can they compete on the global markets when there is not a level playing field with their competitors.
The highlight of the evening, which was set up by a few comments by Mr. Delbecque, was the formal announcement of the new name of the organization. It will begin the legal and administrative process of changing its name to the Belgian Feed Association (BFA) with the process to be completed by the annual meeting in 2018. Using a name in English is common for Belgian companies who want to avoid any language related issues.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. exported $36.7 million in soybean meal to Belgium in 2016, a five-year high. USSEC’s support for this event strengthens the working relationship with the BFA, keeps U.S. Soy on the radar for the feed companies and end users, and generates a positive image for U.S. Soy.
USSEC hosted a one-day poultry nutrition and disease control seminar on April 7 in Bucharest, Romania with the goal to emphasize the U.S. soybean meal quality, in relation to its impact on nutritional diseases, such as rapid passage syndrome. Over 40 key customers participated in this event.
Dr. Richard Miles, professor emeritus of poultry nutrition, University of Florida, and Dr. Gary Butcher, professor of poultry diseases, University of Florida, visited Romania during the first week of April to meet with Romanian professionals.
Drs. Miles and Butcher accepted the invitation to visit Romania again, a country where several years ago, the two U.S. professors made an important contribution in educating young poultry professionals. In 2007, a group of 10 Romanians had attended a short course in poultry nutrition and disease control at the University of Florida, supported by the U.S. Soy industry. Currently, over 80 percent of the team trained in the U.S. hold key positions at commercial poultry farms in Romania and implementing the knowledge gained. The former short course speakers and participants had the chance to meet again in Romania, thanks to USSEC.
The conference began with a warm welcome for the professors and customers. Dr. Miles’s presentations focused on the importance of early nutrition of modern broilers and on the bird’s gastrointestinal tract development, in relation to U.S. soybean meal quality. The Rapid Passage Syndrome paper was also greatly appreciated, and the audience had many opportunities to interact with Dr. Miles about similar situations occurring in their broiler flocks.
Dr. Butcher’s paper on the use of antibiotics in poultry production and regulations in the EU and the U.S. was the hit of the seminar, inviting the participants to reevaluate current world trends regarding the elimination of antibiotics and the outcomes in the EU.
The participants agreed that the event provided an excellent opportunity to update and gain new knowledge about poultry nutritional related diseases and expressed their preference for U.S. soybean meal versus meals of other origins.
For more than two decades, the Polish Grain & Feed Chamber has been one of the most influential industry associations in Poland. The organization is also very active in Europe through its membership in the European Feed Industry Federation (FEFAC), the European grain industry lobby group (COCERAL), and, most recently, the European Commodities Exchange. The U.S. Soy industry has long worked with the Chamber on many issues, including channeling professional know-how to the Polish grain, feed, livestock and food industries.
On April 21, when the Chamber held its general assembly of members in Warsaw, USSEC brought Beat Spaeth, EuropaBio, director of Green Biotechnology, to speak to this audience on “The Present and Future of Biotechnology in Global & European Agriculture and Food Chain.” Mr. Spaeth explained the massive adoption of biotech crops in the world: in 2015, 18 million farmers in 28 countries planted biotech crops on 179.7 million hectares (approximately 444 million acres), which is just a marginal decline since 2014, despite furious attacks from opponents. “Could 18 million farmers be wrong about this new technology?” the speaker asked the Polish audience.
Speaking about the benefits that biotech crops and their derivatives offer to farmers and consumers, Mr. Spaeth highlighted the sustainability aspect of green biotechnology: production of more food on less land, reduced inputs use, reduced soil erosion, and lower CO2 emissions. The events that are in the public research institutions’ and the biotech industry’s pipeline will bring more benefits, such as resistance to new diseases, better insect and weed control, tolerance of drought and salty conditions, higher nitrogen use efficiency, better livestock feed efficiency and improved biofuel traits. The speaker stressed the consumer benefits, especially more healthy edible oils and enhanced nutritional value.
Commenting on the attitude to green biotechnology and regulatory practices in the EU, Mr. Spaeth pointed to the common hypocrisy at both Brussels’ and member states’ levels, namely stated support to innovation in agriculture and practiced expelling innovation by delaying authorization for imports, blocking applications for cultivation, and the sharp reduction of field trials. These actions cause the commercial biotech pipelines to focus not on Europe, but on other continents.
USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe Jerzy W. Kosieradzki thanked the Polish professional audience and the leaders of the Polish Grain & Feed Chamber for taking the lead in the local battle for extension of the moratorium on implementation of the Polish legal ban on GM feeds that was partially successful. The date of the ban’s implementation was set for January 1, 2019, not 2021, as the industry originally proposed.
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.
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.
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, in collaboration with Assalzoo (Italian Feed Association) and FCStone, recently held a risk management course in Verona, Italy.
25 people representing the Italian feed industry and soy crushers and importers attended the course, representing more than 70 percent of the industry. Participants from the main feed and meat production industry included the Veronesi Group and the Amadori and Martini Group. Italy’s feed industry produces nearly 13 millions tons annually, plus feed on farm, importing 2.2 million tons of soybean meal; the crush industry represents 2 million tons.
The objective of the course was to improve knowledge of risk management in the feed industry related to raw material used. Jaime Nolan Miralles and Rory Deverell, from FCStone Ireland, gave several presentations and provided tools for participants to apply in their businesses to better control their risk.
For these types of events, USSEC stresses the quality and sustainability of U.S. Soy. Brent Babb, USSEC Regional Director – European Union (EU) / Middle East – North Africa (MENA) discussed “The Sustainability of U.S. Soy” and Lola Herrera, USSEC South Europe consultant, presented “USSEC’s Compromise with the Italian Market” that explained USSEC’s projects in Italy and “Soybean Meal Replacement from Different Origins, Taking Quality into Account,” to highlight the added value of U.S. Soy.
USSEC hosted the Advanced Poultry Nutrition & Feed Manufacturing Seminar in Warsaw, Poland on March 20 and 21 for top Polish professionals involved in commercial poultry feed manufacturing. The majority of the audience represented major feed compounders operating in Poland, including Cargill, DeHeus, Wipasz, Golpasz, Piast, Ekoplon, and Tasomix, along with some smaller, but quality-oriented companies such as Neorol, Nutripol, Lira, ETOS, and Pasze BIOS.
Because the event was jointly organized by USSEC with the Polish Grain & Feed Chamber, Jerzy W. Kosieradzki, USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe, and Anna Zymerman, the Chamber’s Secretary General, welcomed the audience. Mr. Kosieradzki also introduced the participants to USSEC, its goals, and its activities.
A trio of renowned scientists and commercial specialists from Spain and Norway shared their knowledge: Dr. Gonzalo Mateos, professor of animal science at the University of Madrid; Dr. Birger Svihus, University of Life Sciences in Oslo, Norway; and Mr. Juan Acedo-Rico, Acedo & Associates, Spain.
Dr. Mateos spoke about the relationship between soybean meal’s physical properties, anti-nutritional factors, and their effects on birds’ performance. He later explained the factors affecting egg production in layers and how to influence broiler production with nutritional changes.
Dr. Svihus presented ways to optimize crop and gizzard functions through structural components and feeding management, later moving to influencing feed efficiency, litter quality, and gut health to eventually focus on how to adjust feed processing for maximum pellet durability.
Mr. Acedo-Rico added the engineering side of the picture by explaining efficient poultry feed manufacturing and the importance of diet meal conditioning for hygienic feed production, as well as grinding strategies at the feed mill for achieving adequate particle size.
After two days of lectures and discussions, the Polish audience was highly appreciative of the professional merit of the event and cutting edge know-how support provided to them by U.S. Soy.
USSEC attended the National Conference of the Romanian Feed Manufacturers Association, hosted by Smithfield, on March 16 and 17 in Timisoara City, Romania. Over 80 industry delegates and 10 foreign speakers from European and U.S. organizations participated in this event.
The USSEC delegation included American Soybean Association (ASA) vice president Bret Davis and United Soybean Board (USB) director David Iverson, and USSEC Regional Director – European Union (EU) / Middle East – North Africa (MENA) Brent Babb who traveled to Romania with the goal to increase awareness of U.S. Soy and promote sustainable U.S. Soy among members of the Romanian Feed Manufacturer Association.
After a brief introduction of USSEC provided by Mr. Babb, Mr. Davis spoke on “U.S. Soybeans’ Sustainability and Biotechnology” and Mr. Iverson discussed “U.S. Soy Outlook for 2017.” Both presentations were well-received by the audience and fit the conference agenda entitled “Security, Safety, and Sustainability for Increasing Competitiveness of the Feed Industry.”
In addition to the sustainability presentations made by the keynote speakers from USSEC, DSM, and Smithfield Romania, the audience was exposed to presentations approaching new sustainable feed products including extruded linseed or feed additives such as soy chelates. The event also provided the delegates with insight on the latest trends in raw materials, feed additives, and feed manufacturing, besides creating ample opportunities for feed companies and suppliers to interact and network.
USSEC Animal Utilization Consultant – Romania Dr. Iani Chihaia, acting as a facilitator for this event stated, “The solid presence and support of USSEC confirms our belief that the local feed and livestock industries will expand in the near future. We hope that the Feed Association will continue to serve as a platform for the industry players that allows our members to grow and implement the latest standards in safe and sustainable production.”
During the second day of the event, participants were invited to tour Smithfield’s Ferme Feed Mill, located in Vinga, Arad County. Over 60 people had the chance to take a tour to the largest and uniquely American-designed and -engineered feed mill in the country. The plant is an example of a feed manufacturer being able to produce different feeds under the latest safe and sustainable feed industry standards.
According to an ANFNC press release about the event, the conference in Timisoara was by far the best meeting of the feed association since its inception. Romanian representatives who attended and listened to the presentations were truly impressed with Smithfield’s overall organization, the quality of speakers and presentations, and the networking opportunities.
As for the foreign speakers and sponsors of the conference, the event allowed them to get a better understanding of the Romanian feed and livestock actual reality and potential for progress and expansion. It clearly showed the opportunities and potential that exists in this particular market for growth in livestock production and, consequently, the use of sustainable feed additives and manufacturing technologies, with U.S. Soy being one of the key products in this regard. Even though Romania is not one of the largest soy markets in Europe, its livestock and feed industries are growing and set a good example for other Eastern European countries to develop their industries.
Having USSEC delegates participating and giving speeches at the conference and offering support over the past several years for the development of ANFNC, as a strong professional organization and professional forum, is probably one of the most important success stories on how U.S. Soy farmers are committed to building relationships with European industry professionals and end users. USSEC will continue its promotional efforts to accompany the growth of this market and to position U.S. products in this market.
American Soybean Association (ASA) vice president Bret Davis and United Soybean Board (USB) director David Iverson traveled to Romania during the third week of March to visit with key soy importers and end users, including Bunge Romania, Banvit Romania, Combial – Bona Avis, Fatrom Swine Integration, and Smithfield Ferme. The delegation also visited the Animal Nutrition Research Institute (IBNA) to meet with shareholders, executives, and technical staff from customer companies. USSEC Regional Director European Union (EU) / Middle East-North Africa (MENA) Brent Babb joined the delegation and USSEC Animal Utilization Consultant – Romania Dr. Iani Chihaia escorted the group for the field visits.
The main goal of the grower leaders’ mission was to convey a strong message on the U.S. Soy Advantage and demonstrate the commitment of U.S. Soy farmers to the growing feed and livestock industries in Romania.
The week began with an informative meeting with Monica Dobrescu, Ag Specialist at Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) – Bucharest. Currently, Romania is the second largest EU 27 producer of maize and the top producers of sunflower seeds. With fertile soils and access to technologies, the country is producing annually over 20,000 metric tons (MT) of these products, but still exporting over 60 percent of the cereals and importing about half of the pork meat. The pork meat deficit and growing demand for animal products from the domestic and export markets has attracted several local and foreign investments (U.S., China, Denmark Holland, Turkey, Greece, and Switzerland) in the swine, poultry, and beef industries.
The delegation of U.S. Soy farmers had a tight and intensive program of visits, which gave them the chance to discover and understand Romania, one of the most important agriculture producing countries in Europe. Field visits were informative and allowed them to get a better understanding of the local farming sector, the reality of the feed and livestock industries, and the potential for progress and expansion. This helped the grower leaders to understand the opportunities and potential that exists in the Romanian market for growth in animal production and consequently, in the use of U.S. Soy products.
Continuing to support U.S. Soy customers will assist the development of this market and better position U.S. Soy products, especially because the companies and people visited during the week were very positive toward USSEC and U.S. Soy, standing to reason that the extra effort in supporting the current developments will deliver major returns in the near future.
USSEC hosted a one-day seminar in Bucharest during the first week of March for Romanian and Bulgarian nutritionists and feed mill managers with the goal to emphasize the efficient use and processing of U.S. Soy quality.
Through the papers presented at the seminar, consultants delivered a strong and clear take-home message: U.S. soybean amino acids’ digestibility and energy higher values advantages can better solve challenges of balancing feeds, high animal performances, and profitability. In addition, U.S. Soy farmers, as trusted suppliers, are able to supply the needs of today’s European feed industry for sustainably sourced ingredients.
“The audience enjoyed the information about relationship between soybean meal physical properties, anti-nutritional factors, and effects on animal performances,” stated USSEC consultant Dr. Gonzalo Mateos, professor of animal science at the University of Madrid, Spain. “There were very good interactions with participants regarding soybean meal attributes: particle size and particle size distribution, bulk density, color, trypsin inhibitors, urease and solubility indexes and how these properties impacts poultry and pigs performances. Several studies have been demonstrated that U.S. soybean meal is by far a superior ingredient compared to other origins soybean meals.”
Prior to and after the event, USSEC consultants Dr. Mateos, Dr. Birger Svihus, and Dr. Juan Acedo were escorted by USSEC Animal Utilization Consultant – Romania Dr. Iani Chihaia on field visits, with the goal of meeting soy end users and looking at the challenges that they are facing and how USSEC can provide solutions and maximize demand for U.S. Soy.
By the end of the activity, technical people from companies visited and seminar participants gained more knowledge about U.S. Soy’s positive attributes and, in this way, preference for U.S. Soy continues to be built.
The 5th regional Europe Union / Middle East – North Africa (EU/MENA) Soy Trade Exchange was held in Lisbon, Portugal, gathering almost 180 participants from roughly 40 countries.
The opening speeches and conference materials reminded the audience that soy products are the number one U.S. agricultural exports valued at over $20 billion with nearly 60 percent of total U.S. soybean production exported last year. Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa largely contributed to this export success. The U.S. Soy industry appreciates the partnership with the countries and companies represented in the audience.
The conference covered a number of topics that highlighted the developments and challenges central to the international and local soy markets and agricultural landscape. Major industry experts and senior trade representatives from Europe and MENA, including northeast Europe, attended the event and addressed many key topics. The participants showed real interest in learning about the latest developments in the soy markets, risk management, sustainability and quality.
In addition, the planned social and networking activities provided ample opportunities to develop and strengthen the relationships between the customers and key members of the U.S. soybean industry and explore real business opportunities.
Among the audience, USSEC had six customers representing leading commodity trading companies and feed compounders in the northeast European sub region who enjoyed the professional sessions and the whole conference.
Agnieszka Kotarska of Glencore-Poland said, “Thank you, USSEC, for having us at this highly professional and super interesting event. I am sure my Polish and Hungarian colleagues agree with me that the firsthand information gathered here and personal contact with many experts and industry members from the U.S., Europe, and other countries will be beneficial in our work in the months to come. We think it was a great event!”
These customers also valued the organizers providing all the presentations to them after the conference, calling it “unique” in the convention business.
USSEC staff and local regional consultants also held the event in high regard. USSEC Technical Director for Northeast Europe Jerzy Kosieradzki stated, “It was probably the best of all of the regional trade conference we had ever had in Europe/MENA Region. The presentations on soy markets and macroeconomic perspective were especially valuable and considered first class.”
The Lisbon Trade Exchange also confirmed that the earlier strategic decision made in the hosting region to reduce USSEC’s Europe/MENA customers presence at the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchanges, while focusing instead on the regional buyers’ conferences every second year and clearly targeted team trips to the U.S., was a good decision.