Several of the largest feed, poultry and pork producers, and soy crush industry representatives from Portugal, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy participated in a trade mission organized by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) to visit the U.S. soy industry in September 2019.

Attending companies included Deuka, Nutreco, Feed Alliance (Sanders), Maisadour, Veronesi, Martini, Amadori, Cereal Docks, Bunge, Vall Companys, Pinsagro, Financor, Juan Fimenez, Hermanos Chico, Corporacion Agropecuaria de Guissona, and Cooperativa Ivars. USSEC consultants Gonzalo Mateos, Albert Roda, and Lola Herrera led the delegation. USSEC Regional Director – EU/Middle East North Africa (MENA) Brent Babb also joined the group in their visits to the New Orleans area.

The team’s objectives for the visit included learning more about U.S. soy export capabilities/Gulf infrastructure, meeting with animal agriculture companies (including PIC in Tennessee and Ross in Alabama), farm visits in Alabama and Illinois, visiting the University of Illinois, and a visit to CBOT/CME. 

Southern EU trade mission visiting Schroeder Farm in Illinois

In New Orleans, the group visited the Bunge elevator in Destrehan and Russell Marine Group, to get a clear vision of U.S. infrastructure capabilities to export agriculture products as well as its sophisticated system of quality controls. Additionally, the delegates learned of the U.S. sustainability focus through the soybean supply chain – from production to transport and loading. 

The group traveled to Alabama and Tennessee to visit two of the main poultry and swine companies and heard presentations related to genetics productions and markets in both areas. As the main swine and poultry producers in EU, the group was very interested.

Southern EU trade mission visiting PIC in Tennessee
The group attends the PIC presentation

The visit to the University of Illinois offered an overview of how the business and academic systems work together in the U.S. U of I professor Dr. Hans Stein explained to the group that the university is one of the most important in U.S. as an example of coordination between the educational system and agricultural business.

Southern EU trade mission visiting the University of Illinois
Southern EU trade mission visiting the Chicago Board Of Trade

The travellers much appreciated the farm visits and the opportunity to see two models of production, southern and northern. The team met with American Soybean Association (ASA) director Sam Butler in Alabama and with Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) chairman Doug Schroeder in Illinois. The grower leaders described how they work and more importantly, how they plan for their farms to be the most sustainable in the world. Additionally, David Headley, ISA trade team lead, supported the team in the Friday Market day and a visit to the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) market presentation by FCStone, Consiliagra, and Trilateral.  United Soybean Board (USB) and USSEC director Doug Winter also presented his Illinois farm and spoke about sustainability, crops, and yields.