News: North Asia
USSEC organized the 1st U.S. Soy Ambassador Award ceremony to present the inaugural U.S. Soy Ambassador Award in Japan. The U.S. Soy Ambassador recognizes a tofu producer who won the national tofu competition using 100 percent U.S. soybeans. The first recipient of this award in Japan was Shigeru Ueda, CEO of Satonoyuki Shokuhin.
Satonoyuki Shokuhin was founded by Mr. Ueda’s father in 1961 and now consists of six separate companies that focus on not only food production and distribution but also machine manufacturing and high-tech packing development.
Mr. Ueda traveled to Tokyo with his wife and met with U.S. Embassy officials, representing U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, to deliver samples of his award winning tofu, Kokutoro. After presenting his tofu and participating in a press conference for the Japan food trade media, Mr. Ueda was honored in an award reception and dinner hosted by USSEC. During the award ceremony, Mr. Ueda expressed his appreciation for the high quality soybeans he receives from the U.S. and how his close relationship with U.S. suppliers and growers assures a consistent supply of premium soybeans that are best suited for his company. Mr. Ueda also stated that USSEC has been leading the world in promoting sustainable soybeans, which he said is a remarkable step towards achieving sustainability in our society and environment. “With the shared vision for a sustainable world, we are ready to make every endeavor to support the expansion of U.S. soybeans,” he said.
At the end of the ceremony, participants tasted three tofu dishes made with the rich and creamy winning tofu, Kokutoro. The recipes developed by a restaurant chef include vegan tofu tartare, avocado and tofu moose cocktail, and tofu pudding Hong Kong style.
Japan, the largest consumer of tofu products made with U.S. Soy, used nearly 477,000 metric tons (MT) of non-GMO identity preserved (IP) soybeans in 2015. USSEC Japan will continue to support Japan’s tofu industry in coordinated with the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Tokyo and Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) by establishing a U.S. Soy Sustainability Ambassador Award in the 3rd National Tofu Competition, which will be held at the Tofu Summit in Tokyo in December 2017. The award ceremony will be combined with the U.S. Soy Sustainability Ambassador Award winner in the 22nd National Natto Competition.
USSEC China co-organized the 2016 U.S. Swine Industry Development Symposium in Beijing with U.S. Grains Council (USGC), U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce (CFNA), China Animal Agricultural Association (CAAA), and the China Meat Association (CMA) on November 18. 160 entrepreneurs, general managers, government specialists, and technical directors from swine farms, feed mills, government offices, and national research agencies attended the event. The topics included improving environmental stewardship at large swine operations; changing regional distribution in the swine industry; improving linkages between producers and processors; and the role of global markets in meat and feed industries.
Bob Metz, United Soybean Board (USB) director, spoke on behalf of the U.S. soybean industry at the opening and closing ceremonies. He introduced USSEC’s activities in China and the advantages of U.S. soybean products.
“We [U.S. and China] are the greatest counties in the world and we face the same issues on the environment,” said Mr. Metz. “We should concentrate on what we do well and continue the cooperation.”
Xiaoping Zhang, USSEC Country Director – China, was one of four moderators of the symposium and hosted a session on improving linkages between producers and processors. Symposium guests told USSEC that the event allowed them to reflect on what has been achieved and to explore future opportunities that lie ahead of the industry, saying that if they don’t increase investment in improving the environment, they may go out of business in the next five years.
Mr. Metz also visited USSEC’s top-ten buyer Shangdong Bohi Industry Co., Ltd., preferred customers Shanghai Bright Liangyou group, and Shanghai Yuanyao Investment Co., Ltd. before the swine summit. He was escorted by USSEC Animal Utilization (AU) Technical Director Richard Han, USSEC Marketing Manager Claudia Chong and USSEC AU consultant Sam Shi and was informed of China’s market information and customers’ requirement and needs.
U.S. grower leaders including American Soybean Association (ASA) director Monte Peterson and United Soybean Board (USB) director Walter Godwin traveled to Shanghai in eastern China to visit local customers and speak at the 2016 U.S. Soy Buyers Market Outlook Conference Nov. 12 – 15.
On November 14, more than 110 participants attended the 2016 US Soy Buyers Market Outlook Conference, representing Chinese industry leaders from key importers, crushers and feed integrators. The conference was aimed at promoting U.S. soybeans by providing the latest information on U.S. soy crop size, quality, and U.S. farmers’ perspectives on the global supply and demand situation, and to share their sustainable production practices with Chinese customers to enable them to make earlier and better decisions on purchasing new crop from the U.S.
Perry Ostmo, North Dakota soybean grower, and Seth Naeve, USSEC consultant and professor at the University of Minnesota, also spoke during the conference. Grower leaders and speakers answered questions and made comments during the Q&A session.
Toward the end of the main session, USSEC Country Director – China Zhang Xiaoping presented an overview of U.S. Soy exports to China in the 2015/16 marketing year. Based on the information, USSEC identified China’s top ten largest and most loyal buyers of U.S. soybeans. The grower leaders awarded the winners prizes which symbolized their commitment to the “tailored market and technical services” from the U.S. Soy industry.
On the same afternoon, a closed-door panel discussion was arranged for the top ten largest and most loyal buyers, in collaboration with USSEC member companies, to promote trade relations between U.S. Soy exporters and importers. These top buyers represent approximately 80 percent of the total volume of China’s imported soy from the U.S., and strengthened business relations with them will help maintain and expand demand. About 40 attendees joined the panel discussion, including Yihai Kerry, Jiusan, Bohi, COFCO, Xiangchi, Sanwei, Sunrise, Hope Full, China Sea, Bunge China, Cargill China, and USSEC member companies including ADM, Bunge, Cargill, CHS, CME, Lansing and Scoular.
During the panel discussion, USSEC member exporters and buyers had open exchanges on their concerns and perspectives of the soy market, covering topics including the U.S. Soy advantage in amino acid profile, sustainability, quality concerns on the current U.S. crop in terms of protein, oil, biotech approval delays, and its potential threat to soybean trade.
2016 marks the eighteenth anniversary of this event hosted by the U.S. Soy in China. The event has been regarded as a branding program of U.S. Soy, and Chinese customers highly value this opportunity to network and interact with U.S. grower leaders and market specialists to acquire information on the U.S. Soy crop quality, market situation, and price trends. Some buyers inquired about this event six months in advance, and all the top buyers have shown a high level of sensitivity to their yearly ranking. According to the post-conference evaluation, 100 percent of the participants agree that the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) will meet the needs of their company or partners in achieving future sustainability goals.
On November 13, the grower leaders and the USSEC consultant paid a visit to a key feed and integrator located near Shanghai city, which produces 200,000 metric tons of feed and 400,000 heads of hogs a year, and they target to produce one million heads of hogs by the year 2019.
Leaders from the U.S. Soy industry travelled to China to attend the 4th China Food Security & Food Safety Strategy (FSFSS) Summit and exchange views with the country’s policy advisors in Beijing on November 12 and 13.
The FSFSS Summit, organized by China’s top policy advisory body Development Research Center of the State Council, was held at the Diaoyutai National Guesthouse, a garden-style complex where Chinese leaders meet and house foreign heads of state.
The U.S. delegation, including USSEC Chairman and American Soybean Association (ASA) Director Jim Miller, ASA President Richard Wilkins, United Soybean Board (USB) Director Bill Beam, and USSEC CEO Jim Sutter, expressed concerns during the summit over the delays in China’s approval procedures for biotech soybean events. Mr. Miller, in his presentation on “Science-Based Food Safety Regulatory System,” made the case that the GMO food issue should not be muddled up with the food safety issue, as the seeds have been tested for safety and approved well ahead of being processed into food. Mr. Wilkins warned Chinese policy advisors that biotech approval delays would not only hurt growers and seed developers, but the environment and consumers as well. Mr. Beam argued that advanced technology, including biotechnology, enhances sustainability, and helps with global food security and food safety.
The U.S. Soy grower leaders also held a sideline meeting with Mr. Han Jun, Vice Minister of China’s Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group (CRWLG) to communicate the U.S. Soy industry’s efforts in consumer education on biotech, express the industry’s concerns over approval delays, and elaborate on the possible negative impact on China’s food security and food safety.
Mr. Wilkins also had an informal discussion during the summit with Chen Xiwen, CRWSLG’s former Deputy Director. Mr. Chen, currently serving as President of Tsinghua University’s China Institute for Rural Studies, shared his views on the country’s ongoing structural reform of agricultural supply and expounded the multiple causes behind the fluctuations in China’s domestic agricultural prices in recent years.
The U.S. delegation also networked with industry leaders in animal feed and biotechnology. They showed particular interest in China’s use of agricultural drones and talked with Justin Gong, co-founder and CMO of south China’s agricultural drone manufacturer XAIRCRAFT, on business opportunities opened up by this technology, which is relatively new to China.
Also speaking at the summit were Iowa Governor Terry Branstad; Luke Hartsuyker, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia; and Martyn Dunne, Director General of the Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand, among others.
USSEC participated in the third annual U.S. – China agriculture and food seminar, held during the 27th session of the China-U.S. Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). This year’s theme was “Advancing Mutual Goals in Food Safety,” taking place on November 22 in Washington, D.C.
USSEC Chairman Jim Miller and USSEC CEO Jim Sutter represented USSEC, and Mr. Miller provided closing remarks.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, Ambassador Darci Vetter, and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang also spoke at the seminar.
Moderated panel sessions addressed key issues identified at the 2015 JCCT, featuring U.S. and Chinese company perspectives and those of the U.S. and Chinese governments. These discussions included strengthening consumer protection and enhancing public confidence in the supply chain; transparency and implementation of food safety regulations; and international best practices on preventing and responding to food safety incidents.
“The growth of food and agriculture trade between our nations is impressive,” said Mr. Froman. “From 2000 to 2015, U.S. agriculture exports to China increased eleven-fold, and China’s agriculture exports to the United States grew seven-fold,” he continued, adding “China has been one of our top export markets for our food and agriculture exports for some time.”
“The United States remains committed to partnering with China to achieve our mutual goals of protecting human health and food safety while facilitating and expanding trade,” stated Secretary Vilsack.
Mr. Miller spoke about the role of the Agriculture – Food Partnership (AFP), which was created in 2014, and what the group is accomplishing within China to address food safety and security.
He discussed AFP’s role as a private-public coordinator in today’s political and business environment, saying that it “provides a unique platform to foster trust and partnership between Chinese and U.S. food and agriculture interests in both the public and private sectors; bring together the widest range of Chinese and U.S. organizations . . .to identify areas of common interest, opportunity, and collaboration in food security and food safety; and facilitate cooperation across the entire value chain of the agriculture and food industry in China.”
Additionally, Mr. Miller talked about AFP’s 2016 initiatives and outcomes and the organization’s future hopes.
China is set to build a model of a U.S. farm in Hebei Province starting next year.
The farm will be fashioned after Rick and Martha Kimberley’s farm in Maxwell, Iowa, which was visited by Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2012. Then China’s vice president, he met with friends he made in Iowa in 1985 while he was a Hebei Province party official and director of the Feed Association of Shijiazhuang Prefecture.
A memorandum describing the farm was signed during Iowa governor Terry Branstad’s mission to China. Governor Branstad’s eight-day trip to China and Japan will wrap up on December 2 and is focused on increasing agricultural exports to the two countries. The group also included representatives of Iowa’s Sister States program, which has longstanding ties to Hebei Province.
The Kimberley family operates a typical Midwestern farm with a house, grain bins, and machine sheds, said Grant Kimberley, the couple’s son, who is director of market development for the Iowa Soybean Association and also executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.
“When the Chinese president came to visit, he said that using technology – everything from grid sampling your soils to using GPS, and biotechnology seeds – will be important for China’s future. He wants to help Chinese farms modernize, in their own way, by using our farm as an example,” Mr. Kimberley explained.
Initial discussions with Chinese officials have included the concept of making the demonstration farm in Hebei Province virtually identical to the Kimberley farmstead, but many details still need to be worked out.
Hebei Province is located in northern China, and the Great Wall of China passes through it.
The Kimberley farm in Iowa is about 4,000 acres, included rented land. The working demonstration farm in China will be smaller, about 300 to 500 acres, and may also have some hogs, cattle, and chickens, along with corn, soybeans, wheat and oil seed crops, and garden vegetables.
Grant Kimberley, a sixth-generation family farmer, helps his parents operate their Iowa farm, and is a member of the Iowa Sister States Board. He has visited China about 10 times to advocate trade between the U.S. and China. Soybeans are China’s top import crop and the country imports about a third of the world’s soybeans.
China faces a challenge feeding its people because although it boasts 21 percent of the world’s population, it only contains 9 percent of the world’s farmland, according to the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China. Currently, China says it ranks first in the world in production of cereals, cotton, fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, eggs and fishery products. The ministry says the country has dramatically reduced its population of rural poor since 1978 by reforming policies and opening its agriculture to the outside world, including agricultural exchanges and cooperation with more than 140 countries.
USSEC hosted the annual U.S. Soy Advantage Buyers Outlook Conference in Seoul, South Korea on November 11. 62 members of the purchasing and technical staffs from Korea’s crushing, feed, and soyfood industries attended the conference. Two USSEC member exporters, SunOpta and Scoular, and nine Korean representatives of U.S. Soy exporters, including ADM and DeLong, were also in attendance.
The conference’s objective was to update the target industries with the U.S. new crop quality and supply situation, and to help Korean customers and U.S. Soy delegates understand each side’s needs better. During the conference, SunOpta and Scoular interacted with food-soybean customers and shared new crop information with them, displaying samples.
United Soybean Board (USB) director Walter Godwin, USSEC and American Soybean Association (ASA) director Monte Peterson, and North Dakota Soybean Council director Perry Ostmo traveled to Korea and participated in the conference. They presented information about this year’s record crop yield, 2016 soybean production and farmers’ risk management. Other conference topics included 2016/17 crop quality, the application of the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP), global supply and demand, and market outlook. Attendees gave feedback that two major reasons that they think U.S. Soy is more valuable than that of other origins are the reliability and sustainability of U.S. Soy.
In addition to the conference, the grower leaders visited a tofu plant and feed mill and met with top executives of Sajo Haepyo Corp. to share information on this year’s crop and receive an update on Korea’s crushing market.
USSEC recently participated in the 2nd Tofu Competition and the 6th Japan Tofu Shop Summit in Kumamoto City, Kumamto Prefecture, Japan. A record 270 participants, including tofu companies, soy wholesalers, and government leaders from throughout Japan attended the event. The event was organized by Zentoren and the General Incorporated Foundation National Federation of Tofu, and was sponsored by USSEC; the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and Zen-noh. National and local TV stations, including NHK, also participated.
USSEC Country Director – Japan Mitsuyuki Nishimura and Human Utilization Director Masi Tateishi represented USSEC.
This event offered younger leaders in Japan’s tofu industry the opportunity to interact with each other and learn about products and marketing to educate the next generation of leaders to be successful and sustainable. In 1960, the number of tofu shops in Japan was 51,596, but was down to 8,017 in 2014. This reduction demonstrates that tofu is the most fragmented and artisanal business with the highest numbers of players in the Japanese food industry. Thus, product innovation and sustainability is the key for survival in next generation. The discussion for the 2016 Tofu Summit also included upcoming new fair competition rules, a case study of image branding, and “Tofu Meister” progress.
Mr. Nishimura gave a guest speech followed by special guest Yoshimasa Hayashi, the former Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, emphasizing the U.S. Soy advantage with impending record high production. Ms. Tateishi participated as a judge at the tofu competition and tasted 107 different tofus. The total numbers of entries this year was 668, 5 times larger than last year, when preliminary contests conducted in 7 regions across Japan throughout the year had selected the 107 finalists.
The top three prizes were given. First place was presented to the Japan Nutrition School Lunch Association, Tochigi Prefecture; second place went to Tofu Kobo Ajika, Gunma Prefecture; and Tominari Goro Shoten, Nagano Prefecture was awarded third place.
Zentoren announced that the 7th Tofu Summit to be held in Tokyo in December 2017.
USSEC, in coordination with Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Tokyo and Agricultural Trade Office (ATO), recognized the best tofu using 100 percent imported U.S. Soy, beginning in 2016. The inaugural award was given to Satonoyuki Shokuhin/ Shikoku Kakoki of Tokushima Prefecture.
“I am very honored to be selected [to receive] the first commemorative U.S. Soy Ambassador Award,” stated Makoto Murao, executive director of Satonoyuki. “Our company has been using U.S. Soy for many years and thus we have been closely communicating with U.S. Soy farmers in various regions of the U.S. . .we learned U.S. Soy growers produce safe and reliable, high protein, high yield and highly suitable soy for tofu making.”
“I view [the U.S. Soy Ambassador Award] as giving us precious opportunities to convey those excellent messages about U.S. Soy farmers to our Japanese consumers as well,” he continued. “Currently, our company contracts with excellent soybean farmers in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and Ohio. Recent U.S. soybean quality has improved greatly and because of it, we are able to manufacturer higher quality tofu. We believe long-term communication with those U.S. soybean farmers and our mutual understanding led to winning this award, and we are very appreciative. We look forward to sharing this happiness with those U.S. farmers.”
USSEC is currently preparing an event for the winners in coordination with FAS and ATO Tokyo. Japan, a large consumer of tofu products, used nearly 477,000 metric tons (MT) of non-GMO identity preserved (IP) soybeans in 2015. Over 42 percent of the soybeans used for tofu are from the U.S. whose market share increased 7 percent from 2012 to 2017. USSEC Japan will continue to work with and support Japan’s tofu industry by establishing a U.S. Soy Ambassador Sustainability Award in the near future to optimize the use and value of sustainable U.S. Soy.
To watch a video of this event, please click here.
USSEC China organized the 2016 Feed Processing Training Course to Kansas State University From September 18 – 25. Course topics included using soybean products efficiently, feed processing, and feed mill management, among others. The team also visited a dairy farm, Countryside Feed LLC, and the Kansas Soybean Association.
15 team members from China livestock integrators, top ten feed mills, and a feed additive company attended this activity. Participants not only learned advanced feed processing technology, but also viewed the processing of U.S. soybeans and soybean products. The delegation witnessed the sustainability of U.S. soybean production, quality and reliable supply firsthand.
Representatives from the Global Soy in Aquaculture Program attended Global Aquaculture Alliance’s GOAL 2016 conference in Guangzhou, China, September 20 – 22.
USSEC Marketing Director – Aquaculture Colby Sutter and USSEC China Aquaculture Program Manager Jim Zhang and USSEC China Freshwater Aquaculture Technical Manager Zhou Enhua were joined by United Soybean Board (USB) director Dan Farney and American Soybean Association (ASA) director Dan Roe to participate in the program focused on “Healthy Fish, Healthy People and Healthy Planet.”
Mr. Zhang’s presentation on “Trends in Intensive Pond Aquaculture,” detailing the many benefits of the Intensive Pond Aquaculture (IPA) technology introduced to China by USSEC’s aquaculture program, received immediate interest in the technology from Chinese producers as well as the many other international representatives attending the conference.
USSEC Japan collaborated on an event organized by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Tokyo on June 14. The “U.S. Food Ingredients Nutrition Seminar for the Care Food Industry” reached out to those providing food for aging populations.
The conference’s goal was to introduce delicious, nutritious, and easy to cook recipes as well as information about the nutrition, safety, and versatility of stable-supply ingredients for the care food industry, which is expected to further expand in the future due to Japan’s aging society.
During her opening address, Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) Director, Rachel Nelson said, “People over the age of 65 make up a quarter of the Japanese population. Japan is a very important market for the U.S., as Japan imports about $13 billion (USD) of agriculture and food ingredients annually.”
The seminar’s audience included food manufacturers and caterers providing food for aging clients as well as nutritionists at care facilities. In addition to USSEC, U.S. cooperators included the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Export Council, and the Alaskan Seafood Marketing Council, among others.
Two technical speakers discussed the benefits of nuts, fruits, seafood, meat, and soy for the aging population and how to incorporate these foods into healthy diets. They also highlighted the nutritional components Omega 3, polyphenols, high quality protein, and fiber.
USSEC North Asia Regional Human Utilization (HU) Manager & Japan HU Director Masi Tateishi promoted U.S. Soy’s superior advantage by discussing its sustainability and stable supply using a display of soy ingredients and marketing materials.
USSEC believes demographic trends in Japan appear favorable for the care food industry as well as for the soy industry due to soy’s high nutritional value. It is vital to continue to communicate such value provides beyond basic nutrition to both the Japanese industry and society.
USSEC hosted a crop tour team comprised of 20 Chinese guests, representing some of the largest buyers of U.S. Soy.
This annual trip aims to help these key buyers and decision makers for very large importers and crushers of U.S. Soy to understand the U.S. logistics system. Additionally, one of the team’s principal goals is to gather firsthand information on the current year soy production situation in terms of crop size and quality to get an advanced view of U.S. crop conditions ahead of the harvest. Gathering these facts helps these important guests to further strengthen their confidence in U.S. Soy and to make better purchasing decisions. These missions are increasingly important as consumers demand additional, varying, high quality products.
The entire group visited the New Orleans area on September 6, stopping at Zen-noh Grain in Convent, Louisiana and Blue Water Shipping in Metairie, Louisiana. They arrived in St. Louis on September 7, and split into two groups traveling to different parts of the U.S. to maximize their industry interaction/farm visits.
On September 8, Group A visited Bruns Farms in Corso, Missouri and the Bay Research Farm, where they viewed the lab and learned about its research capacity, discussing technology and breeding, before visiting the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council. They finished the day at Nathan Alpers’ farm and grain handling facilities in Prairie Home, Missouri.
That same day, Group B visited Illinois Soybean Association director Tim Seifert’s farm in Auburn, Illinois, and Doug Harford’s farm in Mazon, Illinois.
Group A next headed to Fordyce Farms in Bethany, Missouri on September 9. Richard Fordyce is the director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture and his wife, Renee, is the District One director for the Missouri Soybean Association. They then traveled to Tarkio, MO to meet with Brooks Hurst, current American Soybean Association director and Vice President of the Missouri Soybean Association board.
Group B visited the Illinois Soybean Association that day before traveling to Doug Schroeder Farms, Illinois Soybean Association District 11 director, in Bellflower, Illinois.
On September 10, Group A experienced the downtown farmers market in Des Moines, Iowa, before visiting Iowa Soybean Association director Tim Bardole’s farm in Rippey, Iowa.
Meanwhile, Group B met with the Indiana Soybean Alliance.
Group A next journeyed to United Soybean Board (USB) and Iowa Soybean Association director April Hemmes’ farms, Hampton, Iowa on September 11, following that visit with one to the farm of the Ziegler family farm, where they also enjoyed dinner at the host’s lake house.
USB director and Meal Target Area Coordinator Mike Beard of Frankfort, Indiana hosted Group B at his farm, before they traveled to Indiana Corn Growers Association director Herb Ringel’s farm in Wabash, Indiana and Indiana Soybean Alliance director Tom Griffith’s farm in Kendallville, Indiana, also on September 11.
On September 12, Group A had the opportunity to visit Minnesota Soybean Growers Association director Ray Hewitt’s farm in Le Sueur, Minnesota; the Central Farm Service in Delavan, Minnesota; and the Fairmont, Minnesota farm of American Soybean Association (ASA) director Lawrence Sukalski.
That same day Group B visited Ohio’s Legacy Farmers Co-op before heading to USB Vice Chairman John Motter’s farm in Jenera, Ohio and ASA director Bret Davis’ place in Delaware, Ohio. At both farms, the group enjoyed presentations from DuPont Pioneer, Cargill, Interstate Commodities as well as local co-ops and farmer groups.
September 13 was a travel day, with both groups joining back together, before holding market outlook meetings on the 14th. The team headed to Kalama Export Terminal in Kalama, Washington on September 15, in a tour arranged by USSEC member Gavilon.
USSEC Stakeholder Relations Coordinator Eric Gibson escorted the group on several legs of the mission and remarked on their enthusiasm.
“This was one of the most enthusiastic trade groups I’ve had the privilege of working with. Back home, in China, many of these folks work for competing companies, but I witnessed them working together in the fields and corresponding with one another over the U.S. Soy crop,” he said. “The rain, mud and muck didn’t keep our guests from getting out into the fields and interacting closely with our farmers who were gracious enough to volunteer their time during such a busy time of the year.”
USSEC Stakeholder Relations Manager Will McNair described the group’s enthusiasm in the field and their questioning of local farmers: “They really wanted to know how U.S. farmers were making their planting decisions and what current prices mean to their profitability and long-term farm sustainability.” He added, “They were really interested in the level of sophistication of the U.S. farmers. Although these were savvy buyers with a broad understanding of the U.S. ag sector, they were surprised to find that the U.S. farmers were equally savvy and knowledgeable about the trade and where their beans go.”
On September 13, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman informed China that the U.S. has launched a formal complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over China’s price supports for corn, wheat and rice, saying they distort world markets and are costing U.S. farmers hundreds of millions of dollars.
If you receive questions about this news, USSEC is providing guidance to help frame discussions:
- China is a very important market for U.S. Soy and soy products. USSEC has 35 years of experience working in cooperation with Chinese organizations to develop a mutually beneficial trade relationship. Last year, nearly 25 percent of the U.S. Soy crop was exported to China, and China accounted for about 46 percent of total exports of U.S. Soy.
- USSEC remains a committed partner in sustainably and safely producing soybeans for China’s oilseed security. USSEC recently welcomed members of the Chinese soybean industry to the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Indianapolis. Additionally, two Chinese trade teams recently traveled in the Midwest to view the U.S. Soy crop.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to USSEC Communications Manager Lisa Humphreys, USSEC Marketing Director – Market Access / Freedom to Operate Roz Leeck, or USSEC CEO Jim Sutter.
USSEC is among the 23 U.S. agribusinesses and organizations that are accompanying U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Deputy Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services Alexis Taylor, along with the leaders from seven state departments of agriculture, on a trade mission to Hong Kong and Shanghai September 7 – 15 to extend USDA’s Women in Agriculture initiative abroad and expand export opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products.
“USDA is committed to building opportunities for women to grow, learn from one another and lead within their industries,” said Taylor. “Women in agriculture have a powerful story to tell – one of leadership, stewardship and resilience – from the combine, to the classroom, to the boardroom. This trade mission provides us an opportunity to discuss the impacts women in the United States and China are having on agriculture and to share our visions for the next generation. In addition, I look forward to joining U.S. agricultural leaders as we seek to enhance our trading opportunities in this region.”
The USSEC delegation consists of Heather Feuerstein, Michigan Soybean Association director; Pam Helmsing, USSEC Marketing Director – Animal Nutrition/Meal; Roz Leeck, USSEC Marketing Director – Market Access; and Hanna Abou-El-Seoud, AgSource, Inc.
Mission participants hail from across the U.S. and represent a range of agricultural products and commodities. They will meet with potential customers and host government representatives, forging relationships and learning about the market conditions and business environment.
Chinese importers signed letters of intent to purchase 3.9 million metric tons of new crop U.S. Soy, valued at $1.78 billion, at a signing ceremony held in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 30.
USSEC CEO Jim Sutter welcomed Chinese importers and U.S. exporters to the ceremony.
USSEC Chairman Jim Miller said that China, as the world’s number one soybean consumer, and the U.S., as the number one soybean producer, play critical roles in world soybean trade. “It is our hope that a mutually beneficial and strengthened trade relationship between the industries of both countries will make an even greater contribution to global food security, food safety and a sustainable soy supply.”
After the ceremony, USSEC Vice Chairman Derek Haigwood expressed his congratulations on the business conducted. “Such a partnership has benefited food security, food safety and the sustainable supply of soy in China, and also benefited all stakeholders in the U.S. soybean value chain.
Mr. Sutter proposed a toast at the end of the ceremony to representatives of the whole soy value chain present. “May you all work together for the success of the soy industry and the Chinese industry.”
USSEC teamed up with the International Grains Program (IGP) Institute to teach poultry nutrition training to Japanese industry professionals July 25 – 29 at the IGP Institute Conference Center in Manhattan, Kansas. The partnership between USSEC and the IGP Institute provided participants with education and training on milling practices and U.S. grains.
Eight students from Japan gained knowledge in several areas of poultry nutrition including quality control in a feed mill, batching and mixing, particle size reduction for poultry feed production, broiler breeder nutrition and management, the effects of selected mycotoxins, reducing the toxic effects of mycotoxins in poultry, and nutritional differences between soybean meal sources.
Course participant Takamasa Iijichi, executive director at AXYZ in Kagoshima, Japan says he attended the training program because he was interested in the course topics. He also says he has enjoyed everything in the course, especially the presentation about soybean meal.
“The ideas taught at the IGP Institute help us know how to make our feed more efficiently,” Mr. Ijichi explains.
Participants also attained knowledge through tours around Kansas by visiting Midwest Ag Services in Seneca, Kansas, and a soybean farm at Rezac Land and Livestock near Belvue, Kansas. The Kansas State University O.H. Kruse Feed Technology Center was toured as well.
“I have witnessed the relationship between USSEC and IGP for almost 10 years,” states USSEC consultant Miguel Escobar. “I have seen these courses grow and every time they are more important for our customers around the world.”