Minnesota soybean farmers well positioned to meet global demand
The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) has glad tidings for its Chinese customers: Minnesota farmers are already producing soybeans that meet the new China foreign material (FM) requirement, stating shipments must be one percent or less.
MSR&PC’s response comes on the heels of China announcing it will change its rules requiring less than 1 percent FM in shipments from the U.S. The new less than 1 percent FM requirement for all China-destined soybean shipments was jointly agreed to by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in late December.
China is the largest single market for exports of U.S. commodity soybeans (formally known as USDA grade No. 2 soybeans). America’s No. 2 soybean shipments were allowed to contain up to a total of 2 percent by weight of the weed seeds and broken plant materials that constitute FM for the past half-century. However, this new requirement will result in the many hundreds of annual China-bound U.S. soybean shipments conforming to the same less than 1 percent FM level required for soybean export shipments from the world’s other largest soybean exporters such as Brazil and Argentina.
“Minnesota is well positioned to provide high quality soybeans to China,” says Kim Nill, director of market development for MSR&PC. “We’ve long had an excellent working relationship with USDA and Agricultural Research Service researchers, and because of soybean checkoff investments at the University of Minnesota, we already have the infrastructure to facilitate workshops dedicated to grain handling.”
Bob Zelenka, executive director for the Minnesota Grain & Feed Association, which represents Minnesota grain elevators and other facilities that purchase soybeans, said Minnesota already meets China’s requirements.
“Our FM values are coming in at 0.5 percent or less,” Zelenka said. “It’s very clean grain. We have 50 unit train loading facilities in Minnesota, all of which are officially graded by USDA, which supports my contention that the FM originating from MN is far below the standard.”
In its announcement, USDA stated: “The USDA plans to advise U.S. soybean farmers how to adjust 2018 production (best practices) and harvesting techniques to reduce seed contamination.”
MSR&PC and the University of Minnesota Extension are already holding “Best Practices for Weed Control” for farmers across the state. These workshops have a session on how to minimize weed seeds. The locations are:
- Alexandria, Minn., at the Holiday Inn, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, January 17
- Willmar, Minn., at the Best Western Plus, 7:30 am-11:00 am, January 30
- Fairmont, Minn., at the Knights of Columbus, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, February 8
- New Ulm, Minn., at the Best Western Plus, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, February 12
- McIntosh, Minn., at the Community Center, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, February 15
- Slayton, Minn., at the Murray County Fairgrounds, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, February 22
- Hutchinson, Minn., at the Hutchinson Event Center, 12:30-4:00 pm, February 26
- Faribault, Minn., at the Rice County Fairgrounds, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, February 27
- Appleton, Minn., at Shooters Bar & Grill, 9:00 am-12:30 pm, February 28
- Austin, Minn., at the Holiday Inn Conference Center, time TBA, March 2
About the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council
The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) is the elected board of soybean producers from Minnesota who direct investments of the state’s checkoff dollars in programs designed to increase profitability to Minnesota soybean farmers.