DAVENPORT, Iowa (Sept. 16, 2013) – As China’s appetite for soy products continues to grow, it’s leaning on U.S. soybean farmers to help meet demand – in one recent case, to the tune of $2.8 billion.
During the recent U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange, Chinese agricultural leaders signed agreements to buy approximately $2.8 billion worth of U.S. soy. The delegation signed 13 contracts with U.S. exporters.
“These contracts speak to U.S. soybean farmers’ work to produce high-quality soybeans,” says Jim Stillman, chairman of the United Soybean Board (USB), which co-sponsored the Exchange with the American Soybean Association (ASA). “The U.S. soy industry is committed to meeting the demands of our customers, and we are doing that by growing the best crops we can,” says Stillman, a soybean farmer from Emmetsburg, Iowa.
“China is an important trade partner of the U.S. soy industry,” says Randy Mann, chairman of the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), which hosted the Exchange. “We look forward to continuing to grow our relationship with our largest international customer,” says Mann, who raises soybeans on his farm Auburn, Ky.
More than 200 foreign trade delegates attended the Exchange in the Quad Cities Sept. 16-18. Farmer-leaders from across the soy family networked with international customers and solidified purchase agreements.
“This is the first year we’ve held the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange, and we’re very pleased that purchase commitments resulted from the event,” says Kirk Leeds, chief executive officer of the Iowa Soybean Association. “The point of the event was to cultivate relationships with our customers, including China, and show purchasers the unrivaled U.S. transportation system.”
In the last marketing year, the United States exported about 1.8 billion bushels of soy, valued at $23 billion. Checkoff-funded efforts have helped turn China into the biggest international destination for U.S. soy. Customers in China bought 850 million bushels of U.S. soy last year, or more than one out of every four rows grown.
“The United States continues to export so many soy products because our customers recognize the strength of our delivery system and the quality of our soybeans,” says Danny Murphy, ASA president. “These agreements certainly prove the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange was a success.”
The 69 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.
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