United Soybean Board (USB) director Bob Metz of South Dakota and American Soybean Association (ASA) director Willard Jack of Mississippi recently travelled to Europe on behalf of U.S. Soy.
Together with USSEC Consultant – South Europe Lola Herrera, the grower leaders visited France and Belgium, meeting with key feed industry, poultry producers, and major soybean importers.
France produces about 21 million tons of industrial feed yearly. The country is self-sufficient in grains, but needs to import soy protein - approximately three millions tons of soybean meal and half a million tons of soybeans annually. Soybeans are crushed at the Brest crushing plant operated by Bunge after being purchased from Cargill.
The feed industry in France is organized in two associations, SNIA Industrial Feed and Premixes, and Coop de France, which is made up by feed plants owned for coops. The French industry has created an association between SNIA and Coop de France, Eurofac, in order to be represented in Brussels as one voice. Additionally, the France food and feed industries created DURALIN, a sustainability platform for the food and feed industry chain.
In France, the team visited LDC, the main poultry producer in France and one of the European leaders in this industry. LDC operates 6 feed plants in a total integrated business. The delegates met with Jean-Yves Hardy, director of one of the feed plants, who gave a presentation about the company; its philosophy is from the field to the table. The group also had meetings with Louis Dreyfus Commodities and SNIA.
In Paris, the group met with Kate Snipes, Counsellor of the Office of Agricultural Affairs, at the U.S. Embassy to talk about the French market and the projects USSEC plans to implement in France during the next fiscal year. Ms. Snipes offered collaboration for the development of the projects.
In Belgium, the group visited Vanden Avenne in Ghent. This company is the main distributor for feed raw materials, also producing bioethanol in Ghent and Rotterdam and part owner of Euro Silo, the main silo in Belgium to discharge and charge bulk vessels. Euro Silo has a volume of 6 million tons, with 2 million that supplies the two bioethanol plants, and the balance supplies the feed and food industry. From Ghent, they also supply northern France, southern Germany, and some parts of the Netherlands. Company trader Ben Samyn provided a clear explanation about the industry in Belgium to the group. They produce six million tons of feed, with a soybean meal consumption near one million.