(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo) – As the global soybean sector continues to thrive, Missouri soybean farmers are taking proactive steps to deepen their understanding of the dynamic Brazilian market, where Brazil holds the coveted position of the number one soybean exporter. This strategic mission aimed to unlock valuable insights into Brazil’s soybean production, export capacity, consumer preferences, distribution channels, and regulatory requirements.
“Farmers need to see and experience first-hand the agricultural landscape in other countries,” said Gary Wheeler, Missouri Soybeans CEO and executive director. “The return on these missions is invaluable to our state’s producers and gives us an opportunity to see where we have competitive advantage, where we can improve and where we can find common ground to expand and diversify markets.”
Brazil’s ascendancy in soybean exports underscores the importance of comprehensive market research. By gaining a nuanced understanding of these factors, U.S. soybean farmers aim to navigate the Brazilian agricultural industry effectively and identify opportunities for collaboration. Brazil has many advantages, including longer cropping seasons, the ability to produce multiple crops in one year, lower cost of production, and more labor availability. U.S. farmers will have to focus on relationships, quality, and logistics.
Brazil’s increasing export capacity opens new avenues for global trade. The mission assessed how Brazil addresses infrastructure challenges and the implications for U.S. soybean farmers as they compete for market share. Examining logistics and distribution networks aims to identify areas for improvement and collaboration to streamline the export process. Brazil is heavily reliant on trucking with little rail access. There is also very little on-farm storage capacity with most processors building large warehouses for flat storage to store harvested crops.
“We must remain one step ahead in the ever-changing world of technology, infrastructure, and market development,” said Tim Gottman, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC) director and farmer from Monroe City. “To speak to farmers one-on-one to better understand their mindset and challenges offers an advantage to Missouri’s checkoff payers.”
While competition is inherent in the global market, the mission emphasized building solid relationships with Brazilian soybean stakeholders. This involves regular communication, understanding local business practices, and fostering trust. Collaborative efforts on the knowledge and regulatory practices surrounding genetically modified (GM) products are vital to ensuring open markets for both nations. The farmers also learned that sustainability is critical in Brazil despite the perceptions.
“By collaborating on acceptance of biotechnology, we can open markets for both countries to more effectively feed the world,” said Matt Amick, Missouri Soybeans director of market development. “If farmers are allowed to operate in an environment where they are seen as the solution to problems like hunger and climate challenges, farmers from both countries will thrive. MSMC will continue to work to maintain, grow, and diversify markets to create new opportunities for Missouri farmers.”
While traveling, Missouri’s producers met with Empbrapa Cerrados with 43 research facilities focused on production, technology and sustainability; the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock; FS Biofuels ethanol plant; COACEN Cooperative; 3 Tentos retail supply, crush and biodiesel plant; Granfinale Sistemas Agricolas, where they produce grain drying, cleaning and transporting equipment; and the Caramuru Terminal at the Port of Santos, which loads out soybean meal for export.
Also, farmers set foot on various operations, including four farms in Goais, Mato Grosso, and Parana.
This mission marked a significant step for U.S. soybean farmers in expanding their global footprint and fostering mutually beneficial relationships with their Brazilian counterparts. By delving into the intricacies of the Brazilian market, U.S. soybean farmers are positioning themselves for success in an ever-changing international trade landscape.