Jay O’Neil, IGP Specialist

(Jay O’Neil) The International Grains Program at Kansas State University, what we call IGP, is a close cooperator with the Kansas Soybean Commission, as well as the other Checkoff entities, Kansas Corn, Kansas Sorghum, Kansas Wheat. We’re here today, of course, to represent our friends and our supporters from the Kansas Soybean Commission. We function as an outreach arm for the University and part of the marketing program efforts of the Kansas farmers. We are helping them reach and connect with foreign buyers who would buy their commodities. Our primary purpose and one of the main activities that we do is what we call short courses. And short courses run one week, up to a maximum of two weeks. Most are about a week in length, and we are giving foreign buyers who will come here to the states and take a one-week short course in flour milling, feed manufacturing and animal nutrition. We had the Japanese here talking about pork nutrition sponsored by USEC and we have had people from Latin America here to talk about feed manufacturing, how can they be better at feed manufacturing using US soy, US soybean mill extruded products. We’ll do short courses as well on grain contracting, grain purchasing, grain transportation and grain utilization and things that I’ve just mentioned. And we’ll help those foreign buyers understand how they can best use and therefore use more of Kansas commodities. A high percentage of soybeans from Kansas, as well as other crops, go for export. And it’s an important market. As we know, the more demand you have, the better price you have. If we in the United States, we in Kansas, if we were to lose 10% of our export demand, that would have a dramatic negative impact on farmer revenue. Keeping that export demand going, keeping the foreign buyer interested in buying our grain is highly important and certainly serves the bottom line of Kansas producers. When you look at the big picture, the big picture looks good because the big picture is not only is the world’s population is growing, which we hear about a lot, but even more importantly the world’s economies are growing. There’s a growing middle class throughout the world and as that middle class’ incomes increase and improve, it wants more meat. In order to get more meat you have to feed the animals, you have to give them corn, soybeans, soybean meal etc. If you look at the long-term picture I think it’s still bright. There is going to be good demand for US soybeans as well as other commodities. I see the future being good. The world needs us to grow soybeans. Maybe when you ask the question you were saying, we have more competition. Brazil is a competitor, Argentina is a competitor, and now even the Black Sea Region is becoming a competitor in corn and soybeans where they weren’t before, primarily wheat. Even with that competition, there’s still a good demand, and I think there will continue to be a very good demand for US soybeans and soybean meal.

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