It appears that economic growth continues to create a surge in meat and poultry consumption around the world. According to a recent soy-checkoff-funded study, U.S. meat and poultry exports are rising faster than U.S. consumption, a trend that could benefit U.S. soybean farmers through greater demand for U.S. soybean meal to feed U.S. poultry and livestock whose meat is headed for other countries.
“Soybean meal has been called ‘the gold standard’ in animal feed, especially with hogs and poultry,” says Scott Singlestad, a checkoff farmer-leader who grows soybeans and raises hogs on his farm in Waseca, Minn. “Feeding soybean meal to livestock and poultry is a great source of protein, so it is not only beneficial to soybean and livestock farmers, but also to the potential international buyers.”
Since 2010, U.S. pork exports to Mexico, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia are up, with China showing an increase of more than 300 percent, according to the study. U.S. turkey exports are also up in in those markets, with Japan growing more than 60 percent.
“Once a country starts eating better, they want more protein in their diets,” Singlestad said. “There’s no better way to do that than eating more meat.”
Animal ag consumes 97 percent of U.S. soybean meal, making it the biggest user of U.S. soy, and the checkoff funds programs to help maintain that market. For example, the soy checkoff supports U.S. poultry and livestock farmers by promoting U.S. meat, milk and eggs in other countries.
The study also included recommendations for how the soy checkoff can help increase U.S. meat and poultry consumption in these countries even more. Key recommendations from the study are that the checkoff fund efforts to increase pork, broiler and turkey exports to China, Mexico and Russia; pork exports to Japan and South Korea; and poultry exports to the Middle East and North Africa.
According to the report, pork provides U.S. soybean farmers with the greatest opportunity for growth, followed by poultry.