Five Things to Know About the Future of Soybeans

A farmer adjusts a lever on his truck to pour soybeans down a grate.

Nearly one-third of the soybeans in the global market last year were grown by U.S. soybean farmers. Customers around the world look to the U.S. to provide a reliable supply of high-quality soybeans and soybean products for their growing needs.

To ensure the U.S. soybean industry retains access to a quickly changing, consumer-driven market, five state soy checkoff groups jointly funded a program to share critical market information to help soybean farmers make decisions that will increase opportunities for future success. State organizations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Ohio joined forces to conduct the Future State of Soy exercise that identified the most impactful trends for soy in the coming years.

“We uncovered five major trends that will impact the global soy market and U.S. soybean farmers in particular,” says Steve Pitstick, chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association. “These trends help uncover how the global demand for soybeans will change over the course of the next several decades, giving farmers valuable insight now to make decisions that will better position them for the future.”

The five trends identified in the Future State of Soy exercise include:

  • A rising focus on high-quality soybean oil and meal.
  • Changes in fuel demand, including alternative fuels and emerging fuel uses.
  • The rising need for both animal and plant protein given a growing global population.
  • The increasing global competition for soy and how infrastructure can provide an impactful advantage.
  • Emerging and diversified revenue streams that will offer farmers more opportunities.

“We know that every farmer and every farm is unique,” says Pitstick. “Identifying these trends helps farmers determine if their farm is set up to take advantage of one trend over another, or if it can support a multitude of changes to take advantage of several trends. The ultimate purpose for this exercise is to help farmers navigate changes now so they are set up for the future of this industry. Proactively addressing how the market is shifting means we won’t be left scrambling to meet market demands later, which will keep U.S. Soy in high demand around the world.”

Your soy checkoff is already investing in several programs at national and state levels to find new markets, new uses and new characteristics of soybeans that will align with these five trends and result in strong returns for farmers. As your checkoff dollars continue to position the U.S. soybean industry for the future, this work will help influence how the world perceives the value of domestic soy and soy products — growing demand around the world and your bottom line back on the farm.

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