MSGA and American Soybean Association (ASA) Treasurer Bill Gordon traveled to Europe last week to attend the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) meeting. While in Spain and France, Gordon toured feed mills and discussed feed security, protein security and animal welfare.
“Europe is an important market for U.S. soybeans, with room to grow and showcase our quality,” Gordon said. “The Europeans pride themselves on sustainability and good environmental practices. The U.S. soybean farmer is the best world trading partner because we pride ourselves with the same values.”
Gordon visited local facilities and met with the French delegation of the Foreign Agricultural Service to discuss France’s import/export market.
“We talked a lot of about protein independence,” said Gordon, a Worthington, Minn., farmer. “They understand that they have to import a lot of their protein, but still have a local protein implement that they’re trying to get along. The European government was there, and they also had the realization that they’re more set up for grains.”
In Spain, Gordon met with producers and buyers, and finished with a feeding and protein conference sponsored by the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC).
“We talked a lot about how the European market imports their soybean protein and there’s a strong market for non-GMO soybeans, which mostly come from Brazil and Argentina,” Gordon said.
Tariffs and international trade were timely topics throughout the week, Worthington reports.
“I sensed they’re very worried about long-term relationships with the United States,” Gordon said. “The longer this goes on, the more damaging it becomes. Hopefully all parties can find a solution.”
Gordon said he’s enthused about the prospects of building relationships with European agricultural leaders.
“I feel like we’re really set up and poised as soybean growers to fulfill their needs,” he said. “We just need to continue to communicate.”