Soybean growers had the vision decades ago to invest internationally. At the Global Trade Exchange (GTE), held in August, Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), said the USSEC focuses on work in many countries around the world to improve nutrition and food security.
“As we choose which markets to work in and where we want to grow, we look for places with large populations, improving economic conditions [and] low per capita protein consumption,” said Sutter, “and that really gives us a good target for where our efforts can create good markets for U.S. soy, but also where the people in those markets can benefit from that.”
During a news conference at the GTE, Sutter explained that U.S. soybean growers touch 82 counties.
“We’re really trying to shape a preference for and driving value for U.S. soy,” he said, “and it’s been a key to the growth that we’ve seen happen in many of these markets. And we’re going to continue to focus our efforts on diversifying the markets that U.S. soy touches in the years to come.”
It’s partly because of this global reach, said Sutter, that soy consumption around the world is growing. “It’s now up to a million metric tons a day,” he said, referring to global soybean disappearance. “If you think about that, a million metric tons a day of soy gets consumed around the world.”
The list of key markets for U.S. soybeans includes many, and that list, featuring large and mature markets, along with new emerging markets, continues to grow, according to Sutter.
“China is our number one market but certainly we have many other important markets,” said Sutter. “The E.U. and Japan are longtime mature markets of ours; Mexico, a close neighbor, is an important market, Egypt, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, The Philippines, Vietnam, and I could on and on, in terms of naming markets.
Soy consumption is significant in many areas, but Sutter specifically directs attention to the growing market for farmed fish.
“Aquaculture is the fastest-growing type of protein produced that uses soy as a feed ingredient, and we now see more fish coming from farmed aquaculture, rather than wild catch,” Sutter said. “And we see that trend as something that will continue into the years to come.”