Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) leaders have an opportunity to help the United States become Europe’s top soybean supplier as predicted by Rabobank International.
One of the best ways farmers can do that, European experts say, is simply talk about their operations and tout the benefits of U.S. soy. Ten ISA board of directors and Market Development Director Grant Kimberley embark on a two-week, soybean checkoff-funded European Union (EU) Learning Opportunities Mission on July 21.
Stops include Ireland, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Hungary and Austria. ISA leaders will meet with government officials, soybean buyers, industry stakeholders and farmers to learn about food needs, build relationships and highlight U.S. sustainability practices.
ISA President Bill Shipley of Nodaway said the trip comes at an opportune time as China’s new 25-percent tariff on U.S. soybean imports erode market share in the country and prices.
“We need to continue building demand in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia — all around the globe,” Shipley said.
China imposed tariffs on mostly ag products on July 6 in response to $34 billion in U.S. duties meant to punish the country for unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft. The soybean levy is now 28 percent, plus a 10-percent value-added tax.
Finding new markets and growing market share in existing ones is crucial to minimize economic losses from Chinese tariffs, Shipley said. Europe is a prime example of the latter, he said.
“We’ll simply tell our story, how we raise soybeans in a sustainable way,” Shipley said. “Plus, we’ll stress the U.S. is a reliable supplier. We don’t have delivery issues like our competitors.”