AGRICULTURE

Iowa Soybean Association doing its part to keep U.S. soy on top

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Farm Forum

Iowa leads the nation in soybean production and the U.S. currently leads the world in that category as well as in soy exports, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Two of the largest growing international markets for U.S. soybeans and soy byproducts have been the Philippines and Vietnam. To ensure that this connection remains strong, members of the Iowa Soybean Association, including director Rolland Schnell, farmers and state officials visited those counties and talked with both customers and government officials.

Schnell, a resident of Newton, spoke about the trip and the perception he got from the customers in a release from ISA.

“They made it clear that, when it comes down to the bottom line, it is the competitiveness of our soybeans. They prefer our beans, but they are not going to pay a large premium for them,” Schnell said. “With that in mind, we need to work with them and show them that our beans are superior and more dependable than South American beans.”

Recently, the U.S. has been facing stiff competition for soy exports, specifically from some South American countries, most notably Argentina and Brazil.

According to the USDA, the U.S. produced 85 million metric tons this year, but Brazil is expected to yield a little more than 88 million metric tons when the country has its soy harvest season, which begins in 2014. USDA also projects Argentina to produce 53.3 million metric tons for its harvest.

ISA sees the looming threat to U.S. exports coming from the south, which is why it has been proactive with the visits to the Philippines and Vietnam and have made these trips annually for the last several years.

One guaranteed stop in the Philippines is La Filipina Uy Gongco Corporation, the largest importer of U.S. soymeal according to ISA. La Filipina imported 270,000 metric tons of soymeal in 2012, 300,000 metric tons this year and ISA said in the future the company wants to up that amount to 340,000 metric tons.

Gerald Uygonco, a representative of La Filipina, told ISA why the company still choses to work with U.S. soymeal versus that of competing countries.

“We have proven that U.S. soybean meal works better than any other meal out in the world, and that farmers can actually earn more by using U.S. soybean meal compared to other meals,” Uygonco said. “Since we have proven that to them, we have been growing because all of our customers have been seeing the results.”