Farmers meet with hundreds of international buyers

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Farm Forum

MINNEAPOLIS – More than 300 international soy buyers visited the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” recently to learn about some of U.S. soy’s bestselling points. The third annual U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Minneapolis drew representatives of major international companies in countries such as China, Korea, India and many others.

“As the world’s population continues to grow, so does the preference for U.S. soybeans,” says Bob Haselwood, soybean farmer from Kansas and United Soybean Board (USB) chairman. “This event gives U.S. soybean farmers and the U.S. soy industry a platform to prove that we are committed to providing our international customers with a sustainable, high-quality product. The importance of these relationships is immeasurable.”

International representatives committed to buy more than $5 billion worth of U.S. soy combined during the first two U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchanges in 2013 in Davenport, Iowa, and in 2014 in Milwaukee.

In the most recent marketing year, U.S. soybean farmers exported over 2 billion bushels of U.S. soy, valued at more than $30 billion. They’ve exported more than 1.8 million bushels of U.S. soybeans so far this marketing year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

USB, the American Soybean Association (ASA), the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the Midwest Shippers Association co-sponsored the event. Besides meeting with farmer-leaders, attendees also attended a variety of presentations to learn about the benefits of U.S. soybeans, including how the sustainability and quality separate them from the competition.

“This event gives international customers an inside look of how U.S. soybeans stack up against the competition,” Haselwood says. “This experience shows them that we offer a product that not only has a consistent quality and is grown responsibly, but will also get to them in a timely manner. It’s what sets us apart from the competition.”

The 70 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit www.unitedsoybean.org