Soybean farmers are riding the wave as the market continues to see a strong global demand creating a multitude of opportunities for growers.
Caleb Ragland, director with the American Soybean Association (ASA), says although the input prices remain high, commodity prices also remain high, creating an offset that will likely be very favourable for soybean farmers’ bottom line.
“The expensive inputs obviously, have made this into a higher stakes game, but this is the most optimism and opportunity we’ve had staring at us right in front of you get ready to plant a crop and a long time. So it’s certainly exciting.”
Ragland attributes a portion of the global demand to the work that has gone into finding ways to use soybeans, an effort that hasn’t necessarily stopped, just shifted and they look for new markets to export meal to for usage in livestock and aquaculture. He says, although they are focused on finding new markets from an economic standpoint, the ASA is also looking at ways to help people and places that aren’t as abundant with resources as North America is.
“We just helped partner on a project with Wish to help kids in Ghana- where they can now an have opportunity to eat one egg a day and we’re getting bean meal over there so that they can feed the poultry. Kids can have an egg and they’ve learned that they do a lot better in school when they have that good consistent protein source each day to start and that’s helping feed mouths and that’s great new markets that have huge potential to expand and that’s where we need to be focus and trying to grow the market for soybean meal and keep keep it moving out of the country so we can keep the hull here. And it’s great to have those opportunities worldwide. It’s truly a global market.”
Looking forward, sustainability certifications will likely be coming to the forefront as consumers start to demand and lean towards those products who are being contentious of their global footprint. Ragland shares that although the ASA doesn’t not subscribe to making policies and procedures mandatory, they are working towards a more unified unit of measure when it comes to sustainability.
“There’s opportunities for folks that want to take it to the next level with certifications and so forth. I do think the market will demand more that as we move forward as well. That’s gonna be something that happens naturally, I believe.” Ragland says, “we’re working to be organized as an industry and to have a set program. So we’re all on the same page. And so that we can market internationally and have a set set a set of standards that is consistent for our industry.”
Ragland adds that through his personal farm and the ASA, their goal is to reduce soil erosion by 20 per cent over the next few years, something he plans on achieving through using no till, cover crops, buffer strips and other modalities.