The United States is the world’s leading single producer and exporter of soybeans, but foreign soybean production and exports have grown fast for the last several years. Brazil and Argentina together now make up more than half of the soybean export market. They have each surpassed the United States in soy meal and soy oil exports.
As the U.S continues to face uncertainty in several of its top export markets, trade is top of mind for many producers. Soybean grower and United Soybean Board Director for Missouri, Meagan Kaiser reiterated the sentiment.
“Trade is always important to producers. It’s what drives the prices,” she said.
She said the USB’s soy checkoff focuses a lot on how to differentiate U.S. soy on a global scale.
“We have the U.S. Soybean Export Council, which partners with the American Soybean Association. They do a great job for us with developing new areas. Aquaculture is a booming area and increasing our exports,” Kaiser explained. “Obviously, we have pork and chicken that we continue to want to feed as many as possible and we’re constantly looking for new ways to build demand internationally.”
Kaiser points out, a major component to keeping U.S. trade competitive is infrastructure.
“And making sure that the soy and corn that I grow on my farm can get to the global marketplace as quickly and environmentally efficiently as possible,” she said. “As the United Soybean Board, we’re really placing a bigger focus on infrastructure and trying to figure out what’s the information that we can provide that really moves the needle in developing and maintaining our inland waterway infrastructure.”
For her farm, she says she has a few main areas of concern when it comes to infrastructure.
“There’s two things that we’re really looking at. One is, what does dredging do in the lower Mississippi for all U.S. soy producers. The Soy Transportation Coalition just released a study that really shows the impact of (improving) our waterways and making sure the ships can come in a little bit further and what that means to the bushel price on our farm,” she explained.
Kaiser said the other aspect is making sure the locks and dams stay open for business.
“What the checkoff focuses on is making sure that the information needed to make sure that those things happen, or the information that is needed to make those decisions is sound and based on science,” she said. “Then we leave it up to the decision makers from there.”