soybean field

USSEC Participates in See for Yourself Mission

USSEC participated in the United Soybean Board’s (USB) See for Yourself mission to Panama and Costa Rica August 4 – 12.
The See for Yourself program is aimed at U.S. soybean farmers who want to learn more about their customers beyond the grain elevator and the U.S. Soy industry’s role in marketing U.S. Soy to these customers. Participants hear firsthand about the qualities customers desire in their soybeans and see how the U.S. soybean industry is a multi-faceted, global business.
Ten soybean farmers were selected to travel with grower leaders including USB chair Jared Hagert and USB directors Keith Tapp, Gregg Fujan, and Nancy Kavazanjian. USSEC staff included Regional Representative – Americas Francisco de la Torre, Marketing Director Aquaculture/ Customer Focus Colby Sutter, USSEC Regional Deputy Director Nayeli Vilanova, and USSEC consultant Belinda Pignotti. USSEC CEO Jim Sutter gave a presentation to the group in Panama City.
Infrastructure discussions that began in St. Louis continued as the participants went through the newly expanded Panama Canal. The canal’s recent expansion doubled the waterway’s capacity, helping to ship U.S. Soy to foreign markets faster. International soy buyers often pay as much attention to the timeliness of deliveries as they do the price, and so the canal’s expansion increased U.S. Soy’s competitiveness on the global scale. About 44 percent of exported soybeans from the U.S. pass through the Panama Canal.
The program concluded in Costa Rica, a country that imported 100 percent of its soy from the U.S. in the 2014/2015 marketing year. Participants heard from INOLASA, the sole soybean-crushing plant in Central America. USSEC, together with the soy checkoff, partnered with INOLASA to increase U.S. soybean consumption in Costa Rica, taking it from 33 percent of its imports in 2014 to 100 percent in 2015.
While in Costa Rica, participants also learned about the soy-fed fish industry from Martec Industries, a company dedicated to the production, processing and marketing of seafood, especially red snapper. The soy checkoff invests in the marketing and promotion of soy in fish feed and helped Martec incorporate soybean meal into its rations. The fish are raised in cages in the Pacific Ocean and their feed includes roughly 18 percent soy, all of which comes from the U.S.