The global marketplace is changing daily, and U.S. farmers are increasingly focused on marketing strategies that will build international demand and preference for U.S. products. 

Recently farmer-leaders of the United Soybean Board’s International Marketing Committee and American Soybean Association’s Trade, Policy and International Affairs Committee met  to discuss future international marketing efforts and determine budget allocations for the 2010 fiscal year. Currently, soy exports represent 46 percent of U.S. soybean production.

These groups also met with the United States Soybean Export Council, the international marketing contractor for USB and the soybean checkoff. The two committees divided the projected budget among the Commodity Marketing, Value Enhanced and Global Affairs target areas.

Key information from the country directors’ presentations included:

  • U.S. soy exports are on track to set records for both volume and value this marketing year.
  • Economic growth in developing countries such as China and India are quickly increasing demand for food, feed, and fuel.
  • Opportunities are increasing for exports of U.S. value-added soy products such as soy protein concentrates, soy flour, and packaged soy products.
  • The U.S. soybean sector must not only compete for export markets, but also for production resources in the United States. Development, recreation, conservation and other crops all compete for land to an extent that our competitors do not face.
  • The competitive pressure between acres for corn and all other row crops will likely cause soybean prices to be volatile.
  • As biodiesel production continues to expand there will be increased volumes of soybean meal available, which raises the need to develop demand for U.S. soybean meal in export markets.
  • A weak U.S. dollar makes U.S. soybean meal more affordable. It is imperative that whenever international feed millers or integrators are exposed to U.S. soybean meal, they fully experience the value of U.S. soybean meal in terms of both quality and technical servicing.
  • This marketing year also saw a surge in U.S. soybean oil exports. The U.S. soy industry needs to capitalize on this surge when new customers are exposed to U.S. soybean oil and find ways to keep these customers for the long term.

A key area to which additional checkoff funding is proposed to go is the global aquaculture industry, which has been increasing by 9 percent to 11 percent per year. Global demand for cultured aquatic products is expected to grow well into the future because the world’s population is expected to increase. In fact, 40 to 50 million metric tons of additional aquaculture production will be needed by 2050.

Two other promising growth markets are Latin America and Southeast Asia. The Latin American region is a key strategic market for U.S. soy as it is the largest export market for both soybean meal and soybean oil and the second largest market for U.S. soybeans. Southeast Asia has been a large growth market. Most of this increase is in poultry and livestock feed production, which is growing by 5 percent to 10 percent annually. Over the past five years overall soy import demand has grown 21 percent with soybean meal imports increasing by 46 percent.

Source: United Soybean Board