MO farmers see potential to grow U.S. soybean meal demand

Two Missouri farmers say a recent trade trip to the European Union has them thinking about ways to grow the No. 2 market for U.S. soybeans.

Europe is considered a mature market for the United States, which means the rate of growth has slowed.

Aaron Porter, chairman of the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council from southeast Missouri, says there is an opportunity for market growth as U.S. soybean crush and Ireland’s dairy sector expands.

“They consume a lot of soybean meal and it’s an opportunity for Missouri’s soybean producers.”

Porter says Missouri’s Soyleic non-GMO beans could also be a niche for EU dairy farmers.

“It helps increase milkfat when the soy meal is fed to cattle and that’s one bright spot for dairy farmers in Ireland, where it can help increase milk quality.”

Currently, only 4% of the soybeans grown in Missouri are non-GMO and Porter says…

“Until they want to pay for that premium meal or bean, it will be hard to convince farmers to go to that, just due to the additional management costs of a non-GM soybean.”

Kyle Durham from north-central Missouri says the EU is reassessing oilseed production, trying to incentivize more domestic supplies, but they have crop production guidelines in place.

“It’s hard to see where they’ll be able to meet the goals they have to grow domestic production.”

Durham says soybean imports will remain important to the EU. And as customers in the EU continue to prioritize sustainably produced products, he says U.S. farmers already have a good sustainability story, which is positive for future U.S. soybean demand.

Porter and Durham were part of the eight soybean farmers who traveled to the EU and United Kingdom with Missouri Soybean for education, market expansion and leadership growth in mid-June.

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