soybean field

USSEC Hosts Inaugural U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Davenport, IA

USSEC hosted the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Davenport, Iowa from September 16 -18.  This first time event welcomed more than 550 people representing major soy-importing nations to the Davenport River Center in the Quad Cities area.  Over 200 international buyers of U.S. soy from 40 countries representing approximately 50 million metric tons or 1.8 billion bushels of whole soybeans attended this unique networking opportunity.   The detailed conference agenda can be found here.

According to USSEC North Asia Regional Director Paul Burke, it’s important to maintain the steady relationship between domestic importers and international soy buyers.  “When you look at a soybean field in Iowa or Illinois, every fourth row is exported to China and every other row is exported to another country.  So basically, 50% of the value of that field comes from the export market,” Mr. Burke stated. Local soy producers are enthusiastic about the opportunities provided by the conference.  “This event is really good to join us with the buyers that we have and to service the buyers we have,” said Riverside, Iowa farmer and USB Director Larry Marek.  “If there are concerns they have about quality or transportation or sustainability, all those things are very important to us.”

Jim Willers, USB Director from Minnesota, and John Baize, USSEC Contractor Economist, enjoy the event's John Deere exhibit
Jim Willers, USB Director from Minnesota, and John Baize, USSEC Contractor Economist, enjoy the event's John Deere exhibit

The event kicked off with the USSEC Trade Team Invitational.  These speed meetings were exchanges conducted between USSEC trade teams, export suppliers and visiting trade teams were held from 8 a.m. to noon on Monday, September 16.  The conference officially opened that afternoon with a welcome given by Randy Mann, USSEC Chairman; Jim Sutter, USSEC CEO; Jim Stillman, United Soybean Board (USB) Chairman; Danny Murphy, American Soybean Association (ASA) President; Roger Mortenson, Midwest Shippers Association (MSA) Chairman; and Bruce Abbe, MSA Executive Director.  General sessions were held that afternoon including:  “Critical Importance of Infrastructure to U.S. Agricultural Exports and to the Midwest Economy”; “Global Agricultural Soy and Grain Outlook & Supply Situation”; “Globalization and Agriculture Trade Policy”; “U.S Global Trade Agreement Updates”; “Trans-Pacific Partnership Increased Opportunities for U.S. / Vietnam Ties in Economic, Trade and Investment Cooperation for Soy and Agriculture”; and “The Success of NAFTA and What Can Be Learned in Future Trade Negotiations.”  Speakers included the Ambassador to the U.S. from Vietnam, Nguyen Quoc Cuong, and Francisco Mayorga, Mexico’s past Secretary of Agriculture.  A question and answer session followed these topics.  The trade show officially opened at 4 p.m., followed by an evening dinner cruise aboard the Celebration Belle Riverboat on the Mississippi River.
Tuesday’s presentations and panel discussions included “Market Dynamics / Where the Flow of Money into the Exchange is Coming From and Where It Will Likely Be Heading in the Future”; “Market Overview / Where is the Global Demand Going for High Value Food IP Soybeans”; “Inland Waterways and Mississippi River Locks & Dams Infrastructure Funding / Latest Developments for Maintaining America’s Grain Shipping Artery to the World”; “Global Market & U.S. Supply Outlook for Value-Added IP Corn”; “Soy Supply and Demand Outlook / Soy Processing Industry Development in China”; “Soy Supply and Demand Outlook and Soy Processing Industry Development in China”; “Chinese Feed Industry Development, an Opportunity for the World”; “Inland Intermodal Container Grain Shipping / Expanding the Competitive Range”; “Panel Presentation on Issues and Opportunities for Expanding Service in the Upper Midwest Region”; “Sustainable Agriculture / A View from the Field and the Marketplace,”; “U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act / Latest Update on Requirements All U.S. Food & Feed Processors Will Need to Meet”; “New U.S. Food Grade IP Soybean & Corn Seed Variety Development”; “State of U.S. Grain and Soybean Industry”; “Future of U.S. and Global Agriculture Seed Development”; and “U.S. Agriculture – One Point Solution for the World’s Agricultural Needs.”  USSEC presenters and facilitators included Nayeli Vilanova, Regional Manager, USSEC-Americas, Mexico; Masako Tateishi, North Asia Regional Human Utilization Director, USSEC-North Asia, Japan; Dady Maskar, S.E. Asia Regional Human Utilization Manager, USSEC-Southeast Asia, Singapore; and Xiaoping Zhang, Country Director, USSEC-China.  Concurrent breakout sessions were held during this time, and an international trade delegation reception closed out the second day of the exchange.
Wednesday’s events included three site tours:  an overview of barge loading operations given by River Gulf Grain, a division of AGREX, Inc. in Bettendorf, Iowa; a presentation and tour of the John Deere Worldwide Headquarters in East Moline, Illinois; and an overview of Mississippi River Lock & Dam operations by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers at Lock & Dam 14 in LeClaire, Iowa.
USSEC is enthusiastic and optimistic that this first U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange will create further demand and cultivate additional international customers for U.S. soy.  USSEC’s objective is to build preference and demand by promoting the superior quality and value of U.S. soy.  USSEC-sponsored conferences, seminars, and workshops continue to support the U.S. soy family in this mission.