Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Executive Director Joe Smentek will accompany USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis M. Taylor’s delegation during USDA’s first-ever regional agribusiness trade mission to the Netherlands between April 17-20. Taylor will head a diverse group with more than 50 business, trade associations and state government leaders seeking to grow U.S. agricultural exports to the Netherlands, Scandinavia and beyond.
“This regional trade mission is part of USDA’s ongoing efforts to strengthen America’s rural economy by helping U.S. producers, exporters, and agribusinesses grow and diversify their revenue streams,” Taylor said. “Home to the largest seaport in all of Europe and an impressive network of importers, packers, processors and distributors, the Netherlands is the gateway into the European Union, offering great business potential for U.S. agricultural exporters.”
During the mission, Smentek and U.S. participants will meet with importers from the Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. According to the latest Soy Stats data, the Netherlands imported $834 million in U.S. whole soybeans. In 2022, the Netherlands imported $2.4 billion of soybean products, up 10 percent from the previous year, with the U.S. as the top supplier.
“Combined exports of U.S. farm and food products to this region totaled $4.5 billion in 2022, an increase of 10 percent from 2021,” Taylor said.
Smentek will also promote Minnesota’s conservation and production practices, the high quality of Minnesota soybeans and efforts to increase grain exports via the Port of Duluth.
“We’ve got a great story to tell, and I look forward to relaying the message to officials in the Netherlands that our beans meet the highest standards,” Smentek said.
With demand for high-quality U.S. products on the rise, Under Secretary Taylor expressed optimism that the Netherlands trade mission will provide promising export opportunities for the wide variety of products American agriculture has to offer, from soybeans and tree nuts to meat and sweet potatoes, snacks, distilled spirits, forestry products, and more.
While on the trade mission, participants will conduct business-to-business meetings with potential buyers, receive market briefings from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and industry trade experts, and participate in site visits.
Smentek will be joined by the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance and officials from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.