Farmer leaders from the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council successfully landed in Uzbekistan this week. The trade mission comes on the heels of the first shipment of 700 MT of U.S. soymeal to the landlocked country in August 2022.
Council Directors Patrick O’Leary and Gene Stoel – accompanied by Director of Market Development Kim Nill and Communications Specialist Bailey Grubish – hit the ground running on day one of the Uzbekistan trade mission. Their first day started with a visit to the Sahovat Brioler, the largest poultry farm in the Tashkent region of Uzbekistan, followed by meetings with officials from area poultry and crushing associations.
“We had great start to the exploratory trip with valuable, in-person conversations on the benefits of exporting U.S. soy to Uzbekistan,” Council Director Patrick O’Leary said.
On Thursday, the Council team visited the largest fish farm in Uzbekistan. The 5,000-acre farm was established in 1974 with 40 ponds. Though the operation is extensive, the feed used contains only 4% soy, leaving ample opportunity to import U.S. soy meal.
Farmer-leaders continue to make connections around the country with various industry partners and farm operations to find where U.S. soy fits. The tour of Uzbekistan’s agriculture industry continued with a visit of a feed mill. The mill uses Búhler and Bosch equipment to make feed for their own layer and broiler chickens, but the mill runs at 5% capacity with opportunities to run more. For the feed mill layers, the feed contains 10-12% soymeal and broiler feed contains 17-18% soymeal. These percentages are lower than the U.S., leaving more room for growth for U.S. soybean use.
With each stop, the trade mission gives insight to the agriculture and soybean use in Uzbekistan and the potential to expand the use with U.S. soybeans.
“It was a really great opportunity for the Minnesota visitors to see the on the ground operation in Uzbekistan the past couple of days,” said Chris Andrews, who’s helped establish relations in Uzbekistan on behalf of the Council. “We went to a fish farm and a dairy farm today and tomorrow we’re going to see a crushing plant. It’s been a really eye opening experience for everybody and very worthwhile. I think the farmers are even more interested in Uzbekistan than when they came here and we hope to see them again.”
The trade mission continues with more visits to crush plant and feed mills, along with numerous engagements with trade and agricultural leaders. The group flies back to Minnesota on Sept. 13.
“We’ve seen a significant need for U.S. soybeans and soybean meal when we visited the various farming operations the last two days and I think we can help through education,” O’Leary said. “Listening to people and educating them in the utilization of U.S. soy, how it fits and what the advantages of using it are, versus what they are currently using is how we are going to move it forward.”