Livestock and poultry producers buy the majority of U.S. soybean meal, and meat exports continue to rise. This adds up to an increase in soybean meal value.
In 2005, chickens destined for export consumed soybean meal from about 81 million bushels of soybeans, and turkeys consumed another 10 million bushels worth.
"U.S. livestock and poultry represent the number one market for U.S. soybean meal, so what's good for meat exports tends to be good for soybean farmers," says Phil Bradshaw, chair of the United Soybean Board's Animal Agriculture Initiative Leadership Team.
The soybean checkoff funded a study, titled "The Value of U.S. Meat and Poultry Exports to U.S. Soybean Producers through 2015," to look into value of meat exports to the U.S. soybean industry. The study shows that as populations grow and attain greater wealth, more people add meat-based protein to their diets. A growing world population and more disposable income for some groups around the globe represent opportunities for U.S. livestock and poultry to benefit.
"It's important for soybean farmers to support the domestic poultry and livestock industries in every way we can," says Bradshaw. "That means helping to avoid diseases like avian influenza, but also showing support to our local poultry and livestock farmers, as they represent our number one customer."