Initiated by USSEC’s European team in response to adapting activities to the unique and ongoing situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USSEC’s Applied Feed Manufacturing online training served as a two-day virtual platform for feed manufacturers from 59 different countries, helping USSEC speakers and organizers to overcome travel restrictions and reach key target audiences around the globe. More than 460 registered professionals worldwide had the ability to watch and listen to practical presentations on feed manufacturing, animal nutrition and the role of U.S. Soy in efficient animal feeding.
“This is the second large virtual event organized by USSEC Europe this year and, as organizers, the team has learned a lot. Initially dedicated to a handful of U.S. soy customers from the EU region, once advertised, the USSEC Feed Manufacturing Training attracted attention from international professionals and we received inquiries for participation from all over,” says Dr. Iani Chihaia, USSEC consultant and event organizer. “Besides the high level of interest expressed by professionals from the international feed industry, the event became an excellent means to promote the quality of U.S. Soy. As such, we allowed soy customers from all over the world to attend and this hailed a success which U.S. soy industry should consider following through similar activities.”
Judging from participant feedback, attendees were particularly interested in the high-profile speakers and agenda relevant for the feed manufacturing industry, and included information about the quality of soy products and the nutritional advantages of the value-added soy protein ingredients obtained from U.S. Soy.
Through the presentation “World and EU Feed Production: Past, Present, and Future,” USSEC consultant Dr. Jan van Eys kicked off the event agenda and introduced information about the EU’s livestock production, feed market, soy usage, and the critical role of U.S. sustainable soy and soy products. Future challenges in supplying sustainable raw materials for animal feed manufacturing were presented by Dejan Dragan Miladinovic, the head of Norway’s FôrTek Feed Technology Lab. The first panel of the online training was closed by Dr. Birger Svihus, professor at the Norwegian Live Sciences University, who discussed the role of feed processing in animal production.
U.S. Soy’s story attracted the participants’ attention and generated significant interaction. A prerecorded presentation from USSEC CEO Jim Sutter on what USSEC is and what USSEC does was the hit of the event’s first day. Sutter emphasized that nutritionists using U.S. Soy in feed formulations benefit from U.S. soybeans’ superior amino acid content, higher digestibility, and higher energy and phosphorus contents, plus greater uniformity in nutrients.
Gunnar Lynum of the Ohio Soybean Council talked about the advantages of U.S. soybeans, reiterating their distinctive quality parameters and excellent logistics in the U.S. He explained how U.S. soybeans can be purchased directly from U.S. farmers and delivered to end-users anywhere in the world.
The virtual event was an opportunity to expose worldwide participants to the nutritional characteristics of U.S. soy ingredients and their use in animal diets. Dr. van Eys introduced conventional soy ingredients such as non-dehulled versus dehulled soybean meal. A particular interest was shown by several participants located in Middle Eastern and Asian countries regarding full fat soybean meal production and quality. Another opportunity to emphasize the quality of U.S. Soy was a presentation dedicated by Dr. van Eys to novel value-added soy ingredients for poultry, pigs, and aqua species and the importance of soybean quality in obtaining high quality soy protein concentrates, fermented soy, and isolates. In this regard, U.S. soybeans are the best option in manufacturing conventional or value-added soy protein ingredients.
Interestingly enough, several feed mills around the world joining the USSEC training turned their participation into a hybrid event. The customers took the opportunity to watch the online sessions together with their team and colleagues. This allowed USSEC to connect and share information with industry representatives across the globe, located in remote areas, to places where U.S. Soy is used, but never before touched by the USSEC speakers. Many participants said that the hybrid events are a good solution, especially for the professionals who are unable to travel due to time or budget constraints. Now, thanks to events’ digitalization, almost any soy customer has easy access to participate in conferences, seminars, and trainings, either live or on demand.
In spite of the time zone differences, participants from South America, South Asia, and Oceania made an effort and joined USSEC’s online training, hosted at Europe’s GMT+3 time zone. This is proof of high interest on what USSEC is sharing with customers. With a constant online presence of over 120 participants from South America, more than 50 feed industry professionals from South Asia, and another 150 from Europe and the Middle East, the event was a unique experience and provided an opportunity for USSEC to learn more about the new possibilities to interact with customers and successfully organize future virtual meetings.
“USSEC’s Applied Feed Manufacturing and Animal Nutrition virtual conference has been hailed a remarkable success with huge participation from all over the world. We are glad to know that USSEC is able to improve access to high profile experts and to quality information for U.S. soy customers around the world, by taking the advantage of the technical event’s digitalization,” concludes Dr. Chihaia. “Enabling more customers from across the globe to join the online events is a nice benefit of this year’s unique situation. We at USSEC are determined to take this opportunity and turn this year into a great experience, and then to meet each other in person, whenever this will be possible. Participants were grateful to the U.S. soy industry’s efforts to make this event possible and to keep close to customers during these extraordinary times. U.S. Soy is open for business and continues to demonstrate its commitment to U.S. soy customers and end-users.”