USSEC participated in an International Soybean Growers Alliance (ISGA) mission to Argentina December 1 and 2.
USSEC chairman and American Soybean Association (ASA) director Jim Miller, USSEC and United Soybean Board (USB) director Jimmy Sneed, USSEC CEO Jim Sutter, and USSEC Marketing Director – Market Access / Freedom to Operate Roz Leeck made up the USSEC delegation.
Prior to participating in the ISGA meetings, the group visited Rosario, Santa Fe; stopping at a farm for an afternoon of discussion and a field tour. They also visited T6, a joint venture between Bunge and AGD, which is one of the largest crush plants in the world in addition to serving as an export facility for soy, soy products, corn and wheat.
This meeting in Argentina was a significant step on setting the agenda and priorities for the upcoming year. It also marked the first official meetings since Argentina’s ISGA members assumed the role of Secretariat. The group continues to target market access issues of mutual interest. The key topics are: biotechnology approvals and acceptance (especially in China, India and EU), pesticide tolerance levels, LLP, and the market acceptance of soy products derived by using Plant Breeding Innovation (New Breeding Techniques). Beyond these external-facing issues, the group also discussed issues that farmers face in each of the member countries. Many of these issues are regarding regulatory and social pressures. The ISGA meeting provides an excellent forum to share experiences and exchange ideas on how to address the challenges farmers face from many different sources.
In addition, the ISGA delegation met with the Minister of Agriculture and had a private meeting with the Secretary of Agriculture. In those meetings, a number of different issues were discussed, including the changes Argentina has made in Differential Export Tax as well as the ongoing debate on seed law and intellectual property protection. Both the Minister and Secretary recognized the significance of the six soy producing nations coming together to work on market access issues of mutual concern and encouraged the farmers to continue their efforts. This view was also expressed when the U.S. team met with David Mergen, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Ag Counselor located in Buenos Aires.