By Jill Parrent | ISA Communications Manager
In this multi-part series, we will identify key points will range from a consistent supply to obtaining a quality product to sustainability for an Illinois soybean farmer who is selling their product to international buyers that specifically desire U.S. soy.
As Illinois soybean farmers continue to be a driving force for soybean growth and trade, knowing where the soybeans are being sold is a vital aspect of being a soybean farmer. Where farmers sell their soybeans matters as it allows them to understand the markets and what is desired. In addition to growing some of the highest quality soybeans in the world, our constant supply brings in buyers acknowledging the U.S. as the supplier of choice.
Ken Dallmier, President & Chief Operating Officer of Clarkson Grain, outlines five points that distinguish the United States as the supplier of choice for soybeans.
- Breadth of Offering
U.S. farmers can produce nearly anything that the market demands including commodity trade soybeans, commodity non-genetically modified, and food grade. Protein and oil are also by-products of soybeans that are also on a buyers want list. The U.S. focuses on consistency with our soybean supply which is a trait desired by buyers. If farmers can produce a product that is consistent with quality and want, most likely it will be bought by buyers domestically and internationally.
- Broad Growing Area
Not only in the United States, but within Illinois, a broad land area helps to mitigate production risks. In Illinois this growing season, we have had areas of drought, areas of abundance, and areas of surplus rain. In the United States we have over 2,000 miles east to west, and north to south that has the ability to support crop growth. Most other countries don’t have this area or weather conditions. In Canada for example, the growing season is short along with accessible land to grow soybeans. The weather risk and type of soil can heighten the risk. This puts the U.S. at an advantage we often take for granted.
- Varieties to Support Nearly Any Production Specification
In the seed industry, sometimes it appears that the possibilities are endless. Farmers have been supplied with a genetic material that has been able to satisfy nearly any production specification that is desired. This can include non-genetically modified products plus established organic protocol. The seed industry and U.S. farmer can produce the preferred and wanted product of the international buyer.
- The Most Reliable Routes to Market
When soybeans leave the farmers field, several options of transportation are available to get to where they need to go. From rail to water, Illinois has some of the best opportunities to take the product to market, usually using a river route to the Gulf of Mexico. Illinois’ position in the U.S. maintains that we have the best water routes to international markets by utilizing Illinois and Ohio rivers along with the Great Lakes routes. By shipping with containers, Illinois continues to be the state that ships the most containers to an international market. By having Chicago area container ports, the pieces of the supply chain come together to create a consistent and reliable route to the end destination.
- The Ability to Efficiently and Adequately Store Product
When comparing the U.S. supply versus other nations, we have the ability to store and keep a product stable. The urgency to get a crop to its end destination is not as desperate as other countries. Last year, Brazil and Argentina had issues maintaining and storing their supply and keeping the quality of the product without proper areas to keep it stable.
Consistency revolves around quality, quantity, and reliability and in the case of growing soybeans, all are equally important. Buyers want to ensure the product they are purchasing is the best purchase for their price. The U.S. is situated with excellent growing areas, an abundance of knowledge and development of seed varieties, and multiple, reliable transportation routes, with an ability to store an excellent product over time. Illinois soybean producers will continue to work to satisfy needs of buyers, both domestically and internationally.