USSEC, together with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), organized the 2017 Asia Grain Transportation Conference (GTC) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Mary Tarnowka, U.S. Consul General, U.S. Embassy, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, officially opened this year’s GTC at the Sheraton Saigon. The event received its highest turnout to date: over 230 participants from across the region and beyond, with 12 nationalities representing around 100 companies. A large delegation of U.S. Soy family members and stakeholders attended, comprised of soy grower leaders, U.S. exporters, speakers, and guests.
The North and South Dakota Qualified State Soybean Boards (QSSB) were the main sponsors of this year’s conference, represented by Mike Appert, vice chairman of the North Dakota Soybean Council, and Joshua Kayser, South Dakota Soybean Association director.
Mr. Kayser gave a presentation on “U.S. Growers Perspectives: U.S. Soybean Crop Production Outlook,” while Mr. Appert assisted in co-chairing the “U.S. Soy Supply – Ensuring Quality & Sustainability through the Value Chain” session during the Southeast Asia Soy Symposium, another USSEC major regional event that is strategically held back to back with the GTC (see following story).
A reception was held for sixteen U.S. grower leaders from eight states and other U.S. Soy Family representatives, which provided a positive message to the participants and also helped to draw the connection between U.S. growers with their destination markets even closer.
As a result of the collective efforts of the organizers, sponsors, supporters, U.S. Soy Industry representatives, and presenters that provided their expertise and insights, 92 percent of 132 respondents polled indicated that this year’s conference experience was between “high value” and “very high value.” The majority of participants rated the speakers highly with over 93 percent indicating their experience from “good” to “very good.” The presentations were broad ranging, yet in-depth with relevant discussions about key Asian markets, the global outlook for grain and soy, trends in ocean freight, and supply chains for food and agri-products. This year, the organizers introduced two special forum sessions, the “U.S. Ag Producers Forum” and “U.S. Ag Exporters Forum,” which were also very well received and attracted strong participation and responses from the participants. Since introducing the e-platform, Pigeonhole, five years ago to manage the questions and answer sessions for these events, the quality of participation and interaction has been outstanding.
Finally, as with every Grain Transportation Conference, the organizers put together a major success criterion, which is marked by the amount of U.S. agricultural products that this important U.S. ag marketing platform has been able to generate for U.S. Soy stakeholders. Based on written evaluations submitted, over 1.1 million metric tons (MMT) of U.S. agricultural products were traded or negotiated at this year’s event. About 600,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. soybeans and soybean meal were reportedly transacted or equivalent to about 25 million bushels of soybeans. In addition, over half a million metric ton (MMT) of U.S. corn, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), and wheat were also transacted at the conference.
Vietnam is one of the world's fastest growing markets for soy because of rapid economic growth and rising population. I gave a presentation this morning on the global soy supply and demand situation. This afternoon I moderated a panel discussion of U.S. farmers attending the meeting. I am very impressed with those attending and with the positives happening in this country. Vietnam ostensibly remains a communist country, but you would not realize it because of all of the capitalism happening here. Great, growing market for U.S. Soy.
-USSEC consultant John Baize
The organizers sincerely thank the North Dakota Soybean Council, South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Kentucky Soybean Association, corporate sponsors, and industry supporters for making the Asia Grain Tranportation Conference a resounding success.