Council director promoting northern-grown soybeans on Thailand trade mission

Thailand is a major player when it comes to U.S. soybeans. Ranking as the second largest importer in Southeast Asia, Thailand purchased $468.85 million worth of U.S. soybeans in 2021.

But Northern Soy Marketing (NSM), which comprises soybean checkoff states from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin, sees this number only continuing to grow. 

“There is opportunity to increase the demand for our soy in Thailand due to their poultry and livestock production, said Patrick O’Leary, NSM chair and Council director from Benson, Minn. “Our beans are high quality and have an advantage over southern-grown beans, especially in broiler diets. We want to broadcast that message and promote the importance of looking at critical essential amino acids versus crude protein to their major buyers and end users.”

NSM will be bringing this core message to Thailand on Jan. 8-13, 2023, as they conduct meetings with buyers, processors and nutritionists.

“Nothing beats getting in a room with those key players, talking about our farm and highlighting how we plant, grow, harvest and store our beans,” O’Leary said. “NSM will also utilize University of Minnesota Soybean Agronomist Seth Naeve and feed nutritionist Bob Swick on the overall advantages of buying our beans exported from Pacific Northwest ports.” 

Soybeans grown in NSM member states are typically lower in crude protein but higher in critical essential amino acids. Because whole soybeans and meal have historically been valued largely on crude protein quantity, soybeans with lower crude protein are often overlooked and discounted at a cheaper rate. 

The goal of NSM is to change the language around true protein quality, amplifying the message to key stakeholders that higher crude protein content does not necessarily equate to higher protein quality or better nutritional value in feeding monogastric animals.

“As a farmer, I know we grow a great product, but that message needs to reach our international end users.” said NSM board member and Sheldon, N.D., farmer Dan Spiekermeier, who will also be joining O’Leary in Thailand. “I’m ready to hit home this message and continue creating a demand for our beans.” 

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