soybean field

USSEC Attends CESFAC Assembly, Participates in Customer Meetings in Spain

USSEC attended the CESFAC Assembly (Spanish Confederation of Compound Animal Feeds) and participated in customer meetings in Spain from June 1-5.  United Soybean Board (USB) director Scott Singlestad, America Soybean Association (ASA) director Bret Davis, and USSEC International Animal Feed Marketing Manager Pam Helmsing traveled to Spain for these meetings.  The purpose of the trip was to get an overview of the U.S.’s current Spanish soy feed business and to gauge how the U.S. market can better fill the Spanish industry’s needs in the coming years.
The delegation visited a large co-operative in Orense that mills and feeds poultry and cattle in that region.  Coren Company is the largest feed company in Galicia and the fourth largest in Spain.  It is a co-op of all-sized farmers producing poultry, hogs and dairy and grains.  They manage the animals from inception through slaughter, along with branding some of the final products through grocery stores.  The team met with Coren’s purchasing manager who reported that the company produces between 700,000 - 800,000 thousand metric tons (TMT) of feed yearly using three main plants.  Afterwards, the team met over dinner with members of the feed industry in Santiago; these companies represent about 90 percent of the feed business in the Galicia market.
The U.S. soy delegation found that most of the soybean meal was purchased on a spot decision based on price and mostly protein content.  Mr. Davis says, “It seemed that they knew of amino acid make up but only purchased on protein,” so the team discussed the feed value of U.S. soy complex and pricing options through the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT).  Ms. Helmsing states, “There is a strong perception that the quality of U.S. meal (measured in crude protein) is not as good as South American meal. There is some interest in amino acid profiles, but we still have work to do in changing the thinking of consumers in Spain to value meal based on amino acids.”
The team also toured Coruña Port, which is landlocked by the city, and a new port that is being built outside the city, which will have over four times the space and storage in addition to the ability to ship by truck and rail.  Mr. Davis explains, “This shows the value they put upon importing feed grains and protein into their country and how the country is working its way out of its fiscal problems through importing feed stuffs and exporting value added food to the EU.”  Galicia is well-situated to import soybean meal from U.S.
USSEC’s main purpose in attending the CESFAC assembly was to defend the business interests of the animal nutrition industry before state bodies and authorities; the European community and international organizations; autonomous regions of Spain; local authorities; business organizations and trade union organizations.  Approximately 80 participants attended the conference, which focused on a recent study regarding future strategies for the feed industry in Spain.  According to Mr. Davis, attending the assembly “shed new light” on the views of the feed industry in the coming years.  He said that the main speaker warned the feed industry of the past views of the countries of the EU and stated that unapproved technology will continue to “price the EU out of the market.”
The soy delegation also met with met with USSEC consultants Dr. Gonzalo Mateos and Lola Herrera, in addition to Agricultural Attaché Robert Hanson of the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) at the American Embassy.  The team also traveled to Vigo to meet with the commercial manager of GROUP NOGUEIRA and Zaragota to visit the Cooperative Arento and meet with its CEO and a representative from Inspectia.  They also toured a research farm and visited the farm of Arento’s president.
USSEC is very positive about this trip’s outcome.  Ms. Helmsing reports, “We need to continue teaching about the value of soy based on amino acids and how that relates to the performance of livestock.  Data from the Ileal digestibility studies and the meta study currently beginning should be helpful in getting informative concise materials for our contractors to use.”  Mr. Davis states, “I feel that the Spaniards are the building block of our increase of soy imports into the EU.”  He continues, “They have embraced the importance of our technology but are still a little skeptical to our reports of value of it and complete safety of it.”  He believes that the methods to “open the door further” in Spain are:  on-the-ground understanding of the amino acid value of U.S. soy by in-country trials; training on the risk management system that the CBOT has to offer; foreign exchange of the importers to see the safety and sustainability of the U.S. soy complex; and help the Spanish to better understand the technology that is used today and in the future.