Regional feed industry thought leaders, executives, and government officials recently met in Cartagena, Colombia for the Americas region’s penultimate buyers’ conference of 2018.

The event, which brought together roughly 150 of the region’s most distinguished industry titans, provided a forum for buyers and sellers to engage in commerce. It was capped off by a “round-robin” style of speed meetings where importer and suppliers were provided with a translator to network and build relationships.

The conference, sponsored and coordinated by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), with special support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), featured market analysis from Darin Newsom, formerly of DTN; weather outlook from Iowa State’s Dr. Elwynn Taylor; and a China perspective from RJ O’Brien’s Bell Chen. FAS Administrator Ken Isley gave the keynote address.

The entire USSEC board of executives also attended the meetings, a symbolic and passionate gesture of the U.S. Soy industry’s dedication and commitment to the region. Participants were eager to learn more about various trade disruptions and how to plan and execute their decisions going forward.

The event was designed to provide executives with knowledge relevant to decision-making, provided from the industry’s foremost subject matter experts. USSEC also wanted to ensure that importers had ample opportunity to buy U.S. Soy products at any point during the conference, and so it provided several opportunities for networking and contact development. Above all, USSEC wants to convey the message that not only is U.S. Soy the best value, but at this time, customers are also getting a tremendous bargain.

Conference results have proven to be phenomenal, as Mexico purchased nearly 400,000 metric tons (MT) of soybean meal and over 500,000 MT of soybeans in the weeks following, as confirmed by USDA reporting.

Additionally, ‘battleground countries,’ so named for their competitiveness, due to proximity and freight spreads, realized U.S. Soy’s value, seized the opportunity of having direct access to suppliers, and snatched up other U.S. Soy products as a result of the conference. These countries included Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and even Venezuela. With competition getting fierce quickly, U.S Soy aims to supply countries as far south into the Americas as soon as possible. U.S. Soy feels that there’s no better time, nor a better forum, to reinforce the message that the U.S. Soy industry is committed to the success of these buyers than at the Americas buyers’ conference.

The event is biennial, with the Americas Agricultural Cooperator’s Conference, held in conjunction with the U.S. Grains Council, taking place in the off years.

To stay abreast of these two signature events in the Americas region, please visit USSEC’s Americas events page.