ISA Chairman Douglas visits Colombia for ag trade mission
A delegation from the Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC) and the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) completed a successful trade mission to Colombia in late January that spanned three cities in five days. According to ISA Chairman Jim Douglas, having a good trade relationship with this country is important to Indiana.
“Colombia is close enough geographically to make trade economical,” he explained. “The larger countries such as Canada, Mexico and China gather most of the attention in terms of corn and soy trade, but after that comes a long list of smaller countries and Colombia is at the top of those markets.”
Douglas is correct. In fact, demand for Indiana grain products in the country has been steadily increasing since an ISA board trip in 2016, and it is expected to continue increasing by 3 percent every year going forward. While in the Colombian cities of Bogota, Medellin and Bucaramanga, the ISA group spoke to Colombian trade interests on a recently produced report titled Colombia 2040, which estimates Colombian demand for Indiana farm products in the future.
“In 2020, Colombia was the 11th largest market for ag exports, totaling 2.7 billion,” Douglas said. “In 2020, Colombia was the fourth-largest market for corn, thirdlargest market for soybean meal, and the seventh-largest market for U.S. pork. With these volumes expected to grow, we at Indiana Corn and Soybean feel that we’ll get an excellent return on our checkoff dollar.”
Investments in growing the Hoosier State’s connection to Colombia grew to more than $150,000 during fiscal year 2021, promoting Indiana livestock products, sponsoring research to increase U.S. soybean meal in aquaculture diets and continued focus on the benefits of U.S. soybean oil – specifically high oleic soybean oil – grown by Indiana farmers. As Covid restrictions relax, Douglas said more trips to Colombia will be practical and essential.
“Programs continue to bring home the message that the U.S. soybean brings more value, quality, and sustainable production practices than other competing origins,” he said.
Other than the demand information detailed in the Colombia 2040 report, ISA representatives shared information about the 2021 soybean crop – the product Colombia will be buying. In 2020, mycotoxins had been a slight concern for that year’s yield.
“Colombia is no different than any other feed manufacturer. Mycotoxin levels are always a concern,” Douglas said. “Producers use binding agents to counteract higher levels of mycotoxins, which creates an additional cost per ton of feed. Their climate probably accelerates the issue.”
Beyond 2030, Colombian demand will depend on the country’s livestock producers to create an export market of poultry and hog products. These animals are currently, and will continue, to be fed U.S. corn and soybeans. While those markets are trying to be established, Indiana livestock products, including duck, turkey and pork, are being sourced directly from Indiana. For example, brands such as Indiana Kitchen and Maple Leaf ducks can be found at Colombian supermarkets.