Belinda Pignotti, U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) South America contractor, works with animal utilization, feed and production clients, guiding them through their soy selection process and connecting them to the farmers who grow U.S. Soy thousands of miles to the north. She recently answered a few questions about her region and the attributes its buyers seek.

Q:         What attributes do South American buyers look at when buying soybeans or soybean meal?

A:         Normally, they look for high content of protein and other factors such as digestibility of amino acids and metabolized energy. The consistency of soybean meal is very important. U.S. Soy is very consistent; it differentiates itself from producers in the south. It provides the nutrients that feed formulators look for, despite the fact that there are geographically closer competitors here in South America. In my region, U.S. Soy is considered an excellent product with excellent quality. People consider those things when they buy.

Q:        If sustainability a factor in their decision to buy U.S. Soy?

A:         The last two to three years they’ve been talking about sustainability, especially in the aquaculture sector, which is already exporting animal protein to other countries. One of the requirements to export to Europe or the U.S. is to have sustainable production; these animals have to be fed with a sustainable raw material.

Q:        Working for USSEC, you are often helping connect South American buyers to U.S. soybean farmers. What questions do South American buyers typically have for U.S. farmers?

A:         Normally they like to ask U.S. soybean farmers about their production practices. They like to see their equipment. Also, they’re interested in hearing about production costs and harvest forecasts.

Q:        How is U.S. Soy perceived in South America?

A:         We are considered a leader in our sector. We are influencers. It’s nice to know we’re welcome by customers around the region.