Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council Participates In USSEC China Trade Mission
Ongoing trade challenges with China have not slowed efforts by the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC) and the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) to maintain relationships in that vital market for U.S. soy. Such was the case in early September, when grower leaders from several states, including Mark Lehenbauer of Hannibal, Missouri, participated in a USSEC-sponsored trade mission to Beijing and Shanghai.
Building relationships with international buyers and customers of U.S. soy through a continual dialogue continues to be a priority. This strategy is especially important against the cloudy backdrop of uncertainties related to the China trade war, which has disrupted traditional trade patterns and international demand opportunities. Continued engagement with international stakeholders is vital so that U.S. soy can respond to future demand from international customers once trade relations normalize.
The September trade mission gave growers an opportunity to share this message with Chinese soybean buyers. The U.S. growers also provided buyers an “on-the-ground” perspective of 2019 U.S. crop conditions. Additionally, Jeff Wilson of Pro Farmer provided observations from the most recent Midwest crop tour.
South Dakota farmer Dawn Scheier, director for the South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council and USSEC secretary, stated, “We traveled to China to meet with key customers and partners on the current crop quality conditions in the United States, and to show our commitment to these companies, regardless if times are good or bad.”
Joining Scheier on the trade mission were grower leaders: Tom Griffiths, Indiana farmer and director for the United Soybean Board; Bob Suver, Ohio farmer and director for the Ohio Soybean Council; Patrick O’Leary, Minnesota farmer and director for the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council; and Mark Lehenbauer, Missouri farmer and director for the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council.
“Now more than ever, we need to engage and communicate to Chinese customers and other industry stakeholders the competitive advantage of U.S. soy because we have long-term relationships with many of these companies,”says Scheier.
Among other activities, grower leaders engaged with Chinese buyers, customers, and other key stakeholders at the following events:
- U.S. Soybean Crop Outlook and Market Seminar– nearly 100 Chinese buyers and purchasers attended the conference in Shanghai where the grower leaders presented the audience with a crop quality report for their respective regions.
- Chinese Customer Engagement– grower leaders visited with the oilseed processing teams at COFCO and the Bohi Group, which is one of China’s largest privately-owned agribusiness companies. USSEC and the U.S. soybean industry have a long-standing relationship with both of these companies and representatives from each expressed their support for maintaining this partnership for the future.
- Industry Engagement–USSEC also facilitated a grower leader meeting with U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad to discuss the ongoing trade situation and outlook for U.S. agriculture in China. During the meeting, Ambassador Branstad reaffirmed U.S. Soy’s overall marketing strategy to remain engaged with Chinese buyers and purchases. The former Iowa governor has two nephews that are Iowa soybean and corn farmers. Lastly, the grower leaders met with industry representatives for CropLife Asia to hear an update on biotech and regulatory issues impacting China’s trait approvals and future timelines.