USSEC’s Southeast Asia Aquaculture Program, for the first time, took an aquaculture-specific Southeast Asian stakeholder group to visit the U.S. Soy complex in Nebraska and Illinois. This important trip, funded by the Nebraska Soybean Association, not only brought key aquaculture stakeholders together with purchase decision authority to see firsthand the qualities that make U.S. Soy superior, but also helped to further educate the USSEC SEA Aquaculture Team. For both of these reasons, this trip will help to continue to drive the preference for and support the discussions on why users should prefer U.S. Soy products.
The “soy complex” in this case was a five day intensive tour by ten potential buyers and six USSEC contractors of various parts of the soy complex, including:
- Visits to several soybean farms, notably a visit to United Soybean Board (USB) director Gregg Fujan’s Nebraska farm
- Grain elevators, including Prague, Nebraska; the Delong facility in Joliet, Illinois; and the Leland Coop in Illinois
- Containerization facilities for Gavilon, Delong, and Leland
- Transport facilities, including truck, rail, and barge
- Research centers in two locations, in cooperation with the University of Nebraska
- Soy exporter visits to Gavilon, AGP, Scoular, and Leland Coop
- Visits to the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and education on ingredient risk management strategies at USA Trading
The travel schedule in Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois allowed USSEC to highlight both the ingredient and nutrient values that make U.S. Soy products the preferred soy internationally. The U.S. Soy industry provided strong support for this visit, and participants indicated that they were very impressed to see how the U.S. researches, produces, transports, and trades soy. Initial discussions occurred with some of the soy trading firms between the participants and sales teams on soy purchases, primarily container shipments which are the most flexible way for buyers from aquaculture feedmills to directly access U.S. Soy products.
One of the participants summed up his impressions:
We have used U.S. Soy in our feedmill for many years, but this was the first time I really understood what makes U.S. Soy so good. We knew that the U.S. product is of high quality and consistent, but now I understand why that is the case – it isn’t just putting a seed in the ground, it’s the whole system of how the U.S. produces soy that makes it a quality product. I really appreciate that the U.S. Soy farmers have brought us here to see this and it also encouraged me to not only to continue to buy [U.S.] soy, but to rethink how I run my feedmill and aquaculture operations. This trip helped me understand the ‘American Dream’ and makes me want to try to improve what I do in my own country.