Approaching her six-month anniversary as CEO of the United Soybean Board (USB), Polly Ruhland says U.S. soybean farmers will maintain their competitive advantage by focusing on the needs of their largest customers – international soybean purchasers.

As CEO of USB, Ruhland works on behalf of U.S. soybean farmers to lead programs and partnerships that drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy.

“The international market is U.S. soy’s largest customer. Ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S.,” says Ruhland. “As one representative for U.S. soybean farmers, I want international soy customers to know we are here to partner with them to meet their needs by making an already great U.S. soybean, even better.”

With exports accounting for about 60 percent of U.S. soy demand, meeting the unique needs of end users around the world is critical to the long-term success of U.S. soybean farmers. One example of the soybean industry responding to international needsis a focus on sustainability.

Ruhland sees sustainability becoming increasingly important to customers of U.S. soy around the world. “As more consumers show interest in sustainably-sourced ingredients, our customers are looking to us to demonstrate that our soybeans are produced in a sustainable manner,” says Ruhland. “That’s exactly what the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) was created for.”The SSAPprovides customers with verification that shipments of U.S. soy meet detailed requirements for conservation and sustainability. From soil health to water management, U.S. soybean farmers continue to lead the way in sustainable farming practices and are focused on constant improvement.

“We will continue to evolve and to challenge ourselves to be sure we are delivering on what our customers need,” says Ruhland.

To learn more about the United Soybean Board and its international marketing efforts, check out these stories: