ST LOUIS — This week the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) hosted more than 1,600 global customers and soybean industry representatives from 84 countries. The two-day global digital event, The U.S. Soy Connection: Global Digital Conference and Situation Report, highlighted to international customers the strength of U.S. soybean farmers and the soybean value chain. In providing nutrition and information to customers of U.S. Soy at this critical time, U.S. Soy remains open for business despite uncertainty due to the novel COVID-19 virus.
“The value of our partnerships is immeasurable, not only for soy, but for the world at large. Our collaboration across U.S. agriculture will help provide the global market with a stable supply of high-quality products and support,” said Monte Peterson, Chairman of USSEC, board member of the American Soybean Association and soybean farmer in Valley City, N.D. “By hosting events like this, we can address our partners’ concerns and learn directly about their challenges. And as we move ahead into the 2020 planting season and beyond, U.S. soybean farmers are committed to provide a sustainable crop and serve as a consistent supplier to our customers.”
Sessions were held over two days and noteworthy speakers included Thomas Mielke, Executive Director of ISTA Mielke Oil World, Emily French, Managing Director at ConsiliAgra, Soren Schroder, Former CEO of Bunge Limited, several USSEC board members and U.S. exporters from across the country.
“Throughout the conference, we showcased that despite the global impact of coronavirus, the supply of U.S. Soy remains unwavering,” said Jim Sutter, USSEC CEO. “During this unique time, our priority is containing the outbreak and ensuring that all members of the soy value chain are safe. USSEC will continue to work tirelessly to show our partners that our entire supply chain is working to ensure a sustainably and safely produced, reliable supply of soy for global customers. It’s imperative that we also provide them with practical information about the global/U.S. market that they rely on from our USSEC events around the world.”
On April 14 attendees heard from globally recognized experts who discussed U.S. soybean trends and the impact that COVID-19 is having on the industry.
Highlights from Day 1:
Thomas Mielke, Executive Director of ISTA Mielke Oil World, discussed COVID-19’s impact on global oilseed supply and demand.
“The Chinese soybean crush has exceeded expectations in the first half of this crop year 2019/20 and domestic soybean meal demand has actually started to increase from a year ago. In China, imports of soybeans are recovering. They increased significantly by approximately eight million tons from a year ago to 37.4 million tons in Oct./Feb. 2019/20, of which 12.8 million tons of U.S. soybeans against the unusually low quantity of only one million tons a year earlier. We expect China to resume purchases of U.S soybeans in the coming weeks while Brazil exports (after record shipments in March and April) will start declining from May onward. Total Chinese soybean imports are set to recover to 91 million tons in Oct./Sept. 2019/20, of which include 21 million tons from the U.S. and 58 million tons from Brazil.”
Emily French, Managing Director at ConsiliAgra, reported on the impact of several severe black swan events and their effect on the global soy complex.
“There’s no question that it’s agriculture that makes the world go around. Global agriculture continues to do what it does best, and that is feed and nurture the world. As we move through COVID-19, the value of free and reciprocal trade has never been more evident.”
On April 15, industry leaders and U.S. soybean farmers reported on their plans for 2020 planting. In addition, several U.S. exporters hosted a panel discussion to give an update on logistics and export demand.
Highlights from Day 2:
Soren Schroder, Former CEO of Bunge Limited, presented on the reliability and innovation of U.S agriculture.
“Disruptions can take many forms for crops such as the global crisis that we’re experiencing now. The U.S. capacity runs on all coasts with highly efficient multi-modal interior logistic systems which ensure a continuous supply; this makes the U.S. export infrastructure very flexible. Both interior and export terminals are highly automated making them more resilient. In short, the U.S. supply chain can be relied upon like no other.”
Doug Winter, U.S. Soybean Export Council Vice Chairman and United Soybean Board Director; U.S. soybean farmer from Illinois
“U.S. Soy benefits buyers around the world by making more of an effective effort toward satisfying the needs of our international customers. The communication around marketing, the quality of crop and learning the needs of our buyers all work together to help us as farmers support our customers and make better decisions. Whether meeting in person or virtually, it helps us align on a common goal to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of soy.”
Joel Schreurs, Director, U.S. Soybean Export Council and American Soybean Association; U.S. soybean farmer from Minnesota
“Technology makes us considerably more efficient. Every two-and-a-half-acre parcel of land on our farm has a different prescription as far as what fertilizer is needed and what the crop itself will utilize. We maintain records each year to learn how to be better stewards of the land, which benefits the environment and enhances our yields for the future.”
In order to allow participants from multiple time zones to participate in this event, the presentations were repeated twice within each 24-hour period. Click here to learn more and/or request a recording of the conference.
— The U.S. Soybean Export Council