News: General News
Last week in St. Louis, USSEC hosted their Board of Directors for an orientation and planning meeting. After the Call to Order by Chairman Randy Mann, the group completed training required by the USDA. Jim Sutter, USSEC CEO, then provided an overview of the organization, including historical information, current corporate structure, and the organization’s identity and role in the Soy Family.
Linda Snell, Director, Certificate of Nonprofit Governance Program, LBL Strategies., Ltd., then led the group in a discussion of USSEC’s governance model, along with USSEC International Program Director, Ed Beaman. Sharon Covert, USSEC vice-chairman and farmer from Illinois, outlined proposed by-law changes. A discussion about membership led by board member Brandon Bickham (The DeLong Company) and Dana Johnson, USSEC Senior Strategy and Program Advisor, completed the first day of meetings.
The second day of the Board Meeting included highlights of the U.S. soy messaging platform currently under development. Next, Mike Mattei, USSEC CFO, outlined the organization’s financial processes. Drew Klein, International Program Director, described the unified export strategy process and Dean Barefield, Strategy and Evaluation Analyst, discussed evaluation tools. The meeting concluded with a USSEC office visit.
This week in St. Louis, USSEC staff participated in the United Soybean Board (USB)’s biennial CONNECTIONS meeting, which brings together representatives from throughout the U.S. soy value chain to shape our industry’s plans over the next 5 to 10 years. Leaders work with others in the soy industry to set global priorities related to USB’s strategic objectives, which are:
- Increase the value of soy meal
- Increase the value of soy oil
- Assure our industry has the freedom and infrastructure to operate
- Focus on our customers by meeting their needs with quality products and services
Jay Lehr, who serves as Science Director for the Heartland Institute, gave the keynote speech. “You need to be continually improving and moving forward on promoting what you do,” said the author, inventor and accomplished athlete in his remarks. There are both opportunities and threats for soybean farmers that deserve attention, Lehr continues. China represents one opportunity. The growing world superpower is home to nearly 1.3 billion people and holds many benefits for soybean farmers. Lehr also suggested that rising global affluence is another boon for America’s soybean farmers. In spite of the continued international recession, the actual level of affluence around the world has increased dramatically.
This year’s CONNECTIONS aimed to identify the “game-changing” issues or market scenarios that will profoundly impact each one of these categories and determine what the industry needs to do to positively shape them. Further information about these game changers will be forthcoming.
The meat-processing sector in the Dominican Republic uses 85 percent of the soy protein imported into the country. In late July, the Consumer Protection Agency claimed several processed meats available in the market were not fit for human consumption. This information devastated processed meat sales, specifically salami, which is a staple food in the country. Currently, sales decreased by 75 percent, and some plants are expected to close.
USSEC contractor Julio Chaves recently met with several meat processing companies and members of a meat processors association to provide technical assistance. In order to stay competitive, Chaves discussed food safety procedures, such as residual nitrates and bacterial count. Chaves also provided recommendations to two plants that are in the process of building new infrastructure.
USSEC recently conducted a series of feeding demonstrations on grass carp density for the first time in Shanxi province, China. Three density trials with soy-based feed were conducted at the Yongji Municipal Fish Stock Farm to evaluate fish growth performance and feed conversion ratio. The grass carp feed contained 53.1 percent soy products, including 46.5 percent soy meal, 6 percent soy hulls and 0.6 percent soy oil. The demonstration yielded fish growth and production performance –the grass carp grew from 75 g to 1,000 g in 190 days.Over the last three years, fish farmers in the region had limited knowledge of extruded soy-based feed, which prompted USSEC to conduct several technical seminars to promote pond aquaculture technology with soy-based extruded feed. During production season, many farmers visited the demonstration ponds to observe growth performance. Yuncheng Municipal Fisheries Extension Center concluded that the total consumption of extruded soy-based feed increased from zero to more than 700 metric tons in 2012, which increases opportunities for U.S. soy-based fish feeds in the region.
Recent elections and shifts in former military leadership opened up new opportunities for U.S. soy exports in Myanmar due to the country’s aquaculture industry. A year ago, the Southeast Asia (SEA) Region introduced the SEA Aquaculture program in Myanmar, and with the help of local coordinator May Myat Noe Lwin, the program has made significant links to the country’s aquaculture industry.
This program’s success led to several more visits to Myanmar to discuss USSEC production models and the value of U.S. soy. Myanmar aquaculture stakeholders also traveled to Thailand to inspect marine fish hatcheries and Singapore to link U.S. soy exports with potential buyers in Myanmar. Within the next few years, USSEC projects that Myanmar will import 7,000 metric tons of U.S. soy.
Korean flounder growers who participated in past USSEC workshops recently met with aquaculture utilization contractor In Soo Shin to discuss upcoming events. Feedback from the meeting helped USSEC staff develop future activities for 2013. Responses confirmed that 50 percent of participants are still unaware of the benefits of soy meal and soy protein concentrate in aqua feed.
Future marketing activities will target uninformed flounder growers who applied to join a new Korean government program that expands the use of soy meal-based extruded pellet feed. Reduction of feeding costs, sustainable supply and quality consistency will be covered to highlight the benefits of soy-based extruded pellet feed compared to fish meal-based extruded pellet feed.
USSEC and Meridien Group, an animal feed additives producer, recently hosted the 2012 International Symposium on Animal Nutrition and the Modulation of Gut Health in Changsha, Hunan province, which attracted more than 300 Chinese poultry and swine producers.
Animal nutrition and feed ingredients play an important role in animal gut health. USSEC organized the symposium to increase awareness of quality soybean meal utilization in animal feeds. Presenters from the United Kingdom, Greece and the Netherlands discussed various measures that can be employed to manage gut health.
Zhang Xiaoping, country director for China, shared soy market updates, and Richard Han, animal utilization technical director, and Leo Liu, technical manager, participated in a question and answer session. Initial survey results showed that the topics were well received by participants, and some expressed their willingness to try technologies introduced during the symposium.
The USSEC Southeast Asia Soy in Aquaculture team recently participated in the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) seminar on cost-efficient feed management and marketing strategies to improve productivity and income. More than thirty participants, including milkfish cage operators, technicians, feed managers and investors, attended the event.
Diomede Bucog Jr., Tateh Premium Feeds Corp. area sales manager, discussed feeds for milkfish culture in cages, and Levy Manalac, USSEC technical manager for aquaculture, discussed cost efficient feeding management and highlighted key components of successful aquaculture, including:
- Water quality management inside the cages and cage positioning.
- Advantages of using extruded floating feeds vs. sinking feeds.
- The importance of using high quality ingredients, such as U.S. soy meal.
- Various cost efficient feeding management tips.
USSEC recently presented new business opportunities on value-added soybean varieties that will soon be commercialized in the United States. Kim Nill, USSEC technical issues director, spoke with the research and development and business planning departments at Korea’s two soybean processing companies about how these new varieties will allow companies to market new food, feed and biolubricant products.
Nill also presented at a joint meeting of the Korea Nutrition Society and International Union of Nutritional Sciences with delegates attending from thirteen Asian and Pacific countries. He explained how value-added soybeans will reduce major malnutrition problems in those countries.
USSEC recently visited several swine processing plants in Columbia and talked to personnel about security standard operating procedures. As these employees work in state of the art facilities, Julio Chaves, USSEC contractor, highlighted their responsibilities to meet public health standards and strict protocols to assure meat quality. Practicing safe and sanitary methods leads to higher pork sales and an increased demand for soy-based feed.
Previously, Columbia imported 90 percent of its soybeans from the United States, but due to high tariffs, Columbia currently imports a majority of its soybeans from South American countries. The free trade agreement may allow the United States to increase its soybean market share in Columbia.
USSEC Southeast Asia investigates potential models that could be used to estimate the carrying capacities of common bodies of water for sustainable aquaculture production. In a recent workshop in Indonesia, Dave Bengtson, Ph.D., of the University of Rhode Island, worked with Gede Sumiarsa, Ph.D., USSEC aquaculture local coordinator, to study the maximum allowable production in a body of water.
A body of water, such as a lake, reservoir, bay or river, and its carrying capacity has four major considerations: physical, production, ecological and social. Unfortunately, fish farmers are often misled that bodies of water should maximize instead of optimize fish production. Waste from rapid aquaculture development affects the production and life span of inland and coastal waters. If farmers continue to solely focus on increasing the number of fish produced, their business cannot be sustained.
Bengtson also emphasized the importance of better soy-based feeds and feeding methods during the workshop. Similar study trips have been conducted to see if potential modeling approaches can be used to regulate aquaculture locally, nationally and regionally.
USSEC recently participated in the Non-Ruminant Nutrition Forum in Korea. Swine and poultry nutritionists from feed mills and swine and poultry integrators attended the event. A need for analysis of amino acids in soybean meal (SBM) was discussed at the forum, and Hyung Suk Lee, animal utilization technical director, suggested that nutritionists and integrators analyze all imported SBM to evaluate the economic value of crude protein and amino acid content.
U.S. hipro dehulled SBMcontains more amino acids than SBM from South America and India, and evaluating the amino acids on imported SBM can differentiate the economic value of certain products. Following the forum, Lee visited the Korea Feed Association lab and its member feed mills to analyze imported SBM.
USSEC, the United Soybean Board (USB) and the American Soybean Association (ASA) hosted the first Forum for Sustainable Supply of Grains and Oilseeds for the Americas Nov. 13-15 in Pureto Vallarta. The event drew a large audience with more than 80 top executives from international soy trading companies, U.S. exporters, USSEC member companies and U.S. grower leaders to discuss key issues affecting the oilseed and grain trade in North and South America.
Experts from Mexico, Central America, and the Andean and Caribbean regions presented valuable market intelligence highlighting drivers and inhibitors to expanding market share for U.S. soy in the region. The U.S. supply and demand situation was presented by USSEC Board Member and USB Director Tom Rotello (Texas), ASA Treasurer and Trade Policy and International Affairs Chairman Bob Henry (Kansas), USB consultant John Baize, and Gary Martin, President and CEO of the North American Export Grain Association.
USSEC member company, Commodity and Ingredient Hedging LLC, was represented at the forum by Michael Shawver, Manager of Business Development. He presented a profile of a company that considers risk management and procurement strategies to reduce cost and be more competitive. Educating U.S. soy buyers on risk management and procurement skills is a key element of USSEC’s strategy to provide business development tools to strengthen relationships with key customers in high growth international markets.
Other topics discussed during the conference included change management; biotechnology; food security; international certifications and regulatory standards; branding and digital marketing; and nutritional genomics. Audience response devices were utilized to allow conference participants to provide feedback in real time and helped drive meaningful discussions and informed conclusions.
Earlier this year, USSEC hosted buyers conferences in Southeast Asia and Europe. These conferences allow participants to discuss emerging issues and reflect on the challenges and opportunities that face the soy industry. Linking buyers and suppliers for meaningful discussions and networking opportunities translates into an effective platform for trading and relationship building. This was the first such conference held in the Americas and another first-time buyers conference is scheduled for Dec. 12-13 in Dubai, U.A.E. when USSEC will launch its new office there covering the Middle East, North Africa and Asia Subcontinent region.
The full program and speaker profiles are available in both English and Spanish on the forum website: www.forodesuministrosustentable.com.
USSEC hosted a Chinese crop tour team attending Grain and Soy Trade Summit in New Orleans to tours of soybean farms in Indiana, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. During the trip, Chinese delegates visited with soybean farmers, elevator managers and co-op executives. The hands-on tour allowed Chinese buyers to see all aspects of the U.S. soy industry, from farming, warehousing and handling to marketing and transportation logistics.
Through the farm tours, USSEC assured the Chinese team members of the steady supply of U. S. soy despite this year’s severe drought. Crop conditions turned out to be much better than previously estimated due to late-season rain and the adoption of biotech crops. The team inspected soybean fields, soil and farm equipment and visited with soy farmers about production costs and farming practices such as biotechnology, seeds, tillage, machinery and chemical uses. Some of the team members even rode in a combine with the hosting farmers for the first time to observe soybean harvest. Many commented on the efficiency and reliability of U.S. soy production which will ensure food security in the United States and the rest of the world.
Throughout the past decade, USSEC has spoken about the economic importance of disease free marine fish juveniles and high quality fingerlings and fingerling feeds as the basis for a successful ocean aquaculture industry in Asia. Although the volume of soy feed is limited in hatchery and fingerling systems, healthy juvenile fish are the basis for feed-based ocean production systems that utilize soy as a key feed ingredient.
USSEC works closely with the United Soybean Board to develop and demonstrate soy-optimized feeds for the ocean aquaculture industry that can help drive rapid expansion of the sector. As part of this effort, the USSEC aquaculture program in Southeast Asia (SEA) recently collaborated with the aquaculture sector in Australia to develop soy-optimized feeds for Asian sea bass and to assist the SEA ocean aquaculture sector to improve marine fish hatchery systems.
In 2012, USSEC contractor Dr. Stewart Fielder of New South Wales, Australia, provided training in seminars and on-site visits as a first step in upgrading marine fish hatchery systems in several USSEC target countries in SEA. In 2013, the USSEC SEA aquaculture program will conduct verification feeding demonstrations with industry of the soy-optimized Asian sea bass diet, and in 2014, USSEC plans to provide hands-on marine fish hatchery training for SEA producers with Dr. Fielder in Australia. These efforts are targeted at increasing the productivity and sustainability of the SEA ocean aquaculture industry as a major market for U.S. soy in the coming decade.
Nineteen feed manufacturers from Southeast Asia recently attended the Feed Manufacturing Technology course at the Northern Crops Institute (NCI) in Fargo, N.D., to hear about feed manufacturing technology through presentations, processing demonstrations and hands-on training. USSEC collaborated with the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, North Dakota Soybean Council and South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council to co-sponsor the event.
Participants learned about the latest technical information to better understand today’s feed manufacturing industry and the benefits of U.S. soy for animal nutrition.
“In shipping soybeans to Asia, the United States has a definite advantage over our competitors in Brazil and Argentina because we can ship from the Pacific Northwest directly to Asia. The shorter shipping time results in lower freight costs,” said Kim Koch, Ph.D., NCI feed center manager. “There is tremendous potential for animal production in China, India and Southeast Asia, and the more we can do to help them get quality U.S. soybeans to make quality meal, the better off everyone will be.”
The group visited an integrated swine production facility and feed mill in Cando, N.D., export facilities in Portland, Ore., and the Ag Processing Export Terminal in Aberdeen, Wash. Participants saw firsthand the quality, efficiency and reliability of U.S. soy production.
Lead instructor, Kim Koch, has more than 20 years of experience in international consulting with the feed manufacturing industry and has lectured on feed mill efficiency and design, mixing, particle size reduction and pelleting.
USSEC staff recently met with the general manager from Aquafarm Nusantara (PTAN) Indonesia, a division of the tilapia producer, Regal Springs, to promote soy-based pellet feed. PTAN is the only tilapia fillet exporter to U.S. and European markets with an export capacity of more than 160 tons per day.
As a Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certified integrated aquaculture enterprise, the company operates one feed mill, two tilapia hatcheries and two fish processing facilities equipped with thousands of workers and floating cages in four reservoirs and lakes in Indonesia. The feed mill uses U.S. soy-based floating pellet feed for tilapia during nursery and growout stages.
USSEC recently participated in the Ecuadorian Aquaculture Congress in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The event was sponsored by the National Aquaculture Chamber and the University of Guayaquil—both strong supporters of the aquaculture industry in the Americas.
More than 400 industry representatives attended in the meeting to learn about Ecuador’s shrimp production. Attendees also learned about animal health, water resources, the structure and function of production systems, and market access. USSEC’s involvement in aquaculture in the region, specifically shrimp nutrition, was also discussed at the event.
USSEC contractor Herbert Quintero, Ph.D., delivered a presentation on the recent developments of soy usage, including soy ingredients and shrimp feed.
In Ecuador shrimp production in 2012 will amount to an estimated 200,000 tons. Ecuador is among the world’s largest producers of shrimp, and the country strives to become a supplier for Asian markets in the coming years.
USSEC recently hosted a team of 20 Chinese feed mill staff and animal producers to learn more about U.S. soy and livestock production and attend the International Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. The team visited Kansas State University to hear about new technology in livestock production and management as well as tour dairy farms, feed mills, a feed processing integrator, soybean farms and a grain elevator.The participants expressed interest learning about how the U.S. grain storage and distribution systems work together to deliver a consistent and reliable soy supply for domestic and international customers. The trip increased the Chinese team’s confidence level in the sustainability and availability of U.S. soy to meet their growing demands and continue to support economic growth and industry development in China. The Chinese team also saw first-hand the advantages of using a soy-based diet in dairy production and see soy playing an important role in increasing the productivity of the dairy industry in China.
The Kansas, Iowa and Illinois state soybean associations co- hosted the team. Richard Han, animal utilization technical director; Leo Liu, technical manager; and Sunny Zhang, program manager, escorted the group.
USSEC’s Soy in Aquaculture program recently conducted a seminar on sustainable tilapia cage farming, disease prevention and health management in the Philippines. More than 85 representatives from tilapia cage operators, the Taal Lake Aquaculture Alliance, Inc., government agencies and feed mills attended the seminar. Hsiang Pin Lan, USSEC contractor; Levy Loreto Manalac, USSEC aquaculture technical manager; and Basilisa Reas, Ph.D., USSEC animal utilization technical manager, discussed disease prevention, identifying symptoms on the farm and health management for tilapia farms.
Lan focused on the health management aspect of tilapia cage farming and its importance in maximizing production. He also discussed the proper use of extruded soy floating feeds and the 90 percent satiation feeding technique. Manalac introduced USSEC’s upcoming activities in the Philippines and shared the production benefits of using extruded floating feeds compared to sinking steamed pellet feeds. Reas discussed global supply and demand of raw feed materials and how that impacts the prices of major aqua feed ingredients. Reas also promoted the advantages of using U.S. soy meal as compared to soy meal from other origins.
Government agencies in attendance included the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Municipal Agriculturalist Office of Talisay, Batangas; feed mills included San Miguel Foods, Inc., Santeh Feeds Corp., Feedmix, and New Hope Feeds.