The Global Animal Nutrition Working Group hosted 25 nutritionists, farmer leaders and industry experts in Phuket, Thailand in advance of the Feed Technology and Animal Nutrition Conference.

The soy checkoff-hosted event offered open-forum discussions and presentations on topics including protein meal and its importance to poultry, the economic value of soybean meal in least cost-formulations and improving U.S. soy’s nutritional bundle.

The event also highlighted the benefits of U.S. soy and the continuous efforts of farmers to improve composition and provide consistent supply.

Cecille Lazaro, animal nutritionist and research and development operations manager for San Miguel Foods, Inc. in the Philippines, is already impressed with U.S. soybean meal.

Lazaro, a 35-year industry veteran, says the quality of protein and the amino acid profile of U.S. soybean meal is more consistent than other origins.

“From the nutritionist point of view, we look at the quality of the soybean, meaning quality of the protein. We look at the consistency in terms of digestibility, like the amino acid content,” Lazaro says. “U.S. soybean meal has been giving a more consistent range for the spread of protein. I would say that in terms of quality, there’s more consistency in U.S. beans.”

Like Lazaro, Secretary General of the Thai Feed Mill Association, Boontham Aramsiriwat, says consistency and quality of soybean meal is equally important to them in Thailand. Thailand lacks sufficient production in domestic animal feed protein, a high necessity for imported soybean meal. According to Aramsiriwat, Thailand imports approximately 6 million metric tons of soybean and soybean meal annually.

“Besides consistency and quality, we have found availability as an important factor.” Aramsiriwat says. “Soybeans are an important item that we can bring in every day and every month in the market.”

Each year U.S. soy’s availability has improved, along with its production. This increased availability has given Thai customers access to more soybean meal, which helps to improve the country’s animal agriculture industry, as well, according to Aramsiriwat.

Another goal of the checkoff organizing the Internatinal Animal Nutrition Working Group at the Feed Technology and Animal Nutrition Conference was to enhance interest in U.S. soybean meal as the way to meet the increasing demand for meal in Southeast Asia.

Participants expressed gratitude for U.S. soy as a product and pleased to open a dialogue with other nutritionists.

Marie Josephine Milagros Cruz, a nutritionist with Bounty Fresh Food, Inc., says the soy checkoff has a positive impact on Philippine economics.

“We appreciate [U.S. soybean farmers],” says Cruz. “We know that they fund the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), and we get goods, services and information from USSEC that we couldn’t get otherwise. So indirectly, they are supporting the Philippine animal industry.”

The event is only the beginning of conversations between U.S. and international farmers, animal nutritionists and industry experts.

Despite recent trade uncertainty, customers in Southeast Asia value the reliability, quality and consistent supply of soy that the U.S. offers, and the future of soybeans looks positive and promising in the region.

“On behalf of our Feed Mill Association in Thailand, we would like to thank U.S. soybean farmers, because we use their products to make our food chain more beautiful in Thailand,” Aramsiriwat says. “We have improved our efficiency, productivity, and improved our competitiveness to serve the world in terms of food, and preserved food for our country.”