USSEC recently participated in the Portugal, France, Italy, and Spain feed associations’ annual meetings. USSEC participated in the meetings with the objective of improving the EU markets’ knowledge of U.S. Soy, related to quality, sustainability, and logistics. These four countries imported 125 million bushels of U.S. soybeans this year, an increase of 171 percent, nearly tripling last year’s U.S. soy imports.
In Portugal, USSEC worked with the Portuguese Association of Animal Feed Manufacturers (IACA) to celebrate their annual assembly, where USSEC gave a presentation about sustainability. The U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) was the main subject of the presentation, but USSEC also shared how U.S. growers farm in a sustainable way. As main food distribution chains are working harder to show their customers that their products are sustainable, they are asking for a certificate of sustainability from their raw materials suppliers.
In France, the slogan of the annual conference was “Innovation and the Future,” with all presentations related to how to improve business through as much innovation as possible. Sustainability was also a main topic, since French citizens are very conscientious to meet the challenge that the world maintains the planet for the future. France is the third largest feed producer in the European Union, with 21 million tons of industrial feed. It is also the largest cattle producer, the second largest poultry producer, and the third largest swine producer.
In Italy, the annual meeting’s focus was “Sustainability in the Italian Feed Industry,” with the participation of the food and feed industries and the Italian government. The meeting concentrated on sustainability and circular economy, and gave special mention to the efficiency in the feed and meat production as a tool to be sustainable. Italy produces 14 million tons of feed a year.
In Spain, the annual conference was held in Madrid. Spain is becoming the main feed producer in Europe, due to a big increase in swine production for the export market. Spain exports 40 percent of their swine production.
These four countries – Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy – are big consumers of soybean meal and are the main importers or soybean meal and soybeans to the EU, especially Spain and Portugal, where the production of soybeans and other oilseeds is practically zero. There is high potential to increase the imports of both U.S. soybeans and soybean meal in all of these countries.