USSEC event in Mexico attracts more than 80 buyers from Latin America
More than 80 buyers from across Latin America met on Sept. 13-14 in Guadalajara, Mexico for the Americas Agricultural Cooperators Conference hosted by the U.S. Soy Export Council (USSEC). These farm product buyers came to hear U.S. farmer leaders talk about crop quality, sustainability, technology, animal nutrition and more.
“When you buy U.S. Soy, you are accessing healthy soils thanks to many on-farm practices including no-till, soil sampling, prescriptive applications, cover crops and selecting the right seed for the right acre,” said USEC CEO Jim Sutter in his welcome remarks.
He also highlighted that when importers buy U.S. Soy, they are accessing precision technology, reliable infrastructure, verified sustainability and technical expertise.
“Through technology, capacity building and knowledge exchange, we are enabling more protein for more people and improving food security,” Sutter said. “And our farmers are growing Sustainable U.S. Soy using nature-positive practices for a climate-smart agriculture.”
The hybrid conference, with both in-person and virtual attendees, was produced in a partnership with the U.S. Wheat Association and USA Rice. Conference attendees represented 11 countries.
According to USSEC, the Americas region is home to 303 million people and represents 6 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product with an average GDP growth of 3.5 percent. Mexico and Canada are key stable markets; and Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela are key growth markets for U.S. soybeans, USSEC added. The other countries are stable markets, although U.S. soybean farmers face added competition from South American soy producers.
“Markets for soybean meal and soybean oil are growing in the Americas,” said Indiana Soybean Alliance CEO Courtney Kingery, who represented the Hoosier soy growers at the conference. “The Americas region continues to be good trading partners, dependent on imports of grains and oilseeds as the demand for meat, poultry and eggs continues to increase.”
On the first day, a farmer-leader discussion panel topped the agenda. The panel included USSEC Vice Chair Doug Winter, a farmer from Illinois; American Soybean Association (ASA) Vice President Brad Doyle, a farmer from Arkansas, and USSEC Americas Regional Director Carlos Salinas.
The panel said U.S. soybean growers anticipate near-record yields despite unseasonably cold weather early in the growing season. Farmers are feeling pressure on profits, the panel explained, due to increasing fertilizer costs. Each speaker added that most U.S. farmers re-invest their money back into their land to improve soil health and plan for future generations.
Later that day, ASA Director Stan Born, also an Illinois soybean grower, described how important applying new technology is to U.S. farmers. “What we do as soybean farmers in the U.S. will impact you as customers,” Born told the buyers.
He said technology enables farmers to preserve crop quality and protect resources. Born added that new technology can be found in traditional farm practices such as soil sampling, nutrient management and water management.
On Sept. 14, Granelcorp CEO Alvaro Gonzalez covered the topic of U.S. soybean export logistic advantages. Gonzalez said U.S. exports provide consistent soybean quality, efficiencies of scale and loading, and value for international buyers. Granelcorp is a supply chain solutions provider to buyers of U.S. soybeans in the Americas region.
The last day wrapped up with Kingery moderating a panel on soybean and rice sustainability. The panelists included USSEC Sustainability Director Abby Rinne (virtually); April Hemmes, USB Director from Iowa; Steve Linscombe, Director of the Rice Foundation; and USSEC Regional Marketing Specialist Luis Bustamante. The panelists spoke about how sustainability must be environmentally and financially beneficial before practices would be widely adopted. For the panelists, sustainability is about doing more with less: Feeding more people with fewer inputs, less water, less costs.