Research HighlightsKentucky’s checkoff dollars boost programs
If you’re like most Kentucky soybean farmers, you’re aware of your investment in the Kentucky soybean checkoff. As you know, your checkoff dollars work to improve soybean profitability not just in Kentucky but throughout the U.S., as well as overseas. In 2013, U.S. soybean growers harvested 3.289 billion bushels, the third largest soybean crop on record. Last year, U.S. soy farmers exported 1.72 billion bushels of soy and soy products, valued at $28.2 billion, including 1.32 billion bushels of soybeans, 365 million bushels of soybean meal and 36 million bushels of soybean oil.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how the Kentucky checkoff invested your 2013 dollars in international programs that work to promote the utilization of U.S. soy around the world and help increase dividends for American soybean farmers.
In 2013, Kentucky checkoff dollars helped to fund four international aquaculture programs in Southeast Asia:
- Aqua Feeding Demonstrations in China
- Regional Meeting Focusing on Water Body Quality in Thailand
- Grain Transportation Conference in Indonesia
- Southeast Asia Aquaculture Marine Producers and Seafood Stakeholders Visit to Chinese Markets.
Aqua Feeding Demonstrations in China
This project, co-funded by the Kentucky Soybean Board and the Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board, spanned the entire 2013 calendar year and involved ten on-farm freshwater fish and five marine fish and shrimp feeding demonstrations conducted in eight target provinces in China to demonstrate the economic, sustainability, environmental and food safety advantages of soy feed-based production technologies and soy-based feeds. China’s aquaculture industry currently lacks an understanding of production technologies which prevents the industry from having the most economic and sustainable production outcomes, so these feeding demonstrations were conducted in cooperation with national and regional extension agencies to maximize the exposure of technologies and feeds to the Chinese aquaculture industry.
China’s aquaculture industry, the largest in the world, started from a base of zero just twenty years ago. Since then, the utilization of soybean meal in aquaculture rations has grown to more than seven million metric tons with continued room for significant growth within the utilization of soy by Chinese fresh water and marine production. The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC)’s technology, Intensive Pond Aquaculture (IPA), helps to address key issues such as increasing pond yields while preserving water quality to help boost the profitability of the aquaculture sector in China.
Water Body Quality Regional Meeting in Thailand
A regional meeting focusing on water body quality was held from June 10-13, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand, bringing together government regulators and industry officials from target Southeast Asian nations. This meeting provided an opportunity for local officials to learn about current commercial models available in the aquaculture industry for managing aquaculture loading on common water bodies such as lakes, reservoirs, rivers and marine bays. Fish and shrimp farmers, along with aquafeed millers in Southeast Asia often lack sufficient knowledge of how to improve the genetic quality of their stock, how to effectively identify and treat diseases and how to properly manage water quality. Training farmers in these technologies will improve industry productivity, reduce the use of drugs and chemicals that are food safety hazards and lead to increase use of quality feeds made with U.S. soy products. This was the first such seminar to be held in the region on this subject and the first that gathered together a body of key individuals to discuss these issues and agree on solutions.
Soy Business Partners Program Holds Grain Transportation Conference in Indonesia
The 7th Annual Grain Transportation Conference was held from May 19-21, 2013 in Bali, Indonesia. The conference drew 120 participants, representing over 75 companies involved in all aspects of agribusiness, from across Southeast Asia. The seminar largely focused on grain logistics, port development, and freight outlook on container and bulk shipments of agricultural products. Kentucky soybean farmer and USSEC Chairman Randy Mann gave a presentation titled “U.S. Soybean Crop Prospects for 2014.” Workshops on price and risk management, procurement strategies, understanding trade contracts, and maintaining quality of agri-products in containers were also featured. Participants were provided with the latest insights and expert opinions on the market. Seventeen companies indicated that they concluded trades on U.S. soy products; 775,000 metric tons of U.S. commodities were transacted in and around this event totaling an estimated $267 million with the majority consisting of U.S. soybeans and soybean meal.
The goal of this activity is to continue to develop a knowledgeable customer base aware of the advantages of importing soy products from the U.S. in terms of better quality, efficient handling and logistics, and reliable counterparties. The Soy Business Partners program is specifically designed to engage importers and exporters of agricultural commodities by providing a conducive location, environment, and/or platform for USSEC and its soy cooperators to deliver market information and analyses, price and production outlook, and other pertinent subjects related to the supply chain. Providing value-added services to buyers of U.S. soy and soy products helps USSEC to position itself to build or instigate strategic business partnerships and programs geared at building preference and volume for U.S. soy and soy products.
Southeast Asia Aquaculture Marine Producers and Seafood Stakeholders Visit Chinese Markets
A group of eight Southeast Asian marine fish aquaculture producers and seafood stakeholders visited the southern Chinese cities of Guangzhou, Zhenjiang and Hong Kong from May 5-10, 2013. This team met with target Chinese markets to learn more about the Chinese and Hong Kong seafood markets. The Southeastern Asian marine fish farming sector’s poor understanding of the Chinese market stemmed from a lack of knowledge of how to market cultured seafood products to China and the types of seafood desired by Chinese consumers.
During this visit, the producers and stakeholders from Southeast Asia exchanged information and made personal connections with Chinese government representatives. In addition, there were able to gather information about the Chinese seafood market chain and learn how they could best educate fish farmers from their regions about marketing options to expand marine fish production opportunities.
The study tour provided participants with not only an increased understanding of the Chinese seafood market but also gave them information that will allow more targeted aquaculture production to meet these market demands, with a long term goal of making real changes in future aquaculture production and seafood sales approaches. Team members remarked that this trip increased their understanding of USSEC’s work in Southeast Asia’s aquaculture industry and the importance of U.S. soy to continue the industry’s growth.
Kentucky Checkoff Dollars are Working Worldwide
The U.S. is poised to grow market share by providing quality, high performing soy products delivered by the most reliable and consistent soy supply chain in the world. Almost 57% of soy grown in the U.S. is exported and exports will account for nearly two-thirds of all soy sales in the next few years. With 96% of the world’s consumers living outside the U.S., your checkoff dollars create and enhance programs such as these to help build a demand for U.S. soy worldwide. In the next 30 years, the world will need to feed nine billion people, with a growing middle class causing increased demand for high value protein at a reasonable cost. Serving 70 countries around the world, U.S. soy is already making a difference in human and animal health and is vastly improving the health of the global population.
This project was funded by the soybean checkoff. To find research related to this research highlight or to see other checkoff research projects, please visit the National Soybean Checkoff Research Database.