News

News: General News

USSEC Provides Market and Technical Services to Key Customers in Southwestern China

Thursday, January 17, 2013
Category General News 
USSEC organized a China Livestock & Feed Market and Technology Forum for key customers in Chengdu, capital of Southwestern China’s Sichuan Province, where swine…

USSEC organized a China Livestock & Feed Market and Technology Forum for key customers in Chengdu, capital of Southwestern China’s Sichuan Province, where swine and feed industries are playing important roles in China. The event attracted approximately forty participants from twenty feed mills, integrated livestock farms and soybean crushing plants in the region. Leading industry groups such as New Hope Liuhe, Tongwei, Agri & Husbandry, and Red Dragonfly sent their technical and marketing executives to the event.

This is the first joint market and technology forum for industries in the region focused on the development of local livestock industry. China’s 12th Five-Year Plan outlines this industry to be moved in the direction of scaled and standard. While the region has no soybean or corn production, local feed output is expected to reach 10 million metric tons in 2012.  Therefore, securing supplies of feed ingredients to provide meat products to the most populated area in China has always been critical to business operations for enterprises in Southwestern China.

Morgan Hass, director of the Chengdu Agricultural Trade Office, attended the whole day event and, in his opening speech, he extended his warm welcome to all participants and offered support and assistance in promoting U.S. soy products in the region. Invited speakers were from the National Information Center, JC Intelligence, Rabobank and South Dakota University.USSEC China country director Xiaoping Zhang and Animal utilization technical director Richard Han jointly hosted the event and other staff for animal utilization and aquaculture utilization programs came to the event to network with key customers.

The participants are interacting with Hanver Li (holding a microphone), one of the keynote speakers, for industry data and information available in China to have a better view of the industry development.

USSEC Participates in 40th Anniversary Event of the Ecuadorian Manufacturers Association (AFABA)

Thursday, January 17, 2013
Category General News 
USSEC Americas Regional Director, Francisco de la Torre, attended the 40th anniversary event of AFABA, the Ecuadorian Feed Manufacturers Association, in Quito, Ecuador.…

USSEC Americas Regional Director, Francisco de la Torre, attended the 40th anniversary event of AFABA, the Ecuadorian Feed Manufacturers Association, in Quito, Ecuador. This private event was solely for AFABA members and its special guests, USSEC and U.S Grains Council. AFABA was founded in July 1972 and presently has 324 registered members, 102 of whom are active.  The current President of the Board, Dr. Cesar Muñoz, has been in his position since 1996.

The event included the presentation of commemorative plaques to AFABA members according to their years of membership. Additionally, a group of employees was awarded for their years of service. During the ceremony, Mr. de la Torre presented a plaque to Dr. Muñoz as a token of appreciation for his persistent efforts to build a strong foundation for AFABA members, allowing them to purchase raw materials at competitive prices due to volume, as well as other benefits. The plaque stated the USSEC’s appreciation to AFABA for their loyalty and preference for U.S. soy products.

AFABA represents 43% of Ecuador’s feed volume; the country currently produces around 2.3 MT of feed. Ecuador requires the importation of approximately 600 TMT of soybean meal. During the 2012 fiscal year, the U.S. had 70 % of the market share.  Dr. Muñoz and Mr. Wilson Hidalgo stated that AFABA will continue importing U.S. soybean meal, as its members are convinced that the U.S. soybean meal has the best quality. USSEC should continue providing technical assistance and training to the animal production chain in Ecuador.

Dr. Cesar Muñoz, President of the Board, AFABA and America’s Regional Director, Francisco de la Torre

USSEC Hailed as Instrumental in Securing Access for U.S. Soy at Port of Jakarta

Monday, January 14, 2013
Category General News 
The Government of Indonesia issued a decree recognizing the U.S. food safety system for the import of fresh food from plant origins on January 3, 2013.  U.S. soy was included…

The Government of Indonesia issued a decree recognizing the U.S. food safety system for the import of fresh food from plant origins on January 3, 2013.  U.S. soy was included among a list of 100 U.S. agricultural products given access to the Port of Jakarta with no additional health certificates required beyond the phytosanitary certificate. Indonesia recognizes the food safety control system for fresh products of plant origin of only four countries – the U.S. Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

USSEC and and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Board (MSR&PB) were instrumental in obtaining simplified market access by hosting a Indonesian Ministry of Agricultural technical team in June 2012 for a series of meetings and site visits in Minnesota.  The program provided an overview of U.S. soy production, grain handling and inspection processes.  The Ministry of Agriculture officials learned about the commercial incentives and regulatory checks inherent in the U.S. soy production and export system.

This week, FAS-Jakarta’s Agricultural Counselor Ali Abdi, recognized the importance of the USSEC and MSPB-led technical team visit.  MSR&PB’s director of marketing programs Sam Ziegler organized visits to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, a CHS barge loading facility, the Western Consolidated cooperative, and Michael O’Leary’s farm near Danvers, Minn.  USSEC’s senior strategy & program advisor Dana Johnson and director of technical issues Kim Nill escorted the team.

“The Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Board is an important partner for USSEC in exposing international buyers and government officials to the U.S. soy value chain and food safety system,” said Dana Johnson.  “This is a great example of how successful engagement with foreign governments secures market access for the entire U.S. Soy Family.”

Michael O’Leary discusses research on disease resistance with Dr. Gardjita Budi of the Indonesia Ministry of Agriculture

Sam Ziegler, Ms. Islana Ervandiari of the Indonesian Agricultural Quarantine Agency and FAS-Jakarta staff member Ibnu “Edy” Wiyono discussing plant health.

 

USSEC Helps Forward Interests of Mexican Poultry Producers

Thursday, January 10, 2013
Category General News 
In 2012, USSEC coordinated a series of visits to field poultry veterinarians in the State of Jalisco, Mexico, to provide ongoing support to the Confederation of Poultry…

In 2012, USSEC coordinated a series of visits to field poultry veterinarians in the State of Jalisco, Mexico, to provide ongoing support to the Confederation of Poultry Producers Associations of Jalisco (UNAAVIJAL).  The State of Jalisco is the largest egg producer in Latin America, with 50 million hens in production, and the fifth broiler producer in Mexico. Supporting this industry in this particular region is very important to maximize the use of U.S. soy internationally.

In July 2012, a breakout of Avian Influenza occurred in Jalisco, and according to Francisco Saavedra, general manager of UNAAVIJAL, training of veterinarians by USSEC consultants Miguel Marquez and Alberto Celis helped to overcome this crisis in a manner that minimized impact on the industry.

USSEC regional director for the Americas, Francisco de la Torre, received praise for USSEC’s efforts from Mr. Benjamin Perez, general director of Empresas Guadalupe and president of UNAAVIJAL, as well as Francisco Saavedra, general manager of UNAAVIJAL. Francisco de la Torre highlighted that the groups share a common goal of feeding a growing human population with high-quality animal origin products.

USSEC Sponsors International Egg Fair in Jalisco, Mexico

Thursday, January 10, 2013
Category General News 
USSEC sponsored the International Egg Fair in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico. The Jalisco region produces nearly fifty percent of Mexico’s eggs and the poultry…

USSEC sponsored the International Egg Fair in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico. The Jalisco region produces nearly fifty percent of Mexico’s eggs and the poultry industry is the largest soybean meal consumer in this market. The International Egg Fair is an academic, business and cultural activity that pulls together diverse society sectors to spread knowledge, promote technological development, encourage enterprise competitiveness, and boost art and culture … all about the egg.

This fair was an excellent opportunity for the Mexican egg industry to communicate that egg continues to be a safe food, after the avian influenza crisis, and for USSEC to build upon their strong relationship with the industry. The Universidad de Guadalajara in coordination with the National Poultry Producers Association and the Poultry Producers Association of Tepatitlan organized the fair. The National Poultry Institute and the Western Poultry Specialists Veterinarians Association also participated.

USSEC Supports Formation of Romanian National Feed Manufacturers Association

Thursday, January 10, 2013
Category General News 
USSEC supported the formation of the Romanian National Feed Manufacturers Association (ANFNC). In late November, the organization held its first meeting in Bucharest,…

USSEC supported the formation of the Romanian National Feed Manufacturers Association (ANFNC). In late November, the organization held its first meeting in Bucharest, where industry representatives decided upon the organization’s structure, board and president.

Iosif Pazuric, owner of Romania’s largest independent feed mill, was elected as the president of the association. The inaugural ANFNC board will also consist of four vice presidents representing feed producers, who were identified as Ioan Antoci of Suinprod, Eda Kizilcelik of Combial, Ioan Jiha of Avicola Buzau SA and Gabriela Coman of InVivo Romania. Iani Chihala, USSEC animal utilization contractor, was named executive director.

After the meeting, the group signed an incorporation document which was submitted to officially register the organization. Next, each of the approximately 20 founding member companies will provide information requested as part of the legal registration process. Chihala expected that ANFNC will be legally registered by the end of February.

Chihala states, “I expect ANFNC to quickly reach 40 members, about half of what the Romanian pig and poultry associations gathered during the past 20 years. A year from now, I expect membership to reach 100. This organization will be a strong voice for the Romanian Feed producers, the largest soybean meal customer in Southeast Europe.”

On behalf of the organization, Chihala provided written thanks to Mark Andersen, acting USSEC Regional Director from Europe, for the U.S. farmer support which made the event possible.

USSEC-led Delegation Meets with President of Argentine Soybean Chain Association

Thursday, January 10, 2013
Category General News 
During their trip to China, ASA Director and former Chairman Rob Joslin, Director of Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council Craig Bangasser, and Zhang Xiaoping,…

During their trip to China, ASA Director and former Chairman Rob Joslin, Director of Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council Craig Bangasser, and Zhang Xiaoping, USSEC Country Director for China, met with Miguel Antonio Calvo, President of Argentine Soybean Chain Association and agricultural officers from Argentine embassy. The group discussed biotech safety certificate issues with China and other issues of common interests.

The Safety Certificate for Roundup Ready I issued to Monsanto three years ago needed to be reauthorized by the Chinese government agency; however, the re-approval was held back for some unknown reasons.  The U.S. and Argentine soybean industry leaders first discussed any possible reasons behind the delay and its possible impact on the trade and the market, and then briefed each other the efforts done by both industries and government agencies to push for an earlier completion of the re-authorizing process. Joslin and Calvo agreed to take action to pressure the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture through various channels, including government agencies and export industries in both countries for smooth trade relations with China. The actions will benefit not only soy industries in both countries but also the Chinese soy market where food security and affordable prices for soy products are becoming more and more of a concern.

Both industry leaders discussed other issues such as differentiated export tax on soy in Argentina and biofuel mandates in the U.S. that will have some impact on world soybean supply, demand and trade flows. Also, Calvo discussed the World Soy Conference to be held next Feb./March in South Africa and the Round Table of Responsible Soy (RTRS) annual meeting in Beijing next May.

The meeting helped the industry leaders to better understand current market challenges and opportunities for soy industries in both countries and to take concerted actions to find solutions to current issues.

U.S. and Argentine soybean industry representatives meet in Beijing to discuss challenges and opportunities for both industries in China. From left to right: Zeng Yantian, USSEC China Marketing Program Assistant; Rob Joslin, ASA Director and former Chairma; Miguel Antonio Calvo, ASCA President; Craig Bangasser, MNSRPC Director; Omar Odarda, Agricultural Counselor of Argentine Embassy in Beijing, Zhang Xiaoping, USSEC Country Director for China; and Hernan Anibal Viola, Agriculture Officer of Argentine Embassy in Beijing.

USSEC Facilitates Partnership in China to Promote the Amino Acid Advantage of U. S. Soy

Thursday, January 10, 2013
Category General News 
On December 10, 2012 in Beijing, a U. S. soy industry team led by ASA Director and former Chairman Rob Joslin visited Beijing Resource Group, a long time cooperator for USSEC…

On December 10, 2012 in Beijing, a U. S. soy industry team led by ASA Director and former Chairman Rob Joslin visited Beijing Resource Group, a long time cooperator for USSEC swine and feed programs.  The group has shown great interests in working with USSEC to promote the benefits of essential amino acids in U.S. soybean meal to the animal performance. Joslin was joined on the visit by Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council Director Craig Bangasser, USSEC Country Director for China Zhang Xiaoping, USSEC China staff, and marketing consultants Bob Bresnahan and David Asbridge.

The team first toured one of Beijing’s largest swine processing facilities, a Beijing Resource Group location with a capacity of 3,000 heads per day.  One third of the hogs are from the company’s swine farms and the rest are from neighboring farmers. To achieve the goals as set forth in China’s 12th Five Year Plan to upscale the swine industry, Beijing Resource Group is planning to expand their operations by forming swine farming and pork wholesale co-ops with a target of 10 million head production annually and 1,000 wholesale outlets throughout China in five years.

When the group first started its business in feed formulation back in 1994, they realized the value of essential amino acids in swine feed while many others in the industry haven’t quite been aware. When Rob Joslin presented the idea of looking at the quality of soybean meal from the perspective of its nutritional value other than crude protein levels, Mr. Liu Junyi, Chairman of the Beijing Resource Group, and his team expressed their desire of conducting joint feeding trials with U.S. soybean meal.  They were unsure of the current source of soybean meal for their swine feeds although they have been always looking at the amino acid profile in their feed formulation. Follow-up discussion on a feeding trial and promotion will be scheduled between USSEC’s animal utilization technical team and the group.

The U. S. soy industry team also exchanged market information with the top management of the group and answered their questions on USDA reports, world supply and demand situation and soy price trends.

Joslin and Bangasser are greeted by Beijing Resource Group Chairman Liu Junyi before their discussions on essential amino acid advantages in U.S. soy products.

USSEC Gathers in Asia for Strategic Planning Meetings

Thursday, January 10, 2013
Category General News 
U.S. soybean growers and USSEC staff gathered this week in Guangzhou, China and Jakarta, Indonesia for back-to-back regional planning meetings to examine market trends…

USSEC’s Southeast Asia regional and U.S.-based staff and grower leaders in Jakarta, Indonesia

U.S. soybean growers and USSEC staff gathered this week in Guangzhou, China and Jakarta, Indonesia for back-to-back regional planning meetings to examine market trends and develop plans for the next fiscal year beginning October 1. The North Asia regional meeting was held in Guangzhou, China which is the third largest city in China and the largest in southern China. The Southeast Asia regional meeting was held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

USSEC Chairman and American Soybean Association (ASA) Director Randy Mann traveled from Kentucky to Asia to participate in the meetings along with several staff members from throughout the regional and the headquarters staff from St. Louis. Other volunteer grower leaders participating in the meetings were United Soybean Board (USB) Treasurer Bob Haselwood of Kansas, ASA Director Jim Miller of Nebraska, USB Director Mike Beard of Indiana and Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Board Director Paul Simonsen. Two staff members representing Qualified State Soybean Boards (QSSBs) that invest in USSEC international marketing programs also participated in the meetings, including Sam Ziegler of Minnesota and Michelle Swensen of North Dakota, both of whom are also soybean producers.

Chairman Mann stressed the importance of getting a first-hand look at markets to understand the growth potential for U.S. exports. “When you grasp the market size and soy consumption trends in Asia, you realize the demand potential for U.S. soy exports,” Chairman Mann said. “We must continue working with our trading partners on food security issues to ensure there are enough soybeans to feed the world by 2050.”

Foreign Agricultural Service staff also participated in the meetings, including Mark Smith from FAS-Washington, Scott Sindelar of FAS-Beijing, and Ali Abdi and Idnu Edy Wiyono of FAS-Jakarta. FAS staff commented on the importance of getting involved early on in USSEC’s planning process. Participating in the meetings helps FAS understand the background and ask questions about technical and commercial issues impacting future soy demand.

Each May USSEC submits a Unified Export Strategy (UES) application to FAS to obtain a share of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nearly $235 million in market development funding. The UES outlines USSEC’s assessment of the market opportunities for U.S. soy around the world and the projects the industry is planning to undertake. USSEC’s annual budget for international marketing and market access activities are funded by USB, ASA’s cost-share of FAS’ market development funds, QSSBs, and industry.

USSEC Hosts U.S. Soy Outlook Conference in Korea

Thursday, January 3, 2013
Category General News 
A delegation representing U.S. soy traveled to Korea to present at the 2012 U.S. Soy Outlook Conference in Seoul. Rob Joslin, ASA Director and past Chairman; John Becherer,…

A delegation representing U.S. soy traveled to Korea to present at the 2012 U.S. Soy Outlook Conference in Seoul. Rob Joslin, ASA Director and past Chairman; John Becherer, United Soybean Board CEO; and Craig Bangasser, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council Director.  Paul Burke, North Asia Regional Director, escorted the grower leaders and also presented.Topics discussed at the conference were 2012 U.S. soy crop quality, market opportunity for high oleic soybeans, soybean market outlook and price analysis for soybean trading. A total of thirty purchasing and R&D staff from the local soybean crushing, feed milling and soy food-processing industries attended the conference. In addition to the conference, grower leaders met with leadership of Korean crushing firms: In Woo Lee, Chairman of the Korea Soybean Processors Association and CEO of Sajo Haepyo Corp. and Jin Hyun Kim, Executive Vice President of CJ CheilJedang Corp. Joslin, Becherer and Bangasser expressed U.S. farmers’ appreciation to them for being customers, shared information on the global soybean supply and demand situation, and discussed new market opportunity for crushing industry including high oleic soybeans.

Rob Joslin addresses the Korea Soy Outlook Conference participants.

USSEC Holds 2012 Soybean Market Seminar and Crop Quality Conference in Shanghai

Thursday, January 3, 2013
Category General News 
In December, USSEC China held the 2012 Soybean Market Seminar and Crop Quality Conference in Shanghai. ASA Director and past President, Rob Joslin, and Minnesota Soybean…

In December, USSEC China held the 2012 Soybean Market Seminar and Crop Quality Conference in Shanghai. ASA Director and past President, Rob Joslin, and Minnesota Soybean Research and Production Council (MNSRP) Director Craig Bangasser attended the seminar to meet with the Chinese customers and present the U.S. soybean production in 2012. Two USSEC marketing consultants, David Asbridge and Bob Bresnahan, as well as a local consultant were invited as guest speakers to the event.

As China’s traditional festival approaches, China’s seasonal demand for soybean is expected to surge. Crushers and end users continue to be concerned about soybean supplies due to tight ending stock estimates in the U.S. and the uncertainty over soybean production in South America. Rob Joslin confirmed that U.S farmers will fulfill their commitments to supply soybeans not only to China but also to the world.

USSEC marketing consultants Asbridge and Breshnahan provided their professional insights on world soy supply and demand, and they shared short term price trends with the audience. Joslin and Absbridge talked from their own perspectives as farmers and former crop survey leaders to enhance attendee confidence in the U.S. soy industry. Joslin and Bangasser then awarded the top 10 importers and top 10 loyalty customers of U.S. soybeans in the 2011-2012 marketing year.

Prior to the market seminar, grower leaders and market consultants met with key integrators in Beijing to discuss current soy market situation.  USSEC also hosted an appreciation dinner in Shanghai for the most preferred customers to strengthen the partnership between the industries of both countries.

Agricultural Trade Office-Shanghai Director Keith Schneller presented the opening speech; USSEC China Country Director Xiaoping Zhang and Animal Utilization Technical Director Richard Han presented the Soybean Crop Quality Report. USSEC Marketing Manager Claudia Chong and Marketing Program Assistant Yantian Zeng organized the event and other USSEC staff also attended the event.

A group picture with ATO Shanghai Director, Keith Schneller (forth from the right) and Deputy Director Alan Hallman (second from the left).

U.S. Soy Industry Enjoying High Impact of Marketing Initiatives

Thursday, January 3, 2013
Category General News 
For the last year, USSEC has been working on a high impact project with the goal of diversifying and growing the export markets for U.S. soy. Specifically, this project…

For the last year, USSEC has been working on a high impact project with the goal of diversifying and growing the export markets for U.S. soy. Specifically, this project has targeted rebuilding, and building, markets for U.S. soybean meal and other value-added products. A brief recap of some of the activities and recent successes are provided below:

USSEC is seeing substantial success of these initiatives in markets overseas:

  • U.S. soybean meal continues to be price competitive, especially into Europe. Per the December 6 weekly report, another 43,000 metric tons (MT) of export shipments and open commitments were reported to Italy. U.S. soybean meal sales and shipments to Europe since October 1 are now running 375,000 MT ahead of last year. Total U.S. sales and shipments are ahead by 1.2 million MT to declared destinations and 205,000 MT ahead to unknown geographies.
  • Turkey, Korea, The Philippines and Egypt are other markets where the pace is more than 100,000 MT ahead of last year. Shipments to destinations in the Western Hemisphere are ahead by 222,000 MT, but open sales are behind by 219,000 MT. This is the result of the reluctance by mostly Canadian and Mexican “domestic” customers to defer their purchases as they have done historically.
  • European crushers have purchased 1.3 million MT more U.S. soybeans compared to this time last year. All have shipped except for 120,000 MT which is open to the United Kingdom. Leading destinations included Spain, Germany, and Netherlands.
  • The current pace of soybean exports from the U.S. is not expected to be sustainable given the reduced crop due to the drought of 2012. Full year estimate of U.S. soybean exports is 1,345 million bushels, 15 million bushels less than last year. The full year estimate of exported U.S. soybean crush is 1,570 million bushels, 133 million bushels less than last year. This translates to a reduction of U.S. soybean meal supply of nearly 3 million MT.
  • U.S. soybean meal is very price competitive for shipment through February, depending on destination. But by March and April, much less expensive soybean meal will enter export channels, first from Brazil, followed by Argentina.

In summary, the U.S. is currently exporting soybean meal at greater than a 10 million MT/yr pace. Crushing is at full capacity, and U.S. crushers are capturing attractice margins. After April, we are likely to observe an export flow that reflects a 5 to 6 million MT pace at best because of an influx of meal from South America.

Over the last five years, exports of U.S. soybeans and soy products have grown from 47% to 58% of total U.S. production. This year, the USDA estimates the total will again top 58%.

U.S. Soybean Oil Positioned to Retail in Egypt

Thursday, January 3, 2013
Category General News 
USSEC met recently with Sila Edible Oils Company, an Egyptian crushing facility with a capacity of 200 tons/day and an adjacent refinery with a capacity of 120 tons/day.…

USSEC met recently with Sila Edible Oils Company, an Egyptian crushing facility with a capacity of 200 tons/day and an adjacent refinery with a capacity of 120 tons/day. The company is located in the city of Fayoum, 81 miles southwest of Cairo.

Sila was originally established to crush and refine local sunflower seed for oil as local production dropped and imports of sunflower seed were not economical.  When the volume to value of transporting sunflower seed was deemed not economical, the company’s profit margins slowly eroded. Under new management, Sila has started to transform its crush capacity to soybeans and outsource sunflower oil for refining.  Based on pure economic feasibility, Sila is re-launching its brand to retail soybean oil in the Egyptian market.

USSEC is confident that Sila is committed to the commodity and that the company will favor soybean of U.S. origin.

USSEC Participated in the 100th Anniversary of Food Bean Wholesaler in Japan

Thursday, January 3, 2013
Category General News 
USSEC recently participated in the 100th anniversary celebration of Kichisaburo Kitao, a third generation Food Bean Wholesaler in Kyoto, Japan’s oldest city.…

USSEC recently participated in the 100th anniversary celebration of Kichisaburo Kitao, a third generation Food Bean Wholesaler in Kyoto, Japan’s oldest city. More than 100 guests, mainly soy food processors, participated and celebrated the firm’s first century of success. Kichisaburo Kitao began importing U.S. soybeans in 1955 via a trading firm to distribute to soy food processors all over Japan. In 2010, USSEC helped to facilitate the firm’s first direct importation of U.S. food grade soybeans.  Kichisaburo Kitao currently sources 80% of their Food Beans from North America.Paul Burke, regional director of North Asia, was a guest of honor and delivered congratulatory comments. In his comments, Burke expressed appreciation for Kichisaburo Kitao, calling the firm “a traditional yet innovative partner of U.S. Soy Industry over 57 years.” He also conveyed that U.S. soybean farmers value their strong business ties with loyal customers and commitment to the Japanese market.

Paul Burke, Regional Director of North Asia, delivered congratulatory comments.

USSEC Member Russell Marine Group Releases U.S. River Condition Report

Thursday, December 13, 2012
Category General News 
USSEC Member, Louisiana-based Russell Marine Group, released a report this week on the condition of U.S. rivers. The Russell Marine Group operates in all ports within…

USSEC Member, Louisiana-based Russell Marine Group, released a report this week on the condition of U.S. rivers. The Russell Marine Group operates in all ports within the United States and together with their South America partner, Rechlin-Russell Marine Group, they also service all ports within South America. Their report follows:

As 2012 year end draws near, it will be the driest on record for the U.S.    Looking ahead through the first quarter of 2013,the Central Midwest down to the Oklahoma and Texas plains are expected to remain in exceptional drought conditions.  The Ohio River Valley States and eastern edges of the Midwest are expected to get precipitation which is good news for the Lower Mississippi River.

The Upper Mississippi River

The Upper Mississippi River continues to fall.  Although there was some rain in areas of the Midwest last week, it did slow the fall for a short period of time, but the falling trend will continue.  By the 3rd week of December barge drafts are expected to be reduced to 8 ft.  (current max draft is 9 ft)  By the end of December, the water level between St Louis and Cairo will be low enough, without substantial rain, where barge drafts no longer matter.  The push boats, even the medium sized push boats,  will draw too much draft to operate on that section of river.

Barge lines are moving barges out of St Louis into Cairo and areas just north and south of Cairo on the Ohio River and Lower Miss.   Cairo is becoming the barge/tow  hub with expectations of the Lower Miss remaining open.  (more info below)

The Corps of Engineers has awarded 2 contracts for the blasting and removal of the rock pinnacles at Thebes, Il, just north of Cairo on the Upper.  The contractors are moving equipment into the Thebes area and blasting operations have now been moved up to start late December/early January.  The operation is expected to take 40 to 60 days.  There is no schedule yet for any navigation that may still be taking place during the removal period.

Relief to replenish water on the Upper Miss is not encouraging over the next few months.  Forecasts call for below average rain which are usually dry anyway. Precipitation could come in the way of snow that will not immediately help the Upper river in the way of run off until spring.  Also, ground is dry and just waiting to recharge with any form of precipitation. 

The Corps started reducing flows from the Missouri River into the Upper Miss as mandated by law.    The Corps cannot circumvent the law  without either Congress changing the law or obtaining a disaster emergency declaration issued by the President.  We are not yet at a point where anyone seems willing to make that political maneuver and risk moving prematurely.  it remains a wait and see approach.   The Corps does have some reservoirs of water that can be released but any such releases only have a short term effect.   Per the law, the Missouri river can be fully reopened in March.

When the rocks at Thebes are blown and removed, dredging operations can take place.   Dredging can certainly help, but it cannot be considered a fix all if the river system continues to fall out.   

There is talk about reverse flow of water off the Ohio River running up the Upper Miss. River when Upper Miss levels get very low.  However, the reality is not practical, it would take a large amount of Ohio River flow, which is not in the cards, and it would only impact a section of Upper river around Cairo.   Rain in the Midwest remains the answer to this problem on the Upper.  1st quarter forecasts are usually dry with rain levels increasing in March.

The Ohio River Valley did get a lot of rain last week which means a rise on the Lower Miss is coming.   The gauge at Memphis, which has been our reference point since the summer, will rise from its current level of -8 ft to – 2 ft on Dec. 17.  At that time, without rain, it will start to drop again and be at minus -9 ft by end of December. 

During the 1st quarter attention will focus on rain in the Ohio River Valley keeping water levels up on the Ohio River and feeding the Lower Miss.   Long range forecasts do call for improving rain conditions in this area of the country.   The Ohio River is the main source of flow on the Lower Miss.  If forecasts are correct, the Lower Miss, with the help of dredging, should remain open to navigation.   We will probably still experience low water and slow downs with groundings and  a lot of congestion as operations shift mainly to the Lower Miss. The hope is that we can hold on during 1st quarter, which is usually dry, and see improvements as typically wet spring approaches. 

New Orleans Harbor – SWP to Baton Rouge

Water levels in the harbor remain low but barge traffic and ocean vessel traffic remain normal and are expected to remain normal.  The deep south has been getting rain which is feeding the southern part of the Lower Miss.

Mouth of the Arkansas River

Montgomery lock at mouth of Arkansas River is closed to all barge/tow traffic while lock repairs take place.  Scheduled to reopen Dec 21.

USSEC Launches New Region with Commercial Conference

Thursday, December 13, 2012
Category General News 
USSEC brought together for the first time a large group of soy protein commercial decision makers from throughout the Maghreb, the Mediterranean Rim, the Gulf States…

USSEC brought together for the first time a large group of soy protein commercial decision makers from throughout the Maghreb, the Mediterranean Rim, the Gulf States and Egypt in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.   The Dubai Commercial Launch is an exciting new event for the USSEC organization designed to introduce and discuss the new USSEC Middle East/North Africa (MENA) and Asia Subcontinent (ASC) regional structure. The event provided a regional forum to connect USSEC leadership and team members, U.S. trade and industry representatives, U.S. grower leaders, regional FAS leaders, and regional soy protein commercial leaders and influencers.

Sharon Covert, Vice Chair, USSEC; USB Director and U.S. Grower Leader, gave the opening address.   Alan Kemper, Past Chairman and Past-President of the American Soybean Association (ASA), then provided a producer’s perspective of the business of farming in America.

John Baize, USSEC contractor, discussed global soy protein and opportunities for the commodity in the Middle East.   Tom Hammer, President of the National Oilseed Processors Association, then highlighted the U.S. processing industry.   Wayne Bacon, President, Hammersmith Marketing Ltd., then discussed contracts and risk assessment of U.S. soy procurement.

Next, market specific information was provided by: G. Chandrasekhar, Associate Editor, Hindu Business Line; Dr. Faisal Awawdeh, Regional Coordinator for Arabia Peninsula Program of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas; and Dr. Tarek Hatem, Professor of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship for the American University in Cairo.

The forum concluded with brief market overviews from industry expects and a roundtable on the commercial aspects of U.S. soy protein in the Middle East.

USSEC Hosts Successful Soy Outlook Conference in Japan

Thursday, December 13, 2012
Category General News 
The 28th annual Japan Soy Outlook Conference was held in Tokyo on December 10 and 11. The event is one in a series of USSEC Soy Outlook Conferences, which are currently taking…

The 28th annual Japan Soy Outlook Conference was held in Tokyo on December 10 and 11. The event is one in a series of USSEC Soy Outlook Conferences, which are currently taking place in Asia.

Speakers at the Tokyo event included: John Becherer, CEO of the United Soybean Board (USB); Larry Marek, USB Director; Ken Dalenberg, former USB director; Ross Korves, Economic Policy Analyst; and Seth Naeve, Associate Professor of University of Minnesota.

Participation has consistently increased each year and this year more than 350 crushers, feed millers and others from the industry were drawn to the Tokyo event. The audience was interested in learning about the impact of this summer’s drought on quality and supply and demand.  They also wanted to learn about high oleic soybean oil. Seven USSEC member organizations participated by exhibiting their products to attendees.

Country director Mitsuyuki Nishimura states, “Our Soy Outlook Conference is a great opportunity for those in the Japanese soy industry to communicate directly with U.S. grower leaders about U.S. soybean production.”

A journalist from Nikkei BP (Nikkei Business Publication), who attended the USSEC hosted press conference, wrote two online-articles  about the event, which are currently ranking in the top five of articles accessed on their website. Nikkei BP Online leads Japan news sources with views reaching 125 million per month.

John Becherer, CEO of the United Soybean Board (USB), addresses the group.

USSEC Sponsors National Poultry Congress in Colombia

Thursday, December 13, 2012
Category General News 
USSEC recently participated in the Sixteenth National Poultry Congress in Cali, Colombia, where more than 1,650 business professionals were in attendance. USSEC representatives…

USSEC recently participated in the Sixteenth National Poultry Congress in Cali, Colombia, where more than 1,650 business professionals were in attendance. USSEC representatives provided technical assistance to participants on the benefits of using U.S. soy meal in poultry diets. Poultry is one of the most important economic sectors in Colombia, and statistics show a steady yearly growth of 6 percent in the last decade–one of the highest in the local agri-economic sector.

Every year egg producers in Colombia yield more than 10 billion eggs nationwide and produce more than one million metric tons of chicken meat. There are more than five thousand poultry operations in the country, generating 300,000 jobs.

USSEC Hosts Korean Dehulled Soybean Meal Team to Thailand

Thursday, December 13, 2012
Category General News 
USSEC hosted a trade team from Korea to Bangkok, Thailand, in order to demonstrate the value in tropical climates of using dehulled soybean meal in swine and broiler production.…

USSEC hosted a trade team from Korea to Bangkok, Thailand, in order to demonstrate the value in tropical climates of using dehulled soybean meal in swine and broiler production. The hot summer season in Korea is similar to the tropical climate of Thailand.  The abundant protein and amino acid content of U.S. dehulled soybean meal supports good digestibility in these climate conditions.

The delegation consisted of seven purchasing and technical staff employees of Korean feed mills that purchased U.S. hipro dehulled soybean meal in 2012.  The team visited Thai companies using or producing dehulled soybean meal, including three feed mills (Betagro Public Co., Ltd., Inteqc Feed mill and SPM Feed mill) and a crusher (Thai Vegetable Oil Public Co., Ltd.).

Because the U.S. is the only dehulled soybean meal supplier to Korea, creating a market for hipro dehulled soybean meal during summer season would help to expand the market.

Team members listen to a comparison of the nutritional value of dehulled vs. non-dehulled soybean meal from technical staff member of Betagro Publis Co., Ltd., the second largest feed mills in Thailand.

USSEC Conducts Aqua Feeding Demonstrations in Peru

Friday, December 7, 2012
Category General News 
USSEC recently conducted one-on-one meetings with trout farmers participating in feeding demonstrations at Lake Titicaca in Peru. USSEC Contractor Jairo Amezquita…

USSEC recently conducted one-on-one meetings with trout farmers participating in feeding demonstrations at Lake Titicaca in Peru. USSEC Contractor Jairo Amezquita led the meetings at Darwin Gomez’s Biomarina Farm and Pablo Huaman’s farm and used feeds produced by Naltech and meal developed by Schillinger Genetics. Demonstrations evaluated high protein soy meal compared to traditional soy meal and soy protein concentrate in aquatic feeds.

The feeding demonstrations produce 15,000 metric tons of fish per year with a majority of the market share in Bolivia for finished products. Today trout is selling between $3.40 and $3.60 U.S. dollars per kg. Peruvian trout producers’ return on investment ranges from 50-70 percent each year.

USSEC Contractor Jairo Amezquita during one of the feeding demos.