International Opportunities for U.S. Soy

Updated: January 23, 2017

Current Situation

Global population and economies continue to grow. According to the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in less than 30 years, the world’s population will reach an estimated 9 billion people. As more people reach the middle class, they are demanding more protein. This has translated into a need for quality, reliable animal – and aquaculture – feed ingredients, including soybean meal. But it’s not just production of animal and aquaculture feed that is increasing – demand for soybean oil and whole soybeans is also growing with the population. It’s important for the United States to remain the preferred supplier of soybeans as global competition continues to increase.

Why the Checkoff Cares

Currently, more than half of U.S. soy is exported either as whole soybeans, meal or oil. China alone imports more than 25 percent of all U.S. soy. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, global demand for soybeans reached more than 315 million metric tons in the 2015/16 marketing year and is estimated to grow to more than 400 million metric tons by 2026.

Key Points

  • Thanks to consistent quality and a reliable transportation system, the U.S. soy industry is positioned to be a top supplier for the world.
  • U.S. soy’s sustainability has been proven, showing that it fills growing customer demand for sustainably sourced feed ingredients.
  • U.S. soy needs to continue to reach new markets and grow exports to our biggest end users in order to increase profitability for U.S. soybean farmers.

Facts & Figures

According to the U.S. Census Bureau for the 2015/2016 marketing year:

  • U.S. soybean farmers exported 2.37 billion bushel equivalents of soybeans.
  • U.S. soy exports were valued at more than $24.7 billion.
  • Exports included more than 1.93 billion bushels of whole soybeans, meal from 395 million bushels of soybeans and oil from 176.4 million bushels of soybeans.
  • U.S. soy exports accounted for nearly 59 percent of U.S. soy production.
  • Top buyers of whole U.S. soybeans in 2015/2016 included China, Mexico and Germany.
  • Top buyers of U.S. soybean meal in 2015/2016 included Mexico, the Philippines and Canada.
  • Top buyers of U.S. soybean oil in 2015/2016 included Mexico, the Dominican Republic and South Korea.

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