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Indiana’s soybean checkoff, USSEC expand trade opportunities for U.S. soy
INDIANAPOLIS – Despite pressure from the weather, pests and other challenges, Indiana soybean growers do an excellent job of producing a crop. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Hoosier farmers plant more than 5.6 million acres of soybeans each year. Indiana produces more than 335 billion bushels of soybeans worth an estimated $4.4 billion. Indiana is the fifth-largest soybean-producing state in America.
Soybeans are a versatile crop with both soybean oil and soybean meal creating products that are valuable. For the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA), the state’s soybean checkoff, the mission is to move that large pile to customers around the world while increasing the value of that crop. ISA’s strategy to accomplish this goal is comprehensive and requires many partners. The U.S. Soy Export Council (USSEC) is one of ISA’s primary partners in moving soybeans overseas.
USSEC’s mission is to maximize the utilization, value and access to markets of U.S. soy around the world. USSEC receives soybean farmer checkoff dollars from several state soybean checkoff organizations, including ISA, and the United Soybean Board (USB). Similar to ISA, USSEC’s strategy is to create a preference for U.S. soy by nurturing relationships, growing awareness and demonstrating value to global customers. With offices in more than 80 countries, USSEC helps customers with diverse backgrounds and experiences to reach their full potential by using U.S. soy products.
“By developing new export markets for U.S. soybeans – and by encouraging new and innovative uses for soybeans, USSEC does a great job of increasing the value of U.S. soybeans and helping the bottom line for soybean growers across the country,” said La Crosse, Ind., farmer Denise Scarborough, an ISA board director and a representative to the USSEC board. “USSEC has boots on the ground in countries around the world promoting the advantages of using U.S.-grown soybeans. It is critical that they are there in touch with the people in those markets to access those customers and anything they might need.”
Recently, ISA and USSEC worked together to host soybean buyers from Colombia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, The Philippines and Vietnam. These international buyers toured the Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center at Purdue University, Corteva Agriscience, a Bunge soybean crush facility, grocery stores and the farms of Tom and Kim Griffiths, of Kendallville, Ind.; Mike and Nancy Cline, of Kirklin, Ind.; and David and Mary Howell, of Middletown, Ind.
The purpose of these tours was to highlight the care of soybean production in Indiana and to give international soybean stakeholders an opportunity to ask questions of farmers.
“These stakeholders represent buyers of soybean oil from several countries,” said Will McNair, director of oil and soy food programs for USSEC. “It could be a vice president, it could be owners, or it could be key R&D or purchasing personnel. Indiana is really a key, crucial state for soybean production, exports and innovation. Being able to visit places like Purdue University, Bunge and Corteva really helps to send the message to the international buyers of innovation, production and supply reliability. Our hope is that they will return home knowing the United States is a consistent, reliable supplier that is innovating to help meet their demand needs for the future.”
The tour group that visited the Griffiths’ farm in Noble County included 20 participants and a Spanish-speaking translator. The stakeholders were mostly from Colombia and Mexico. They represented companies such as Grasco, which produces shortening and edible oils including soybean oil. Tom Griffiths, also a USB director, said hosting these tours puts a face on the crop for those interested in buying U.S.-grown soybeans.
“Tours like this help to cement those relationships that we’ve been working to build for many years,” Griffiths said. “It’s important to all of us as U.S. soybean growers, and it’s important to me on my farm, to keep these opportunities for international trade open. Our soybean crop grows in value with increased exports.”
Visit for more details about U.S. soy export efforts. Go online to for news about the national soybean checkoff. For more information on ISA, visit