January 21, 2011
Market Disruption Could Mean Loss for U.S. Soy
Turkey recently put regulations in place related to a new law that restricts imports of biotech crops. It impacts U.S. soy exports to Turkey, since most soybean farmers in the United States plant biotech-enhanced seed. As Turkey attempts to implement the new law, Turkey’s Ministry of Agriculture informed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service that current biotech approvals would not automatically carry over to meet provisions of the new law. The ministry has indicated that companies who sell biotech soybean seed will need to resubmit paperwork for a review by a new Turkish Biosafety Board that will examine it under requirements specified in the new law. Getting new approvals could take months, thus disrupting U.S. soy exports to Turkey. Violations could result in prison terms.
The United Soybean Board dispatched USB Director, Laura Foell, a soybean farmer from Schaller, Iowa to Turkey in order to share her experiences using seed improved through the use of biotech with Turkish agriculture leaders . “Farmers are farmers throughout the world and what I try to say to them is we do what is best for the land and the environment in order to feed a growing population,” says Foell, who serves as a farmer-director on the USB Global Opportunities Committee and Biotechnology Initiative Leadership Team.
The situation in Turkey serves as an example of the types of serious market-access challenges U.S. soybean farmers and the rest of the U.S. soy industry face around the globe.
“We hope Turkish leaders look at the science and benefits to help them make the decisions best for their country,” says Foell.
Healing Russia Still Implementing Strict Trade Policies
A study recently completed and released by the United Soybean Board and soybean checkoff shows significant opportunity for U.S. soybean farmers to export more soy to Russia due to their goal to become a significant contributor to the global food market. However, import restriction and tariffs are limiting U.S. soybeans to the country.
“With Russia’s charge to grow and revive their agricultural and livestock sectors, U.S. soybean producers can become a reliable supplier,” says Bob Haselwood, soybean farmer from Berryton, Kansas, who also serves on the organization’s Global Opportunities (GO) Committee. “However, their current restrictions, bans and high tariffs have limited our opportunities to export more soybeans.”
World Perspectives, Inc., a consulting firm providing a wide range of market and policy strategic services, concluded that the United States faces several challenges to be a consistent exporter to Russia, with their trade policies, ever-changing tariffs and restrictions on certain agricultural products.
The soybean checkoff-funded study found Russia uses a wide range of import restrictions on food production, including tariffs, license requirements and tariff quotas. Imported agricultural products face an all-time high 14.2 percent tariff.
The country, along with the European Union, has not welcomed or adopted biotechnology, with continued restrictions on imported biotech food and feed from exporting countries. Russia has requires phytosanitary certifications for U.S. shipments of processed products, like soybean meal.
“If Russia becomes a World Trade Organization (WTO) member, the United States and soybean farmers would have a more equal trading opportunity, challenging sanitary import restrictions to allow for a more transparent, science-based biotech approval process,” says Haselwood.
Review the complete study and Global Opportunities Briefing at www.unitedsoybean.org.
Proving the Quality of U.S. Soy to Export Markets
Congress recently voted to reinstate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) pesticide survey program that was suspended in May 2008 due to budget constraints; however, NASS won’t be able to issue its 2010 crop pesticide survey program results until this fall.
The United Soybean Board (USB) Global Opportunities (GO) program contracted with USDA’s Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) to test a large number of randomly selected samples from the 2008 and 2009 U.S. soybean crops for possible residue of approximately 100 agricultural chemicals.
“USB funded the residue testing to ensure our overseas customers know that U.S. soybean farmers continue to provide safe and high-quality products that our export partners demand,” says Jason Bean, GO committee member and a soybean farmer from Holcomb, Mo.
In 2009, GO committee had also concentrated USDA-GIPSA to test 100 samples of U.S. soybeans for traces of pesticide and herbicide residue. Overall the tests concluded no trade disruptions of U.S. soy should take place by importing countries as a result of herbicide or pesticide residues. Results showed approximately 98 percent of the samples had no residue levels that exceeded limits for the 100 agricultural chemicals included in the test requested by the USB GO program.
“The results of this study show that U.S. farmers are doing their job of providing safe products in the marketplace,” says Bean. “We need to continue to be careful to ensure we are able to meet our customers’ needs and demands.”
D.C. Meeting Full of Expert Advice
USB’s Global Opportunities (GO) Committee heard from 13 different market access experts at its annual tactical planning meeting this summer.
Some of the highlights:
Ambassador Terry Miller, long-time U.S.diplomat and now with the Heritage Foundation, set the stage with his “2010 Index of Economic Freedoms.” It shows the U.S. ranks #8 out of 184 different nations.
Multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization could finally make some substantial progress in 2011, according to Paul Drazek, former special assistant for international affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and now a trade consultant.
Longtime USB EU biotech adviser David Green said checkoff-funded data on the greenhouse gas reduction potential of U.S. soy biodiesel have been provided to the European Union (EU) in order to prove that the soy-based fuel should meet recently enacted EU biofuel sustainability standards.
Oilseed industry consultant John Baize reported the East Coast provides ample capacity to export U.S. soybean meal to the EU using containerized shipping. But, he says, a critical factor to address will be to encourage shipping companies to offer competitive container freight rates, something not currently taking place.
- World Perspectives Inc.’s Gary Blumenthal told the group Russia represents an export opportunity for U.S. soybean farmers due to its growing meat consumption. The former USDA chief of staff also cautioned that the trade atmosphere there remains risky as a result of Russia’s inconsistent import policies.
The GO Committee pored through project proposals for USB’s FY11 and approved several checkoff-funded tactics designed to chip away at global trade barriers to improve market access for U.S. soy.
Soybean Industry Plans Together for the Greater Good
What: CONNECTIONS 2010
When: December 6-7, 2010
Where: Hilton at the Ballpark Hotel, St. Louis, MO
Why: CONNECTIONS 2010 is an interactive planning process incorporating industry, producer organizations and government partners culminating in a CONNECTIONS meeting in December to identify areas for “engaging industry” in partnering on projects specific to the USB target areas.
This project will create a greater understanding and synergy for the soybean industry by providing a format in which the decision-makers in the industry can build consensus on priorities that need to be addressed to the benefit of U.S. soybean farmers.
The CONNECTIONS meeting will involve industry experts, brainstorming and prioritizing of the issues that are critical to the near-term success of the industry.
Enhancing communication and outreach in the industry will provide a list of key challenges and opportunities for the soybean industry that should be addressed across the industry and incorporated into the USB strategic plan and vision.
Anyone in the soy industry family is invited. Visit www.unitedsoybean.org for more information and registration details.
Leave a Reply
USB Mission/Global Opportunities
To discover and communicate global opportunities for U.S. soy by analyzing current and potential events.
- Annual Summary
- Is There Room on the Rails for Growth in Agriculture?
- Farmers Could Lose Advantage if Deterioration of Transportation System Continues
- More Opportunities for U.S. Soy Exports Using Containers
- Market Opportunities for U.S. Soy in Africa
- Dilapidated Locks on U.S. Rivers Put Farmers, Consumers at Risk
- Assessment of Agricultural Development in the Black Sea Region (Russia and Ukraine)
- Rail Study: Maintaining a Track Record of Success
- Farm to Market -- A Soybean's Journey
- Grain-Oilseed Market Index Soybean Complex Database (xls, 3 MB)
- Grain-Oilseed Market Index Soybean Complex Report (pdf, 2 MB)
- Market Potential of Sub-Saharan Africa (pdf, 7 MB)
- America's Locks and Dams: "A Ticking Time Bomb for Agriculture?" (pdf, 8MB)
- Proprietary (password protected)