soybean field

USSEC’s 2013 U.S. Soy Trade & Sustainability European Buyers Conference Brings Soy Buyers, Sellers and Leaders Together

The USSEC-sponsored 2013 U.S. Soy Trade & Sustainability European Buyers Conference held on November 19 – 21 in Istanbul, Turkey was deemed to be a great success by key U.S. soy stakeholders.  The objectives of the conference were to help participants gain access to critical information, network with industry principals and explore real business opportunities.  The U.S. soy industry also aimed to showcase the importance of U.S. soybean sustainable farming to the European marketplace with the ultimate goal of persuading European customers to choose U.S. soy over soy from other origins.  125 people from 22 countries attended this symposium.
In a conference call, Mr. Sutter discussed the importance of this annual event that brings together sellers, buyers and leaders to discuss topics such as supply and demand, nutrition and formulation.  He said that bringing together key soy stakeholders is an efficient way to get the word out about the superior quality of U.S. soy.  “Networking is one of the highlights of the event,” stated Mr. Sutter.  The welcome reception and banquet on the evening prior to the conference’s kickoff provided buyers and sellers with an opportunity to chat about the market and their businesses.  “The European conference is modeled after events that USSEC has held in Asia for the past nine or ten years,” said Jim Call, United Soybean Board (USB) Vice Chairman and Minnesota soybean farmer.  “Speakers discussed exports, planting intentions and sustainability, which is a big issue in the EU right now,” he explained.
Wade Cohan, American Soybean Association (ASA) Vice President and a Texas soybean farmer, stressed the significance of the U.S. Sustainability Protocol to European customers and said the work that the U.S. has done has “moved the needle” to make these customers more comfortable with buying U.S. soy by “build[ing] a model that is easily and readily accessible.”  Mr. Sutter noted that two speakers at the conference, Dr. Dave White, the former head of the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Dr. Marty Matlock, the University of Arkansas’ Executive Director of the Office for Sustainability, were key to giving expert and unbiased information comparing the U.S. Sustainability Assurance Protocol to other systems around the world.
USSEC feels that superior transportation, quality and technical support of U.S. soy provides the U.S. with an advantage in the European market.  European buyers and crushers have become more cautiously accepting of GMOs and European farmers are indicating a desire to raise GMO soybeans, especially as the need for supply grows.  Mr. Cohan believes that there will be a “move to increased markets here in Europe over the next 24-36 months.”
The EU is an important developing market for the U.S. soybean industry.  Although China is America’s largest soybean export market, it is critical that the U.S. continue its funding of the European market.  Mr. Call reiterated that U.S. soy is already present with personnel in different European countries.  “Europe is the largest market right now that we can’t step away from,” he stated.

USB Vice Chairman Jim Call addresses participants
USB Vice Chairman Jim Call addresses participants