More Meat and Poultry Exports Equal More Value for U.S. Soy


Good business people always take care of their customers, especially their No. 1 customers.

That’s why the soy checkoff supports U.S. poultry and livestock farmers by promoting U.S. meat, milk and eggs in other countries. Animal ag consumes nearly 98 percent of U.S. soy meal, and these programs help maintain U.S. soybean farmers’ biggest market.

The soy checkoff worked with state soybean boards and the United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to enhance promotional efforts for U.S. pork in markets such as Japan, Mexico and South Korea. During this time, USMEF introduced pork back ribs into Japan. These efforts helped boost Japanese consumption of that single cut of U.S. pork from zero to 4.5 million pounds over a three-year span.

Checkoff-supported programs that promote broiler chickens in the Middle East and Azerbaijan have helped USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) and the U.S. poultry industry achieve an improved market mix. In 2009, the top two export markets represented more than 40 percent of total broiler exports. In 2012, the top four markets constituted less than 40 percent of broiler exports.

Projects like these allow U.S. soybean farmers to support their biggest customers while beefing up their own bottom lines.

“Exporting meat and poultry is a big issue for U.S. soybean farmers,” says John Butler, a soy checkoff farmer-leader who grows soybeans and raises beef cattle in Dyersburg, Tenn.

“If we can feed animals soybeans here and sell them abroad, we’re creating a value-added product. Adding that value here has a tremendous positive impact on not only the U.S. soy industry but the national economy as well.”

2012 Broke Records

Last year, broiler and turkey exports hit 3.7 million metric tons, valued at nearly $4.9 billion. U.S. pork export volume reached 2.3 million metric tons, valued at $6.3 billion. Both of these figures broke value and volume records set in 2011.

Among all animals, poultry and swine eat the most U.S. soy meal. U.S. poultry and hogs ate meal from more than 900 million bushels of meal between them last year.

2013 Looks Promising

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently raised its 2013 forecast for pork and poultry exports, anticipating greater shipments of pork and poultry. This means continued markets for poultry and livestock farmers and continued demand for U.S. soy.

To learn more about why soybean farmers should support their biggest customers beyond the elevator, visit