USSEC Gathers in Asia for Strategic Planning Meetings
- General News
U.S. soybean growers and USSEC staff gathered this week in Guangzhou, China and Jakarta, Indonesia for back-to-back regional planning meetings to examine market trends and develop plans for the next fiscal year beginning October 1. The North Asia regional meeting was held in Guangzhou, China which is the third largest city in China and the largest in southern China. The Southeast Asia regional meeting was held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
USSEC Chairman and American Soybean Association (ASA) Director Randy Mann traveled from Kentucky to Asia to participate in the meetings along with several staff members from throughout the regional and the headquarters staff from St. Louis. Other volunteer grower leaders participating in the meetings were United Soybean Board (USB) Treasurer Bob Haselwood of Kansas, ASA Director Jim Miller of Nebraska, USB Director Mike Beard of Indiana and Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Board Director Paul Simonsen. Two staff members representing Qualified State Soybean Boards (QSSBs) that invest in USSEC international marketing programs also participated in the meetings, including Sam Ziegler of Minnesota and Michelle Swensen of North Dakota, both of whom are also soybean producers.
Chairman Mann stressed the importance of getting a first-hand look at markets to understand the growth potential for U.S. exports. "When you grasp the market size and soy consumption trends in Asia, you realize the demand potential for U.S. soy exports," Chairman Mann said. "We must continue working with our trading partners on food security issues to ensure there are enough soybeans to feed the world by 2050."
Foreign Agricultural Service staff also participated in the meetings, including Mark Smith from FAS-Washington, Scott Sindelar of FAS-Beijing, and Ali Abdi and Idnu Edy Wiyono of FAS-Jakarta. FAS staff commented on the importance of getting involved early on in USSEC's planning process. Participating in the meetings helps FAS understand the background and ask questions about technical and commercial issues impacting future soy demand.
Each May USSEC submits a Unified Export Strategy (UES) application to FAS to obtain a share of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's nearly $235 million in market development funding. The UES outlines USSEC's assessment of the market opportunities for U.S. soy around the world and the projects the industry is planning to undertake. USSEC's annual budget for international marketing and market access activities are funded by USB, ASA's cost-share of FAS' market development funds, QSSBs, and industry.