New opportunities and renewed optimism for U.S. Soy
We saw tremendous new opportunities to expand and build new partnerships around the world. We saw strong enthusiasm and demand for U.S. Soy’s unique value proposition. And, after hosting 530 virtual meetings, events, workshops and seminars since the beginning of the pandemic, we saw many customers, prospects and partners face-to-face (safely, of course) for the first time in a long time.
GTE, the signature event hosted annually by the U.S. Soybean Export Council and the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance, provided invaluable opportunities to establish and build relationships with U.S. Soy customers around the world. With 1,172 attendees, including 318 in-person, we put the spotlight on U.S. Soy’s key differentiators. Attendees also heard updates on what is shaping up to be an excellent harvest, and insights in key areas such as supply and demand, sustainability and on-farm best management practices.
On the demand side, we see tremendous potential in many areas, including aquaculture, and continued growth for protein from livestock.
Experts forecast aquaculture production for human consumption will exceed 100 million tons within the next five years, and soy is poised to harness that demand increase. Meanwhile, as U.S. demand for soybean oil is projected to grow significantly for renewable fuels, we anticipate increased supplies of soybean meal that will make its way to world markets. Our team has spent significant time and energy promoting the value of meal produced from U.S. Soy and training users how to develop rations that take advantage of the amino acid concentration, increased digestibility, and improved energy levels. This positions U.S. Soy as a desirable product, which will bode well when more meal is available for export.
USSEC supports and invests in these growth areas, digging in with aquaculture and animal protein industry customers around the world to fully understand their specific needs and goals, then providing the right expertise to help them build their industries. These efforts, along with ongoing education on the key advantages of U.S. Soy (high quality, verified sustainable and an excellent nutrient profile) help us establish mutually beneficial partnerships that drive demand for U.S. Soy.
For example, the aquaculture industry has benefited from USSEC’s pioneering In-Pond Raceway Systems (IPRS), which enable more efficient and sustainable production in countries such as Vietnam and China. And in Egypt, we helped the local crushing industry dramatically increase production, with efforts leading to increased imports of U.S. Soy from 1 MMT in 2017 to 3.9 MMT in 2020, rising to become the third-largest global market.
These initiatives and many more fuel our efforts to diversify and expand markets in areas such as the European Union, Middle East, North Africa and South and Southeast Asia. While our approach differs based on region and customer needs, our strategy is always the same: build long-term relationships that benefit all parties. This being our customers, our customers’ customers and the producers and exporters of U.S. Soy.
The overall impact of these efforts can be seen in a very promising outlook for U.S. exports. Soybean shipments in 2020/21 set a new record, surpassing 60 MMT and the world is looks forward to securing supplies from the 2021 crop.
GTE was a tremendous opportunity to share our ongoing spirit of partnership with customers around the world. We look forward to many more fruitful discussions in the year ahead, and with any luck, more safe face-to-face connections in the months to come.