Trade Partnership Highlight: Chile

July 5, 2023

Tim Ostrem traveled on a June trade mission to Chile to show appreciation for that South American country’s purchase of U.S. soybeans. Ostrem, whose three three-year terms as a South Dakota Soybean Checkoff director ended June 30th, says the trip was made to reinforce Chile’s trade relationship with U.S. soybean farmers.

“AGP was able to sell three cargoes of soybean meal to Chile – equivalent to 150 [thousand] metric tons – for the first time out of the PNW (Pacific Northwest),” the Centerville farmer told the South Dakota Soybean Network after his return from Chile. “We were really excited about that, and so we wanted to go down and meet the purchasers of that and thank them for it and also to meet with other companies in Chile that are producing salmon, pork or chicken.”

In addition to visiting the Chilean port where the U.S. soybean meal arrived, Ostrem and two other U.S. soybean farmers visited Agrosuper, the Chile-based company that had purchased the soybean meal. “We went to their headquarters where they actually process all of the hogs that they raise. They’re all vertically integrated. They farrow, they raise and finish the hogs, they process the hogs and then they market the meat in local grocery stores and feature them in the stores,” he said. “And so, it’s a vibrant economy for the livestock down there and we’re excited to try to be part of that.”

Although Brazil’s latest soybean harvest set records, a drought disaster in Argentina shortened its soybean crop, prompting Chile to consider other sources of soybean meal for their livestock production industry, according to Ostrem. “Luckily, AGP was able to get their foot in the door with some of these companies, especially Agrosuper. They each said, ‘You know what, we can make this work,’ so they made the sale,” said Ostrem. “That’s the kind of relationship we’ve had, but once you’ve made that relationship, once you’ve made that sale, now that foretells maybe future sales going forward. They don’t only look at just Argentina and Brazil as their only way of getting soybean meal, they can get it from other places. And we can do it quickly out of the PNW.”