Southeast Asia, China recent targets for U.S. soy export efforts
By U.S. Soybean Export Council
The Indiana soybean industry crushes many soybeans for domestic needs, while also exporting soybeans and soy products to meet needs around the world. Indiana farmers benefit from the ripples created by every global commitment to purchase U.S. Soy, supporting the value of their soybean crop.
The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) constantly works to maintain and grow demand for U.S. Soy around the world, with support from the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA).
While crops matured and combines ran in Indiana fields, USSEC strengthened critical relationships with international customers.
Southeast Asia Agricultural Cooperators Conference
USSEC, U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Wheat Associates co-hosted the Southeast Asia U.S. Agricultural Cooperators Conference in Danang, Vietnam, in mid-September. The event welcomed customers from countries throughout the region to address global challenges like food security, sustainability and innovation.
The conference aimed to promote U.S. agricultural products and share the latest global market and industry information with attendees.
Carey McKibben, a farmer from LaGrange, Ind., currently serving as chair of ISA’s Market Development Committee, and Steve Phares, a farmer and ISA director from Albion, Ind., attended the conference. ISA market development staff Ed Ebert and Maggie Daily also attended as well as ISA Sustainability and Value Creation Consultant Dr. Scott Hutchins and ISA Chief Operating Officer Chantel Rammel.
Also from Indiana were Indiana Corn Market Council board members Mike Beard, a farmer from Frankfort, Ind., and David Ring, a farmer from Huntingburg, Ind. Indiana Corn Growers Association President Scott Smith, a farmer from Windfall, Ind., also participated.
Throughout the conferences, they networked with customers, answering questions about U.S. Soy and the Indiana and U.S. soybean crop.
Based on participant evaluations, customers and U.S. exporters transacted and negotiated 1.7 million metric tons of U.S. agricultural products at the conference. This includes about 370,000 metric tons of soybeans, 445,000 metric tons of soybean meal, 277,000 metric tons of corn, 394,000 metric tons of dried distiller grains with solubles (DDGS) and 234,000 metric tons of wheat.
Plus, the event reaffirmed a commitment from the United States to foster growth in Southeast Asia, projected to remain one of the world’s fastest-growing areas. Nations like Vietnam and Indonesia rank among the top seafood producers, making the region a key player in global aquaculture.
U.S. Soy supplies a more sustainable source of protein for many aquafeeds, helping meet the growing demand for seafood.
Shifting dynamics in our soybean market will also allow the United States to export more soybean meal to this region. Crushing plant expansions in the Northern Plains will produce more soybean oil for the renewable fuels industry, while making more soybean meal available for both domestic and international customers. Trains will ship soybean meal to the Pacific Northwest for export.
While that is not an economical path for exporting soy products from Indiana, it does position U.S. Soy to compete more effectively with soybean meal from Argentina and meal from other origins. Growth from these efforts will support global demand that Indiana farmers will help meet.
China/U.S. Sustainable Agricultural Trade Forum
In October, just before the World Food Prize Foundation’s 2023 Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa, USSEC and USCG worked with the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-products and other groups to organize a trade forum and signing ceremony.
During the event, several Chinese agricultural companies and U.S. exporters signed11 purchase agreements or contracts.
A participating USDA representative said the contracts allow U.S. farmers to invest and foster innovation to sustainably intensify production to deliver nutrition and food security.
U.S. exporters involved in the purchase agreements included ADM and Bunge, notable soybean buyers in Indiana. Soybeans continue to be the top food and agricultural export from the U.S. to China. U.S. Soy has collaborated with China since 1982, and Indiana farmers have been part of efforts to build, maintain and strengthen that relationship over time.
Indiana soybeans may go to China, Indonesia, Vietnam or places in Southeast Asia. Or they may be used domestically. Either way, the commitments to buy U.S. Soy made at these and other events support the value of the 5.83 million acres of soybeans harvested in Indiana in 2023.