Study shows animal ag's demand for soybeans is growing

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U.S. animal agriculture’s consumption of U.S. soybean meal increased by 1 million tons, or the meal from 42 million bushels of soybeans, in the 2011/12 marketing year, according to a soy-checkoff-funded report. This is good news for soybean farmers since domestic animal agriculture uses about 97 percent of the U.S. soybean meal consumed in the United States.

Despite this welcomed increase, the report concluded that U.S. soybean farmers shouldn’t let their support for the animal ag industry weaken. Animal ag farmers face pressures like rising feed costs and dwindling U.S.- consumer demand. Because animal ag continues to be U.S. soybean farmers’ No. 1 customer, these pressures also threaten the profitability of all soybean farmers, the report said.

“The success of the U.S. soybean industry relies on the strength of the U.S. animal agriculture industry,” says Mike Beard, a checkoff farmer-leader who grows soybeans and raises hogs on his farm in Frankfort, Ind. “The best way we can support our customers and ensure they remain competitive is with better-quality soybeans.”

The report, titled the National Animal Agriculture Economic Analysis, also outlined the economic benefits the poultry and livestock sectors provide at the state and national levels. In 2012, animal ag provided the following benefits to the national economy:

  • Support for 1.8 million jobs
  • $346 billion in total economic output
  • A $60 billion impact on household incomes
  • $21 billion in income and property taxes paid

Read about animal ag’s economic benefits for each state in the full report.

According to the study, U.S. poultry, livestock and fish farmers used more than 30 million tons of soybean meal in the time period measured, or the meal from more than 1.26 billion bushels of U.S. soybeans. Broilers and swine continue to be by far the two biggest soybean-meal consumers. The meal consumption per species breaks down as follows:

  • Broiler chickens: the meal from about 476 million bushels of U.S. soybeans
  • Hogs: the meal from about 410 million bushels
  • Laying hens: the meal from 84 million bushels
  • Turkeys: the meal from more than 75 million bushels
  • Other: the meal from about 217 million bushels

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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