US soy sets export record in market year ending September

Farmer investments in international markets produced strong results in the 2017/2018 marketing year, despite trade dynamics developing as the export period closed
calendar icon 4 February 2019
clock icon 4 minute read

According to the US Census Bureau, US soybean farmers exported a record-breaking 2.6 billion bushels of US soy and soy products, valued at more than $28 billion last market year. The US also set a new record high in combined volume of the whole soybeans, soybean meal and soybean oil exported in 2017/2018, with soybean meal exports accounting for the greatest growth.

Derek Haigwood, a soybean farmer from Newport, Arkansas and chairman of US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and director for United Soybean Board (USB), said he expects to see the impact of trade issues in the next, 2018/2019, marketing year. The official marketing year runs from 1 October to 30 September. Exports during the 2017/2018 marketing year would not have been largely impacted by the tariffs introduced by China as shipments abroad normally take place after harvest (October-December).

USSEC recently initiated the “What it Takes” strategy to grow US soybean demand worldwide and mitigate export losses to China. The programme provides opportunities for industry experts and farmers to remind buyers about the intrinsic feed value of US soy, mainly its exceptional amino acid content, the nation’s reliable transportation system and sustainable farming practices.

“Particularly at a time when global trade flows have dramatically changed, it is critical that we ensure access in all markets that want to purchase US soybeans and soy products,” states Haigwood.

Keith Tapp, chair of USB and farmer from Sebree, Kentucky, says the dedication to opening new markets for soy has been and will remain a priority USB investment and support.

“Our work to build the preference for US soy is more important than ever,” he says. “Soy production is growing worldwide, and we continue to work across borders, industries and disciplines to find and develop markets for US soy products.”

In cooperation with USB and USSEC, the American Soybean Association (ASA) is a key partner in the collaboration to expand international markets for soy. ASA continues to advocate that President Donald Trump’s administration and Congress maintain current market access through passage of the USMCA as well as negotiate new free trade agreements to build additional market access for US soybeans.

“US soy is exported to more than 100 markets today,” Liz Hare, executive director of ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health programme (WISHH) says, “and there are opportunities in emerging markets with lots of room to grow.”

In 2017, the US soy industry launched an effort to shift a sizable portion of its efforts to markets where there is significant future potential due to factors such as large populations, improving economic conditions, and currently low per capita protein and oil consumption. As a result of the coordinated work by these three soy organisations through programmes such as WISHH and “What It Takes,” sizable export growth was seen in developing markets including Pakistan, Egypt and India. Globally, demand is forecasted to grow by about 15 million tonnes in 2019, according to economists at the USSEC.

Ryan Johnson

Editor at The Poultry Site

Ryan worked in conservation from 2008 to 2017, during which time he operated a rainbow trout hatchery and helped to maintain public and protected green spaces in Canada for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. As editor of The Poultry Site, he now writes about challenges and opportunities in agriculture across the globe.

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