Oilseed industry leaders discussed the global economy, regulatory challenges and engaging consumers, among other key issues, last week during the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) 2015 Annual meeting in California.
“The perspective of looking at the field to table value chain was the highlight of the meeting,” said Paul Freeman, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Vice President. “It relates back to the how’s and why’s of what we do on the farm. With many stakeholders coming together, it was good to gain understanding of the challenges different segments see.”
Freeman shared some facts from speakers that really stood out to him that will affect the world and soybean markets in the future:
- China is still growing, but it is single digit growth right now. Thirty percent of their corn is still picked by hand.
- India is facing a market driven change and is projected to switch from exporting soybeans to importing them as their middle class expands.
- Argentina relies on the agriculture sector to fund their government.
- While the GDP varies a lot in Japan, they do have the same number of farmers as in the U.S.
Freeman said one of the more interesting facts came from Brett Stuart of Global AgriTrends, who said there will need to be more food produced in the next 50 years than what has been consumed in the past 7,000 years.
“These world market factors are keys to remember, when you look at the make-up of the House and Senate in both Minnesota and the U.S., agriculture is underrepresented,” Freeman said. “Speaking with a strong, concise voice will be important for agriculture to present win-win solutions.”
He said that when it comes to regulation, it is concerning the amount of money businesses need to spend to protect themselves from regulation. Freeman, to wrap up his thoughts on the NOPA Annual Meeting, said volatility will remain high on the political front for soybean producers since half of Congress has less than four years of experience.
On the promotional and educational side, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council Vice Chairman Keith Schrader attended on behalf of Minnesota (see related story).