President Barack Obama is visiting Japan to strengthen trade relations, a move supported by the United Soybean Board.
"I commend President Obama for working to strengthen U.S.-Japanese trade relations," said USB Chairman Phil Bradshaw, a soybean farmer from Griggsville, Ill. "Soybeans rank as the number one U.S. ag export and make a large net contribution to the U.S. agricultural trade balance."
Last year Japan bought 86 million bushels of soybeans from the U.S. and 14 million bushels of soybean meal from the U.S. Agricultural exports contributed $40 billion to U.S.-Japanese trade in 2009.
The U.S. and Japan have a 54-year relationship that began in 1956 when a team of Japanese soybean industry representatives visited the U.S. That relationship has been maintained by the U.S. Soybean Export Council, using soybean checkoff funding, and the U.S. today has more than a 70% marketshare of soybeans imported by Japan.
Recently, a delegation of soybean farmers, including Bradshaw, met with Japanese importers and buyers to thank them for their business and to explore ways to further grow this important market.
"Japanese demand for U.S. pork and poultry means more U.S. soybean meal utilization," Bradshaw said. "The Japanese market for the industrial use of soybeans also possesses potential."