USSEC fills essential role of maintaining global soybean demand

January 19, 2024

Six out of every ten rows of U.S. soybeans are exported. Demand is good, but maintaining that demand takes constant attention. The farmer checkoff-funded and led U.S. Soybean Export Council, commonly known by the acronym USSEC, which has staff around the globe who take care of soybean export demand. Among the U.S. soybean growers overseeing the organization is its chairman, Stan Born.

“It’s critically important that we’re out there meeting with customers, helping understand the difference of U.S. soy and helping them utilize it to its fullest capacity,” said Born, who farms in central Illinois.

USSEC’s mission, according to Born, is to elevate, equip, and help drive market access for soybean customers in different regions around the world.

“We differentiate by helping people understand the differences between U.S. soy and other types of origins. We elevate by providing them with tools so that they can effectively use our product,” explained Born, “and we help them access through market access issues to ensure that they have free flow and availability of our products into their markets.”

Born characterizes the global soybean market as “pretty robust.” There are about 400 million metric tons of soybeans produced around the world, with about three quarters of those being exported to one customer or another. China’s the biggest of those customers. Soybean demand, said Born, is driven by the need for protein in human diets.

“As different areas increase their economies, people want a different kind of food; they want to move from a carbohydrate-based diet to a protein-rich diet and that’s where we come in,” he said. “In growing economies, [there’s an] increased need for protein, better health of communities, we’re there to provide that and fill that need with U.S. soy for protein.”

To show foreign customers what sets U.S. soybeans apart from its competitors’ soybeans, Born has visited the far corners of the earth.

“There are differences that we can help show you and tools that we can give you to help you put a value on the difference between U.S. soy and a source of other origin, so that we can deliver the lowest cost out the door to you,” Born pointed out. “Not the lowest initial purchase price, but the lowest cost utilization per kilogram of nutrition that you can get.”