During the June meeting of the United Soybean Board, members voted to undertake a market analysis identifying effective models of international marketing. Following the analysis the board will adopt a model and accept proposals from international marketing contractors to carry out that model. The desired outcome is to find new and better ways to export more U.S. soy.
"Other industries continually adjust, refine and modernize how they service their global customers," said USB Chairman Chuck Myers, a soybean farmer from Lyons, Neb. "The U.S. soybean industry should be no different."
USB budgeted more than $13.5 million in 2009 toward international marketing. Bids will be accepted from third-party entities to analyze present checkoff, government and private-sector efforts to increase U.S. soy demand across U.S. borders and overseas.
"As a result of this analysis, working with farmer-leaders, a recommendation will be made on the best model or alternative models that will result in competitive advantages in those markets in which our checkoff resources can make the most significant impact," said Myers. "We'll then choose the business partner with the most appropriate model or framework for the soybean checkoff's future international marketing to help grow our extremely important global soybean market."
Last year, the United States exported 1.5 billion bushels of soy, with nearly a third of all U.S. soybean exports going to China. Myers and many of the soybean farmers who govern USB think with international markets utilizing nearly half of all U.S. soybeans – and the potential for even more acreage in South America to be put into soybean production – U.S. soybean farmers need to be better prepared to compete for global markets.
"We must ensure that every soybean checkoff dollar and taxpayer dollar invested in marketing U.S. soybeans is focused on the future," said Myers. "We need to ensure that opportunities exist for U.S. soybean farmers to meet the ever-increasing demand for protein worldwide."