USSEC, together with U.S. Grains Council (USGC), and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), successfully hosted Southeast Asia’s 1st Agricultural Leadership Summit 2017 (SEALS) from September 10 – 13 in Auckland, New Zealand. The event connects buyers and sellers of U.S. agriculture.
This was a significant year as it marks the Association of Southeast Asia Nations’ (ASEAN) 50th Anniversary and the association’s 40 years of partnership with the United States. The U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and the Independent State of Samoa, Hon. Scott Brown, officially opened the event with a welcome address during the reception and dinner on Sept. 10.
Representing the U.S. Soy family at the Summit were Jim Miller, Chairman of USSEC; Bill Gordon, Treasurer, American Soybean Association (ASA); Keith Schrader, Director and Past Chairman, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSRPC); and Trevore Brekken, Director, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA).
Mr. Miller gave a presentation on the state of the U.S. soybean industry while Mr. Gordon provided a grower’s perspective and update on the U.S. 2017/18 soybean crop harvest. Both grower leaders collaborated and shared their thoughts on the top 10 concerns of a U.S. Soy producer. Mr. Schrader and Mr. Brekken joined the session speakers for the session in the panel discussion, addressing questions and concerns from the audience.
In addition to focusing on U.S. and global agriculture, the aim of SEALS was to provide the Southeast Asian agricultural leadership in attendance with insights on broader and strategic subjects and matters that will shape the agricultural landscape for both food and feed in the years to come. To achieve this, the organizers brought together an experienced and distinguished panel of presenters, led by U.S. grower leaders.
According to the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Cambodia, rapid population growth and climate volatility are projected to push up demand for food in the region by 40 percent by 2050. USSEC is active in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in the Southeast Asian region. Together, these countries represent a large and growing market for U.S. Soy exports
120 participants from 11 countries attended the 3-day SEALS program. The level of interest and interaction was very good as shown from the panel discussions. Overall, the verbal and written feedback received from participants expressed that majority of the topics presented were both relevant and useful to their business. More than 95 percent indicated that the SEALS program had scored either high, or very high on relevance, usefulness, value and organization.
SEALS was made possible by South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (main sponsors), with additional support from the United Soybean Board (USB), American Soybean Association, FAS, North Dakota Soybean Council, and Kentucky Soybean Board. The event also received outstanding support from 15 corporate sponsors including the CME Group, CoBank, INTL FCStone, A.T. Kearney, and 11 other major commodity trading houses.